February 11, 2011

The Illustrated Section – Digital Comics for Everyone!

I'll be honest.  I prefer paper.  Paper books, paper comics - I like having actual pages to turn and I love seeing books lined up on my bookshelf.  An afternoon spent alphabetizing comics is bliss.  But.  It's not always practical.  I have been the girl who packed six books and a stack of comics on an international trip and could barely lift her luggage into the overhead compartment.  Owning an iPad has revolutionized travel for me.  When I go on a trip, I don't have to agonize over which books to leave behind.  I can go to any dentist appointment or jury duty armed with practically endless reading options without switching to a bigger purse or messenger bag.  It's freeing.

More comics are becoming available for iPad and e-reader download too.  I can download digital versions from the big players, but until recently, I hadn't found an easy way to get some of the indie comics that I love on my iPad.  Illustrator Dani Jones has created a website to facilitate just that though.  The Illustrated Section has a wide selection of digital comics, picture books, and instructionals!  Everything's in a .pdf format so that you read the downloads on just about any device.  I think this site will really help creators get their stories and images into more hands... or monitors. 

I know there is a fear that digital media will make print forms obsolete.  I don't believe it's true.  In the case of comics and sketchbooks, I think digital downloads actually help make print sales.  Dani mentions this on the site as well.  I speak from personal experience.  I love Girl Genius and even though I could re-read every panel online, I chose to buy the print books.  This applies to almost any webcomic or digital comic; if I like it, I'll likely buy a print version.  The price of the original digital download (Girl Genius is free) does play a part in my decision.  If I pay $10 for a digital download, I probably wouldn't invest in a print copy unless I really loved it.  The Illustrated Section offers a range of prices.  A couple of the comics are free, and several downloads fall within the $2-4 range.

There are about 90 books so far, already double than what the site had when it opened three weeks ago.  Jones says they keep rolling in too!  She updates the blog with some of her favorites, but it seems like the quality bar is set pretty high.  It's hard to pick out which ones to purchase, but that's not a bad problem to have.


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