6 November 2009

Kindle or iPhone

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I am still interested in formatting comics for portable digital devices. Two of the main avenues that I can see are the iPhone and the Kindle. For some reason I am more attracted to the Kindle, despite the controversy surrounding them and DRM issues. Perhaps it is because it has a larger screen than the iPod and uses the ePaper technology that is actually similar to paper than a computer screen.

This has had new found relevance now that Amazon has released an international version of the Kindle which you can get sent to Australia and download content to in Australia, and now hoave the larger Kindle DX.

I found this article that discusses difficulty getting comic material to look good on the Kindle, but something tells me they are talking about detailed large scale colour comics, and I wonder how smaller scale and simpler black and white art of the independent and self published work would go. Surely work saved as a hi-res bitmap PDF would look crisp.

Say what you like about digital versus print, it does not change that new possibilities to distribute your work are there and increasing daily. Put another way, you can still collect vinyl and own an iPod. There are lots of comics I would love to read but not necessarily own in hardcopy.

The other thing that I find exciting about eReaders is the ability to charge for content (It sounds crass but financial compensation helps keep the comics coming out)
Try charging for content on the web and you will see your readers turn in the other direction. I think this is due to that looking at content on the web is like looking through a spyglass. You pay to look through this spyglass by buying a computer and paying for an internet connection but you are not necessarily retaining content, and even if you did there no real way to easily sort and reread it. Where as when you have an iPod or Kindle the content actually gets download to your device, you retain it and can reread it at your own convenience.

There is one guy that sells an eBook (actually two) on how to format for the kindle. Although I am sure you could figure out the details without buying his book, as he appears to be someone that has done his research and condensed it into an eBook.

If I can come up with a straightforward solution on how to format for Kindle (or other eBook readers for that matter) I will post it here in the coming weeks. In the meantime what are your thoughts? Perhaps it is too early to really invest in todays eReaders, you read about some people who are waiting for eInk to be made in colour or with touch screen capabilties.

So here are some technical specs of the Kindle
Screen size: 6" (15 cm) diagonal E Ink® electronic paper display, 600 x 800 pixel resolution
Screen resolution: 167 ppi,
Greyscale range: 16-level gray scale.
File types: Kindle (AZW), TXT, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; PDF, HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion.

2 comments:

Colin Tedford said...

I don't personally have a ton of interest in formatting for these things, in part because it feels early yet, & in the case of the iphone because of the small area to work with. I had also heard the kindle doesn't handle comics well, but I suspect you may be right that b&w comics formatted to its screen size might look fine. A while back Daniel Merlin Goodbrey was doing webcomics that would also work on ipods.

Anthony Woodward said...

That's the problem, formats are always changing. The thing with the Kindle though is all that you would be doing is saving your work as a PDF to that ratio, which could be used for other things too.