I have a webcomic called Tozo which updates weekly here – maybe you’re a reader?
I’ve published each chapter in print form (four so far) and when Chapter 5 is complete have been toying with the idea of collecting them together in one book – a number of readers have mentioned that they would be interested in a ‘trade paperback’ (TPB) version. The costs of this are not inconsiderate (colour printing is not cheap) so I decided to canvass my online readership as to whether they though this was a good idea. It’s often been reported in the comics press that pamphlet comics are fading in popularity compared to the TPB and I was interested to see if my readers agreed. Here’s what they said….
Firstly, I realised after I’d created the survey that the questions may not have been phrased particularly succinctly and did not delve too deeply, but I wanted to encourage people to participate and ‘make it quick’ seemed the best way to do this. Consequently, it’s perhaps not very scientific but at least it gives me an idea.
Secondly, I have a considerable readership that picks up comics from me at conventions and shops and never even looks at the website so this does not take their views into account. I shall have to canvass them in person as best I can.
Q1: In very general terms, I read…
Perhaps not surprising from a survey of webcomics readers, digital comics appear to be the most popular format. Whilst a lot of people mix it up, those who read only pamphlets are most definitely in the minority. My answer would have been: mostly trade paperbacks.
Q2: I’m a reader of the Tozo webcomic and:
“Might” is an awfully non-committal word isn’t it? I look forward to your purchases… What I was trying to establish was how many people are prepared to double-up in their reading habits and read different formats of the same thing. For myself, I don’t often buy print versions of the webcomics I read so I’m not one to talk, and I think most webcomic creators know that a majority of their readers are there for the free stuff, which is absolutely their right.
Q3: Would you be interested in paying for a PDF version of the printed comic (i.e. with all the extra pages that the webcomic readers don’t get to see)?
This was the most interesting answer of the survey for me. I was expecting this to be 100% “No” or thereabouts. Perhaps this reflects the rise of the iPad and the fact that reading from a screen isn’t as painful or inconvenient as it used to be (we’ve an iPad at home and I’ve been completely converted I must admit). The ease and low cost of creating PDFs certainly make this an income stream worth pursuing.
Q4: Would you buy a collected version of Tozo (Chapters 1-5 in one book)?
The people say “Yes”! Interesting to see how many are happy to have both print forms. I’m not a completist myself though I know lots who are.
Q5: What would you consider to be a fair price for a Tozo collection (full colour, paperback, 140 pages)? [US$1 = £0.65 = €0.75]
About $20 a go, then? I think it should be possible at that price, but no promises.
Q6: How would you prefer to see future print versions of Tozo?
Another interesting set of answers. Collected editions seem to be the way forward, but still quite a few people want both those and pamphlets too. I’d be interested to know why that is. Note that ‘only pamplets’ barely makes it onto the graph. Poor old pamphlets.
I’ll have to think about how to action this – a semi-regular release of pamphlets keeps people interested over the time it takes to produce the page count for a collected edition (and is extra income of course) but is more hassle to create and maintain in terms of stock. Interesting stuff.
Thanks again to those who took part -if you’ve any further comments (some people have already mailed me to expand on their answers – thanks) then they are very welcome here.