Digital Comics Distributor Graphicly Switches Focus to eBook Distribution / by Patrick Smith

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Digital comics distributor Graphicly announced this morning that it will stop selling digital comics through their mobile apps and move into distributing ebooks. In fact, they've already launched a new homepage billed as a "Partner Dashboard" rather than their usual store. This move stops all sales of digital comics and phase out Graphicly's own distribution via its app. Instead they will shift focus to distributing ebooks (rather than digital comics specific to their platform) through other storefronts like the iBookstore, Kindle, nook, and even Facebook. In fact, the Graphicly apps will be removed from the iTunes and Android markets entirely. However, if you have bought books from Graphicly in the past you will still be able to access and view your purchases, which is the smartest move outside of releasing the books you've purchased as DRM-free files. There are plans to make previously purchased items available on phones and tablets via HTML5, but until then, don't uninstall the Graphicly app! You won't be able to get it back. Books will still be sold through their website at graphicly.com/store and on Facebook, but the mobile apps will be retired.

This change will make Graphicly the first digital comics distributor to so drastically shift its business model. The move doesn't seem to be one of desperation on Graphicly's part, more of an extension of their existing efforts with ebook distribution (particularly selling digital editions of The Walking Dead on various ereaders).

For all intents and purposes it appears that Graphicly will now act as a middleman between publishers and various electronic marketplaces, making them a straight up distributor rather than a publisher/seller. But it's important to note that Graphicly has reaffirmed that this move will not undermine its efforts to support independent creators. In theory it will actually allow independents easier access to more digital platforms and a wider audience.

Overall it's an interesting move. By moving fully and solely to ebook distribution, Graphicly is effectively making itself a niche service but with far reaching potential the extent of which is yet to be seen.

We're cautiously intrigued. What do you think?

[via Comics Alliance, Publishers Weekly]