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Now Available: The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit Vol. 8!

 Long overdue, but worth the wait, The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit Vol. 8 is now available!  Gaze in wonder at the cover by Clint "...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Distributor Profile: MyDigitalComics

Digital distributor MyDigitalComics is one of the new kids on the block when it comes to selling comics online.  Nevertheless, in their early stages, they've managed to put together an impressive roster of publishers willing to sell in their market.  Boom Studios, Devil's Due, Dynamite, Top Cow and Twomorrows top the list of recognizable names in their array...not to forget our own humble presence.  Besides "The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit", you will find such titles as "28 Days Later", "Farscape", "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" and "Witchblade".  Even better, some of the top titles have free issues in their "Free Products" section.  There you can sample issues from "28 Days Later" (well worth a look), "Alter Ego", "Back Issue" and "Darkness" among many others. 
MDC may be new, but they've clearly got some chops.  The front page is clean and fast-loading, and nicely highlights their featured titles.  The rest of the site is easy to navigate and the follow-through to purchasing is quick and easy. 
The feature that really sold this service for me was their choice of formats.  Like Wowio and DriveThru, MDC offers their books in pdf format.  In addition, there is an option to read the entire book online (once you've paid, natch!) and...here's the kicker...they sell cbz files.
Much embraced by comic pirates everywhere, the cbz format is basically just a zipped folder of jpg images that can be read in a lovely full-screen interface using programs like CDisplay (my own preference) or any number of other viewers.  It is, of necessity, a DRM-free format that is very portable and easy to navigate.  I've used the format under several flavors of Windows dating back to Windows 95, as well as on WinCE, Linux and lately on iOS, all using free software.  Due to its wide acceptance, admittedly thanks to the aforementioned comic pirates, it is a format that I think any digital publisher should consider using.  There's a built-in demographic tied in to the format that I don't think has been properly approached yet.  A service like MDC is a real step forward in leveraging that audience.
Of course, MDC is still far from perfect.  This is understandable as it's new and has room to grow.  They need time to build their catalog, and they are clearly in need of more big-name first run books.  Their own promotion is not as extensive as it should be, nor do they offer any built-in promotional tools for publishers like DriveThru does.  Also, they lack a proper reporting tool for sales, which is something essential to any publisher who cares about their product.  I'm hoping and betting that all of this will come together in time.

Nevertheless, for what they do have, MDC is a great service.  I highly recommend trying out their online reader with one or more of their free books, just to see if you don't agree with how easy it is to use.  Of course, I also highly recommend buying a copy of "The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit", in any format, but especially in cbz.  For the price, it's a great way to get an introduction to the format, and to try out digital comics if you've never done so before.

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