Apple’s iBookstore Adds Comics, Graphic Novels and Manga

Apple is preparing for the iPad, and have added 20 categories for books in the iBookstore for it.  Those categories include a "Comics & Graphic Novels" and sub-categories under that including Manga (how do you hold one backwards?). 

That's about all the news there is now, but the addition is certain to start some speculation.  Clearly Apple is thinking about the graphic reading abilities of the device, and it makes me wonder how this will work in conjunction with third party applications who are making their own deals with publishers.  We've heard no speculation or rumors about Apple striking any deals directly with comics publishers, but I'd be shocked if those conversations weren't happening both ways.

Either way… uh, I want one.


  1. Game. Over.

  2. @Miyamotofreak – Only if they get the big boys to sign on.  If they do, my local shop will be gone within a week of this thing’s release.  If not, I don’t expect many immediate impacts.

  3. Awesome!, Sony…fail, iPad FTW!  A full color comic eReader is all I want. Now when the price drops I buy one up.

  4. …but….but…. how does one bag and board an iPad?

  5. Wow, that looks way cool.

  6. Doesn’t Steve Jobs own a fair bit of Disney?

    The same Disney that now owns Marvel?


    Sadly, I expect none of that means a fucking thing. 🙁


  7. I own a kindle and I’m not convinced that the reading experience of the iPad will be as enjoyable. The backlog screen wears on the eyes. I hope we will eventually see color sink.

  8. Y’know, this just makes it harder to not get one of these…

  9. Correction, it should say backlit not backlog.

  10. Awesome… we knew this had to happen.

  11. I’m salivating at just the thought of it. ALL my books each week downloaded directly into my hands on the day they come out? It’s quickly becoming more and more likely.

  12. I’m suddenly very worried about (and iFanboy by extension).

  13. Is anyone on the iFanstaff going to get an iPad and, if so, will we see a review of the iBookstore comic reader?

    That’s a lot of lower case i’s.

  14. I’ve wanted to point out that comics on this sort of do-hickey are often praised for their reduced price. It’s like a buck or something?

    However, you have to factor in the arm and the leg and the left testicle it costs to own the friggin’ thing plus the cost of broadband and the cost of replacing it when it becomes obsolete in 2 days.

    I’m cranky.

  15. Who knows how this is ultimately going to play out, but I’m worried about the implications for indie creators.  iTunes (as a model) is geared towards large and established publishers – not indie types.  It will most likely be the same for books (including comics) on the iPad. This is good for the larger publishers (even the medium sized indie publishers).  But what about the smaller indie publishers or the single creator publisher types? I worry they will be cut out of the loop, and the promise of digital comics will be lost to those who stand to benefit the most from it. 

  16. @Kahunablair – didn’t say it was anti-indie, just said it was geaed towards larger companies/publishers/distributors (its architecture, design, and operation).

  17. Now that’s a bit of awesome information.

  18. @stucklach I wouldn’t worry about at all.  Just because Apple *might* start delivering comics doesnt mean there won’t be other alternatives.  Hell, Barnes & Noble just announced that it is developing an iPad app that will give customers access to all of the eBooks, magazines and newspapers in the Barnes & Noble eBookstore, as well as the existing content in their Barnes & Noble digital library. (which includes eBooks and content customers have downloaded to their nook eBook reader.)

  19. @ CaptainPrimate How is iTunes anti-Indie musicians? I have heard nothing but positive things from people about their ability to digitally distribute via sites like iTunes and Amazon. You are the first person I’ve heard say it was a bad thing for them.

  20. @CaptainPrimate – could certainly survive as an alternative (I will use them whenever possible), but Apple is a mighty beast to compete with.  If I can open iTunes comics on my computer screen (and not just on an iPad) then that is direct competition between and Apple.

  21. That’s intriguing. But still it will depend on the pricing and content to determine whether go for an iPad.

  22. Yay!

  23. @stuclach I completely agree that iTunes is an enormous best to comete with.  However, if opens up its ecosystem (unlike the iTunes relatively closed ecosystem), then I think its got a good chance of doing well.

  24. @stuclach don’t worry about us or – we’ll be just fine 🙂

  25. @Doski: Yes. That’s a near certainty.

  26. Ready to pre-order tomorrow. Been dreaming of this for years.

  27. This news has a lot of potential and should give those with the right combination of technical knowhow, entrepenurial spirit, and greenbacks pause to think of how they could capitalize on this.

    Consider how Apple’s iPhone spawned hundreds of independent creators of apps. Same with Facebook and its widgets.

    It boogles the mind what could come of this but consider this – the most popular apps, widgets, or video games on the major consoles aren’t from licensed properties. It’s new content, new characters and stories that really get people excited.

    I think this will be great for idie creators. Heck maybe a couple of them will their creations become  household names.

  28. This kinda makes me sad… so much money being spent in the near future

  29. Eh. Still prefer paper.

  30. If only we could get the omnibi in the ibookstore for the price they were on Amazon last weekend.

  31. I’m all for this, but don’t plan on getting an iPad, at least not for a good long while.

  32. Very exciting.  I don’t think this was mentioned before but you could easily subscribe to your favorite books.  Very handy feature.  Now the second issue that would arise after availability from the publishers would have to be price.  I’m not sure it is economically viable for me (after you add in the price of the ipad itself) if the books cost anything over $2.

  33. this is close to becoming a day one purchase…

  34. You’re not kidding.

  35. @CaptainPrimate itunes is not necessarily for big boys. If you’re an indie band and/or comedian you can easily set up an itunes account for your material. It’s not so bad. 

    This will be great for the comics industry and digital comics. It’s great for digiatl comics because it makes them known and gives you the opportunity to provide a service that perhaps offer something different. Exciting news for everyone.

  36. This is verrrrry interesting. The news I was waiting for.

    We don’t really know how/if it will compete with the likes of, etc. I mean, the comics section could just be a collection of apps, I suppose.

    Or, what’s more… I would still assume there’s a need for certain aspects of a comics reader to be different. It’s not as simple as formatting pure text. So maybe these different digital companies will become middlemen between publishers and Apple (after all, is also aimed at a community and Longbox seems to be aimed and maximum compatibility across devices). 

    I could even see some of these  digital distributors being bought up by publishers to become an in-house digital design effort.

    There are still many, many nuances we’ve yet to see. But this is a big step, and I’m glad to see it happening so quickly.

  37. Hmph. You can laugh at my technological ignorance now, but you’ll all be sorry when you’re living in the Matrix and I’m still reading paper comics between fighting robo-squids and having huge raves… Man, what where those movies about?

  38. @Diabhol: being a shareholder doesn’t mean a company has to do what you say. There are a group of shareholders in the company I work for and alot of times the work community doesn’t honor what they say which isn’t chalked up to bad business but more along the lines of business decisions. If a company ultimately makes a decision about something, there’s very little the shareholder can do about it get my drift?

  39. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Day one purchase? Try pre-order. 

  40. i’ll go for this when i can get a DRM free electronic edition. I know Apple’s going with a DRM’d e-pub format for their store.

     until then, dead trees please.

  41. In all honesty this whole concept of portable comics seems even MORE unappealing than it was before. It’s one of those things where everyone and his dog hops on the vanwagon on an idea, eventually that idea’s going to give out like a dead horse. I just hope that apple’s recent involvement in this potentially lucrative business doesn’t allude to this blowing up in everyone’s face.

  42. I hear ya about DRM, leonard, but that’s the publisher’s call… not Apple’s.

  43. This is pretty exciting but I’m DEFINITELY going to wait and see that the canadian store iBookstore ends up looking like before I buy.  I’ll probably get it at version 2.

  44. I am so against this. Paper will always look better and nothing beats picking up your books in store.

  45. @leonard : Exactly. I can’t stand Apple’s DRM or how they make their stupid machines only set up to play their stuff. It drives me insane to convert video to ipod capable format. I don’t like companies restricting what I do with my digital content.

     Anyone checked out the Notion Ink Adam? This is what I’d consider if I was thinking about getting a table. Check out how it compares to the Ipad. Beats it in pretty much all categories, except having the trendy giant apple on it.

  46. Wasn’t this in "Big"?

  47. Looks cool, but I’m holding out for iPad v. 2.0 or higher.  I don’t want to spend that much money on a product they’ll replace in six months.  Still the prospects are excellent.

  48. Why would you be against this if it doesn’t preclude you from also having the option to purchase physical copies? That’s not really fair to people who want the choice, is it?

  49. Wait 5 years for them to work out the bugs. (Like ipod)

    If it’s $0.99 a comic or more, that’s WAY MORE than you pay through "Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited."  Don’t be fooled by a $0.99 price point.

  50. @KickAss: $0.99? I will gladly pay $1.99 for the convienence of reading comic the way I want to.

  51. If you read 3 comics a day. over 1,000 comics a year, that’s $1,000+

    With Marvel’s subscription at $60 a year, you get 5,000+ comics, essentially 1,000+ graphic novels.  At this point it’s so far in advance tech wise and price wise, this ipad would be a step backwards.

  52. conor’s not talking about price. Your comparison isn’t apt. Firstly, you can only read Marvel on a computer — not an iPad. You can’t move it from device to device. That’s ONLY Marvel. Some of us like other books as well.

  53. The physical comic book business model will becomes less sustainable for publishers if a significant segment of readers begin switching to the electronic format.  Publishers would need to either set an unobtainable price point for physical comics or exit the printing business all together.  Will not be very different than what’s happened to the newspaper industry today (and some magazines).  Not saying I’m against technology or evolution of medium.  Just trying to explain why some fans of physical (conventional) comics may be saddened by this news, as the beginning of the end of an era for physical comic books.  Cheers.

  54. @Daccampo – True you can only read Marvel, but they have a better system, tech, and price point thus far.  And since you can get internet on an ipad, you can read Marvel Digital on an ipad.

  55. any info on pricing? 

    Will it be just graphic novels? or Single Issues as well?

    Mothly subscriptions would be amazing

  56. I really find the entire iPad idea exciting and look forward to it. When it isn’t 900 bucks. Plus 50 dollars a month for a data package. From a company (AT&T) that has a very poor network where I live, as well as many other places. I think my preference will be to wait for another company to make a similar product that I can be sure will be compatiable with Graphicly or Longbox.

  57. In the US, the data plan is $30, not $50. Also, you don’t need it if you just use wifi.

  58. Sounds like @Zombox is right.  This isn’t changing anything.  Not in an industry that has complained for a year about $4 comics.  Not in the next couple of years will things change.

    The 2015 ipad might be interesting.

  59. Eh. I’m not sold on the iPad, if only because the monthly data-plan commitment (at a 2 year contract with AT&T, right?) doesn’t seem to be worth it to be able to pick monthly issues up at $0.99 price point.

     And that’s assuming Apple and the publishers go with a price that low. and Long Box still have more then a shot, especially if Apple continues their precendent of launching with a higher price, just to have the option of cutting them down to market standard months/years later (not to mention that we’re just conditioned to pay more for Apple products, for the brand alone).

    Speculation aside, iTunes may do the most business, but Amazon and others still sell mp3s profitably anyways.So long as there’s no exclusive contracts signed (and surely the industry has learned it’s lesson with Diamond), there’s plenty of room for everyone.

  60. @OttoBot: There’s no contract commitment with the iPad, unless things have changed since the initial announcement. You can cancel the data plan anytime.

  61. @OttoBott It’s optional, if you’re only going to use it at home there’s no need.

  62. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    You can cancel the 3G data plan at any time right? There’s no contract. You turn it on and off on the iPad itself. At least, that was my understanding. 

  63. I eagerly await the Video show reviewing the iPad’s comic book related functionality. 

    @Ron – I’m glad to hear that you and expect to be fine.  I sincerely hope you’re right.  

  64. *coughs* I must’ve misheard Laporte – my bad.

  65. Price point is everything… on both the comics but also the iPad … imagine … if you have to spend $500 to purchase a 16GB iPad (and that DOESN’T include 3G) where are you going to STORE all those digital comics? Serious comic book readers will use up 16GB in less than a month, I wager. What percentage of the comic book reading audience ISN’T comprised of collectors? How many people will be willing to spend anything more than $1.99 to purchase an electronic copy of a comic book if they’ll ultimately have to spend close to $1,000 just to read and store them (on the iPad or on their home computer)?

    It seems to me that this is much more about expanding the comic book reading audience. I doubt that the iPad and the availability of digital comics and graphic novels will profoundly alter the current audience purchasing and reading habits.

    But they WILL open up a vast new audience. For example, the credits at the end of every Saturday morning animated Spidey show (or any other animated comic show) will include the tag, "Visit the iTunes digital comic shop to purchase and download the most recent issue of Amazing Spider-Man direct to your iPad!" yada yada yada

    Also … RE indie comics … I’d be very concerned … just take a look at what Apple has been up to the last several weeks purging applications from the iTunes apps store that it doesn’t deem to be family friendly. Welcome back the good ol’ CCA … Apple style! 

  66. @cahubble09 16GB is a fair amount of comics, the average CBR is about 20MB which means it could hold up to 800 comics on the machine at a given time (if you only use it as a comic reader).

    If it’s all digital there’s also no reason to keep them all on your machine at all time, Comixology already lets you just redownload it if you’ve bought it once so you could delete it off the system when it’s read and just redownload it whenver you want to read it.

  67. All the prattle aside… will you buy the thing or won’t you?

  68. @gobo: you assume that the user will ONLY be downloading comics … the reality is that most users will be viewing and listening to music, movies, television, etc. And 16GB is NOTHING … I understand what you’re saying about not needing to keep everything on the iPad … but I think on balance, few people will be willing to spend close to $1,000 in order to achieve full functionality that the iPad is designed to offer… that’s just my opinion of course …

  69. P.S. To my last … I still think this is mainly about opening up NEW markets …

    @RaceMcCloud: If I had the money, I’d probably buy one … but I’ll also probably wait until the technology has evolved a few more generations. With an iPod Touch, right now, you can watch TV, listen to music, listen to iFanboy (yay!), surf the net, read email, talk on the phone (with a Skype app)… there’s even an app that lets you connect with Google Docs to word process and work on spreadsheets … so I can’t imagine what the iPad will be capable of in another couple years. It will probably replace my current netbook whenever it kicks the bucket … 

  70. Looking at my longboxes, the prospect of digitally storing my books becomes better and better.  If this works like music does on the iPod, I see no reason why the books you want to read can’t be on the device while the other purchased comics can be stored on a hard drive of some sort.  That makes sense to me.  The only thing that keeps me out of the game, in terms of the iPad, is the price of the device itself.  If this takes off with early adopters and the tech gets a bit cheaper, you can bet I’m right there buying digital comics with trips to the LCS to supplement my physical collection (trades, HCs, must have issues, etc.)

  71. Yep. Game O ver! In a good.. or transformative way. This is probly how I will consume my weekly issues. Will still get my hardcovers. Majors will be lining up fo sho. Can’t stop the future. This, is the most compeling reason for me gettting the Pad. Not the only one, but the one that seals it.

    Welcome future! Nice to finally see you!

    Thanks Jobs!

  72. @cahubble09 makes alot of sense.

  73. 30 or 50 a month, its more than I’d pay for poor service. I also think the price point vs. available space is crap. You can easily fit 200 GB into something that size. In fact, Apple has done it. One thing I have learned: never buy first generation Apple products. Ever.

  74. the ipad just went from curiosity to infatuation. I hope they allow you to publish independent books like they alow you to publish independent podcast. 

  75. @zombox It’s flash, not an HDD.  It’s not like the iPod Touch or iPhone has 200GB.  

     Also I don’t know about you, but I’d be using this in places covered by wifi most of the time anyways.   What I’m considering doing is getting the 3G version, then not turning on service unless I’m going to be traveling or something.

  76. @r3y If I were only going to use it at wifi then I’d just read on my home PC or my laptop. Larger hard drives, superior screens and hundreds of functions the iPad will never have. And my laptop, already vastly superior in every way, actually costs less than the highest end iPad.

  77. I’m buying an iPad basically for fun and I’ll see first hand if it’s worth the money.  You know what else, so will a lot of people.  Also, comics will be sold in the iBookstore, and comics will be bought from the iBookstore, and yes, those sales will eat into the sales from the local comic shops and bookstores and online bookstores.  The question is how quickly will this trend escalate, and how long will the smaller LCS be able to stay in business?

    Bring on the iPad App so I can read the book of the week with little images of Ron, Conor, and Josh pointing out all of the things they liked about the book. 

  78. I’m going to have CGC slab my iPad immediately upon receipt.  I want to ensure that it will forever stay in near mint condition with a score no lower than 9.8 on the grading scale.

  79. I would be happy if there was an iBookstore application available for MacBooks also.  But I guess that doesn’t work if you’re Apple and you want to sell iPads.

  80. People do know that they are getting excited about an IPS panel, which you can buy for cheaper and in a larger size elsewhere? All the people thinking this is a good replacement for a Kindle or Sony Reader, should secure their appointment with a optemetrist or an opthalmalogists or whatever eye-doctors are called.

  81. Digital comics aside, The iPad (What a fucking horrible name) is being predicted by many tech people (John Dvorak, Leo Laporte and the like) to be a big flop.  It’s only a big Itouch and it can only run one program at a time apparently.  I don’t know all the specifics or really have an opinion either way… I’m just saying what I’ve heard in tech circles isn’t all roses and shiny bright futures for this particular device… despite the enthusiasm shown here.

  82. @hawkboy:

    "Nobody ever lost money underestimating the stupidity of the American public."


    The iPad is a technological failure more than one respect, but that would not stop it for selling like gangbusters.

  83. @OttoBott: you didn’t mishear Laporte, you just missed hearing him correct his info about 5 minutes later

  84. iPad sounds like a feminine hygiene product.

  85. Some just looove to hate! And hate the ones who love! Sad, sad! I like comics, fun stuff and happiness, in me and in others! Can I direct you to the nearest therapist? There’s also this herb that may help…

  86. Is this the best news ever?!? FUCKING DEFINITELY!!!

  87. You want to grow the Comic Book reading audience? This is how you do it, not by offering a dozen different comic reading apps in the iTunes store which only serve to confuse the consumer. Apple proved before that iTunes is a great delivery system for the average user and I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the iBook store will follow suit. Get comics on that AS A STANDALONE PRODUCT and you’ll grow the audience

  88. @kickass – I thought the marvel digital comics system didn’t include new books as they come out each week. Plus, Is there a garauntee that their digital reader interface will work on an iPad?

  89. Once upon a time the idea of a Spider-Man movie seemed out of the question. Now we’ve had 3 well produced films and the possibility of more to come.

    Just bringing it up to say the day when we’ll be able to (legally) download/stream the latest week of comics from the mainstream publishers to a mobile device is closer than we think.

    As a consumer I am happy but exercising patience.

    As a "creator" I look forward to seeing how this platform will work to get my ideas out to the public.

  90. 3?

  91. What will happen the next time there’s a MiracleMan dispute? Will you go to your device one day and see that all of your Walking Dead books have been zapped because of a rights dispute somewhere?

     And what about changing the work? What if Marvel pulls a George Lucas and alters previous work to the syles of the present day? Will you only be able to get access to the new editions?

  92. @josh – Yes, there are three "well produced" Spider-Man films, just as there are three "well produced" X-men films. 

  93. There are a whole bunch of comics made for the Iphone and I know that at least one of the companies (Comixology which i do Box 13 adn The Silencers with for full disclosure) are planning to be sold as apps on the ipad too….I saw the demo of this and it looks great.!

  94. @Tele: And some people just don’t like certain things you don’t like.

  95. @muddi900 – The difference between an iPad and this IPS panel?

     People have heard of/want an iPad.  Marketing is nothing to be sneezed at. 

  96. People who (only) spec-compare are silly, there’s other important things aside from screen size and clock speeds.

  97. @KickAss – That’s the problem — even IF you can read Marvel’s Digital Unlimited service on an iPad (and if it’s Flash-based you can’t), you just pointed out the difference — you have to be ONLINE. I don’t want that. I want it to be like my iPod. I sync it, download the music I want, and then I have it whenever I want it, without having to have WiFi or 3G turned on. That’s the big difference.

  98. @Race: Well, no, IPS is a LCD monitor technology, the highest quality monitors available. The only thing an iPad has over an iPod touch is that panel. Bigger size be damned, as its too big to be portable and too small for regular use. Its too bright to be a Kindle replacement and too gimped to replace a netbook. And it wouldn’t even have a calculator at launch. That IPS panel on the iPad will make comics look great, but so does this:

    As far as the actual comics go, would I be able to view my old comics I bought from iBook on the eventual color ereader from Sony or Amazon?  The publishing industry is going through the same motions that the music industry went through. It would that 5 years of publishers wanking each other untill they settle on one standard format that works across all platforms. Till then, I’ll keep away from ebooks/ecomics.

  99. @Race: the whole idea of "marketing" bothers me to no end. There are those who will buy ANY AND ALL apple products solely on the basis that it’s an apple product. And that really says something about our society. I hope this isn’t some dystopia precurser.

  100. @Mangaman So people find a company that makes products they prefere over others and at this point have a good enough track record that they trust them even with unreleased products?  And this is a bad thing?

    Not to say there aren’t blind apple fanboys but there sure aren’t enough of them to account for the massive success of the iphone and ipod, and the growing success of their laptops.

    Are there products with more and better features? Sure.  Are there products that are cheaper and do almost the same thing? Sure. I switched to a mac because I find OSX works better for ME, if windows works better for you, great.

    I got an iphone because I like how the OS works and feels more than any other phone I’ve tried

    Same goes for when I upgraded from my old Rio Karma to my first iPod.  My Karma could play a wider variety of formats and had a dock I could hook up directly to a stereo, so in terms of raw features it was better.  The interface SUCKED and the ipod just worked better for me.

    Marketing gets people to look at it, but if your product sucks it’s only going to go so far, and definitely not going to dominate.

  101. just look at HD DVD/Blu Ray or Beta/VHS, just because your better spec wise doesn’t mean you’ll win out.

  102. We just have to get porn on the iPad and it will definitely win!

  103. @cahubble There’s rumours they’re going to add an "Adult" section instead of having them all over the place, but either way that’s ok.

    Porn just has to release things in mp4 and then they can be played on the iPad.

  104. As long as I can get my books on the iPad with no problems in Canada, and they don’t decide to get too greedy with the pricing this is a must have for me, I am beyond excited!

  105. @gobo: The iPad will support AVI(don’t know if its DIVX). Of course, almost all Porn is in flash. Still, you can stream all your pirated porn 😀

    It isn’t just about the products. There is this "cult of apple", which proclaims that all other tech companies are "evil" and Apple is "not evil", which is anything but the case. They are involved in as many "shady" practices as Microsoft or Google. Of course, Kudos to apple for gaining such brand loyalty.



    Nobody ever said anything about a competition, did they?

  106. I work in publishing (newspaper) and I liked this video ->