If you've moved from single comic issues to reading them digitally, you know it can still be kind of pricy. But the online ebook service Scribd has just announced it's added a massive comics library to its service, allowing users to read all the comics they want for one monthly fee, beginning today.
A few other service have tried to bring subscription-based service to comics, but Scribd has instantly become the biggest, offering over 10,000 comics and graphic novels from Marvel, Arcana, Archie, Boom! Studios, Dynamite, IDW/Top Shelf, Kingstone, Space Goat, Top Cow, Valiant, and more. And if you're thinking that there's no way Scribd can possibly offer complete publication libraries or brand new releases, well, you'd somewhat be correct. But it's still offering many new issues coming a mere month after they've been published — not bad for $9 a month.
We spoke to Scribd CMO Julie Haddon to get all the details on the service we could.
io9: Is this part of Scribd's normal ebook subscription, or is it separate?
Julie Haddon: Comics and graphic novels are joining our existing subscription service. For just $8.99 a month, Scribd members will have unlimited access to all of our … comic books and graphic novels, in addition to the one million existing premium e-books and audiobooks in our library.
In general, how long will it take for new comic issues to become available?
Haddon: In most cases, we'll be adding new comic titles about a month after their print release, so our library will be constantly expanding with new content. Right now, we've got a great mix of new and old. Readers can relive the Golden Age of comics or catch up some of the brilliant new storylines that are being done with a lot of classic properties right now. We want comics on Scribd to really encompass the wonderful past and exciting future of comics.
Will any publisher's comics be available same day as the hard copy?
Haddon: With some publishers, we're getting their entire catalog, past and present, but there's still a small window of time required to get the digital files on the service and ready for readers. We will be constantly updating the service to keep providing the newest comics possible to our subscribers.
Is there any limit to how many comics one can read per month?
Haddon: There is no limit whatsoever. Our readers can enjoy as many comics as they want – in addition to the one million e-books and audiobooks in the Scribd library. Readers can stream anything they want instantly or download as many comics, e-books, and audiobooks as their device can store for offline reading and listening. Whether they read or listen to 1,000 books or 10, the price remains the same.
What, specifically, will Marvel's offerings entail?
Haddon: At launch, we'll have about 20% of Marvel's entire catalog. This includes classic runs of the Avengers, the X-Men, Daredevil, and Spider-Man; YA titles like Ultimate Spider-Man and Runaways; and current series like Mark Waid's Daredevil. We've got fan favorites like Captain America, Iron Man and Thor as well as the titles that inspired Marvel's hit movies and TV shows.
Will DC's comics hopefully be coming in the future?
Haddon: When we started our e-book subscription service, we only had one of the major publishers. We now have three of the Big 5 publishers (HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster) and dozens of other leading publishers, including Harlequin, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Lonely Planet, Perseus, Workman, Wiley, and more. We are constantly in discussions with all of the major and indie comics publishers around the world, and we're focused on growing our library to deliver the best experience and value for our readers.
How will people be reading these comic online? Will they be offered as single issues, or collections, or what?
Haddon: Most titles will be offered as collections, which our publishers will regularly update with new issues and volumes as they're released. We also have a large collection of stand-alone graphic novels. One feature we're excited about is what we're calling the "binge button," which allows readers to advance to the next issue or volume in a series without having to leave the reading experience to search for the next installment. We love those moments when you're immersed in the world of a series and devouring issue after issue. We designed this feature to facilitate exactly those kinds of moments for our readers.