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Old 06-24-2006, 05:21 PM   #1
Shishio
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Webcomics v.s. Print.

I hesitate to ask what most people will probably think is a stupid question, but I have heard that there are more readers of webcomics than there are of print comics.

But is there any proof of this?

I ask, because I have seen discrepancies in the estimations of the readership of some strip. For example, someone said Penny Arcade has about a million readers, another has said they have about 200,000.
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Old 06-24-2006, 05:23 PM   #2
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Depends on the web comics and the print comic, web comics have more overall exposure simply because most are free.
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Old 06-24-2006, 09:30 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ljamal
Depends on the web comics and the print comic, web comics have more overall exposure simply because most are free.
And readily available to the world. Shrinking numbers of direct market stores, and bottle-necked distribution has been hurting print comics for years. Many adults I talk to don't even know they still make comics. They are so far out of the American public-eye.
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Old 06-24-2006, 09:33 PM   #4
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I mix the two, and have a good success of selling books all over the world-- it's a lot of hard work though. I HATE it when I'm actually filling a ton of orders each month, it's really only about 2 or 3 days of intense concentration, but it's rewarding being able to send books all over the country and the world.

I'll probably never go back to the limited direct market system personally. I may deal with bigger publishers in the future who have shown interest in putting out a big trade of my strips, but for the most part, the direct market is a dead end for independents.

viva la webcomics!
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Old 06-24-2006, 10:01 PM   #5
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Thank you for the responses, but I am writing an article on my thoughts about the industry (Well, its future, really.) in which I plan to mention webcomics, so I was hoping to be able to find proof of the claim that more people read webcomics than print. (At least in North America.)
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Old 06-24-2006, 10:08 PM   #6
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it seems to me that dj has shown that there is a commercially viable way to make comics without the help of a big company.
im quite excited to see where the web comic world is going and its relationship to print comics and trades.
im thinking about venturing out into the web comic world in the next few years... it seems like if you put the work in and have a good concept you can make it work. whereas selfpublishing and kissing up to diamond 9 times out of 10 guarentees failure
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Old 06-24-2006, 10:26 PM   #7
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I don't think there is any doubt about the volume of readership in web comics vs. print comics.

An indy print comic usually sells about 600 to 900 copies through the direct market, maybe 1000, in rare cases 5000, and in very rare cases more. The bottome line for the big two publishers varies, but they usually cancel a book that doesn't sell more that 25K copies.

Web comics, on the other hand, can command way more. Some of the top web comics get 20K to 30K unique hits per day, possibly more. Those are the webcomic superstrips, of course: Most webcomics average more in the range of 10K to 15K unique hits per week, and several thousand hits on update days. Some don't do well, but that's generally because of substandard quality, or poor advertising, or what have you.

To a degree, comparing the two is apple and oranges. But, in the end there is no doubt that magnitudes of more people read webcomics than print comics.l
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Old 06-25-2006, 01:53 PM   #8
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I'm afraid I can't offer any concrete numbers, but from what I've seen and read, webcomics do get far more exposure. For the most part, the only advertising outlets print comics have are in the hands of people who already buy comics. But advertising for a webcomic can be seen by just about anyone who surfs the web once in a while.

And while we're on that subject...

I have an idea I'd like to get some opinions on.

I've got a book I'm working on and I've often weighed the differences between print and web formats. I thought it might be interesting to combine the two into one product so to speak. When a customer buys a print comic, they get access to the web version, and vice versa. Each medium has something the other doesn't. The website would offer extras that aren't in the book. And of course the printed book offers the benefit of being able to take it with you or give it to a friend who hasn't heard of the book, not mention uses like coasters or toilet paper or something to kill a bug with.

Now I can easily mail a copy of the book to someone who pays to see the website, but I can't think of a way to do it the other way around. How do you grant website access to someone who buys a comic book?

Anyway, is this a possibly good idea or is it stupid and I'm not seeing it? I've never self-published before so all thoughts and suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks,

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Old 06-25-2006, 04:37 PM   #9
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Scott Story: Well, a friend of mine who owns a comic book store estimates that about 500,000 people read comic books in North America. I would be at all surprised if much more people than that read webcomics, but it would be nice to have evidence to show anyone who may contest the claim.

Romaine: I believe Webcomicsnation allows customers to lock away comics behind a subscription wall. I have not ever used the service myself, but it appears to be an excellent, competitively priced service. I would highly recommend looking into it.
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Old 06-25-2006, 05:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shishio
Scott Story: Well, a friend of mine who owns a comic book store estimates that about 500,000 people read comic books in North America. I would be at all surprised if much more people than that read webcomics, but it would be nice to have evidence to show anyone who may contest the claim.
Since there isn't an auditing system to do that, I think finding hard fast numbers for the webcomic readers through out the Americas, if you must limit yourself, is going to be impossible.

I'd like to know how your friend was able to calculate 500k people read comics in North America? The average comic sells what? 25-30k issues and that's in mainstream?

Webcomics have a wider potential reader base, and has a wider definition of what a webcomic is. A webcomic isn't limited in format, publication cycle or continental divide.

I've yet to see a really popular serialized comic book formatted webcomic. Most successes are from comic strip formated. Of course with the number of webcomics available now, I've hardly read all the good ones. The web is infinite, my time is not.
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Old 06-25-2006, 06:48 PM   #11
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Shishio: I've never heard that 500K number associated with print comic readership, but it could be right. I haven't heard a good estimate. In terms of indy comics, I have heard the number of 2000 regular buyers of indy comic thrown around, and that all indy comic are competing for the same 2000 readers. Again, this is a guestimate, so I have no idea if that is true or not.

Romain: DJ Coffman presented an idea like this a month or so back, and I think it's still up on his blog under the New Independents. I don't think it's a great idea to try to tie these two, non-overlapping audience's together, but that just my take on it and purely subjuctive.

Ron: Yeah, the daily strip format seems to be the most popular. I think it's the "daily" aspect of it, to be honest, that keeps em' coming back. Some serialized adventure strips, like Athena Voltaire or Sorcerer of Fortune, have had some pretty followings, or Talismen.
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Old 06-25-2006, 07:08 PM   #12
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Even if webcomics have a larger readership than comics in print, I think fans of a long-running webcomic would eventually ask the creators to collect its run in a printed collection.
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Old 06-25-2006, 07:12 PM   #13
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I prefer hard copies.

But you can print copies of most webcomics to read.
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Old 06-25-2006, 09:30 PM   #14
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I am not sure how my friend came to that conclusion. Looking at the Previews toplist, maybe. Anyway, I can't remember for certain, but I think a similar number was given in Reinventing Comics.

Also, I thought the best selling comics, such as X-Men, sold around 100,000-300,000 copies. But it was a long time ago that I saw any numbers, so my memory could be failing me here.
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Old 06-25-2006, 10:59 PM   #15
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Last I checked, topsellers sold around 100,000, and rarely some, like the first Jim Lee Batman, or some X-Men, hit 200,000. I haven't kept up on that either.
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