Did you know that Amazon loves comics? To be precise, they love what comics could do for their Kindle products. Few of us have paid much attention to a new Kindle tool that promises to be the future of all Kindle books, not only comics.
The Kindle Comic Creator was released by Amazon to make it easy for creators to publish comics for Kindle devices. Publishing books with images has always been a pain to get right on Kindle, requiring some level of coding chops. But Amazon claims their tool removes the need for heavy HTML and CSS. Simply import your art, set any panel interactions you want (zoom-on-click, slide, etc.) and publish!
Of course, it’s not that simple, yet. R. Scot Johns did a thorough breakdown of the tool, laying out how some HTML may be necessary to make the book look its best. Still, the pain of publishing books with images appears to be lessened thanks to features that can only be found in Kindle Comic Creator.
It’s probably pretty obvious why this could be a big deal to the comic creators out there. If you publish your work on Amazon you have a built in potential audience of tens of millions of people. As an author who’s benefited from the Amazon marketplace, I can tell you this — if you make comics, PLEASE publish your comic book on Amazon. Just one. Test it out. It’ll be worth it just to say you did.
But the tool is also a sign of bigger things to come, and here’s why.
Amazon recently introduced Kindle Matchbook. It’s a service that lets publishers give readers a deal on the ebook version of their softcovers. So you can offer your “real” book for, say, $6.99 and then offer the ebook within the same transaction for anywhere from FREE to $2.99.
From my experience as an independent publisher, I believe people will jump on this boat fast. It’s likely that most will offer their ebook for free with a softcover purchase, hoping to capture some of the magic that happened on Amazon for a couple of years (where self-publishers with free books got famous and rich by the dozens). This wave of free ebooks will lead to some successes. But in the next year or so, the ebooks that are attached to the softcovers will need to offer tasty extras to stand out from the crowd.
Extras like concept art, drafts of the cover art, photo galleries, and, yes, even comic books.
It’s my opinion that Amazon’s Kindle Comic Creator is both an attempt to break into comics (with their lucrative IP potential) AND a way to offer creators an easy way to finally help ebooks offer something that normal books can’t. All without needing to know a single thing about coding.
One could argue that there are already ebooks with extras. Apple’s ecosystem is packed with interactive books, loaded to the hilt with movable this and that. One could even argue that the tools made available by Apple to creators are better than Amazon’s tools. But that misses the point. Amazon is approaching the next generation of book selling from a market perspective, as usual. Technology is secondary. They know that the promise of the ebook has not been met yet. And they know that they must help creators get their head around what they can do before they can do something special.
What better way to get creators’ attention than to link their softcover with the ebook in a real, tangible, dollar-wise way? Then, when the creators realize they need something more to stand out in the ebook crowd, they’re introduced to an image-rich, touch-friendly Kindle publishing process.
A process that’s been informed by the lessons of the Kindle Comic Creator.
If you start hearing about Kindle ebooks with cool new features in the next year then you know this prediction was probably right. If you also hear that creators are surprised at how easy it is for them to add cool extras to their ebook, then you know it’s dead-on.
You can download the software here.
Or you can browse the features by downloading the manual here.