Thrillbent Launches Download-to-Own Digital Comics Store

Posted by at 12:00 pm on July 30, 2013

thrillbentMark Waid’s Thrillbent, which hosts a variety of digital comics that can be read in a variety of different ways, is adding a new way to purchase titles: download-to-own. Starting today, readers can buy downloadable PDFs of Waid’s Insufferable, Art Balthazar and Franco Aureliani’s Aw Yeah Comics!, and other comics. Insufferable will be offered on a pay-what-you-like basis.

All the comics on Thrillbent are available to read for free in a web browser, and the site also offers free downloads, in CBZ format, of many comics, including Insufferable. The titles are also offered, at prices between 99 cents and $1.99 per issue, on comiXology.

So why charge for PDFs if the CBZs are free? Waid recently addressed that in a post on the Thrillbent blog. While the free CBZs are simple files containing the weekly installments, the PDFs will include “bigger chunks of story” as well as links to bonus web content, such as footnote and behind-the-scenes features, that will be created specifically for each comic. So basically, while both CBZs and PDFs are downloadable comics that live on your device, not in the cloud, the PDFs will have added features.

The subject of downloads versus proprietary, cloud-based systems came up in the “Digital and Print: Friends or Foes?” panel at Comic-Con International, where comiXology co-founder John Roberts argued that his system is more convenient for users because they can sync their comics across multiple devices and don’t have to have “stacks and stacks of hard drives” to store their files. “In our cloud-based system, you can download a comic right here, but if you have a PDF file sitting on your computer, you then have to get into iTunes, you have to copy it to your device — it’s not exactly the most user friendly experience,” he said, adding that comiXology’s Guided View was an enhancement that isn’t available with a straight PDF.

Waid had a different take. “Personally, I actually like owning the files,” he said. “I’m comfortable enough with cloud-based stuff, but given a preference, I’d rather own the files just because I don’t want to be in a situation where I don’t have internet connectivity and I suddenly remember that album I wanted to listen to or the comic book I wanted to read and I don’t have access to the cloud at that moment.” Still, he said, the whole point of the Thrillbent experiment is to put it out there and see how the public reacts.

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