For such a lightly-trafficked rarely-reblogged Tumblog, my posts seem to inspire a disproportionate amount of private feedback and occasional drama. Before I figure out what next to write about, I have some updates on previous posts about bookselling, our burglary and DailyComix.
We have sold 266 copies of Volume One since I finished posting my bookselling experience. That makes for a total of 716, nearing half our print run. My sales predictions were generally accurate, though demand has been very soft post-Christmas. At this stage, the idea of selling hundreds of books in 2012 is unthinkable. But bundles with Volume Two are a very appealing idea!
I am very proud that we have been able to sell so many books at such a premium price. There are a lot of kind, supportive Bittersweet Candy Bowl readers out there.
We wuz robbed, but insurance came through in the end. A few people have asked how it panned out, so I’ll show you here:
- The iMac took a month to replace, but I got it replaced with a new top-of-the-line one! Basically, Apple’s current low-end model is the same as what my stolen high-end model (of years past) was, so that was what they offered. But I noted that they’d have to spend like $600 extra, since I had 16gb of memory in mine and I assume they’d order (overpriced) memory from Apple for the new one. So I made the offer: I’ll buy my own replacement memory ($110 on eBay) and you buy me the high-end iMac. It worked!
- The Playstation (a 20gb launch model) was replaced with whatever the newest Playstation is - a slim 160gb model. I sold the replacement on eBay for $250, and bought a first generation American fat Playstation 3 for the same. So while we lost a ton of saved games and a beloved personal artefact, the new (old) one is an improvement. (It has a chrome face and Wi-Fi.)
- The foreign currency - which I (very honestly!) guessed at $150 USD and â‚¬60 - was replaced in AUD at current rates.
- The carry-on bag was not available in Australia, so I decided to be picky and found it online, in the US. They paid the quoted amount of $160, I ordered it and now it is here.
- The Palm Pre 3 phone was the only trouble. I bought it for $220 (a good price that required a fair bit of eBay monitoring) and they offered $205. However, at the time it was stolen, the market price had increased to $350+. So while I was planning to eBay it, I got none of the expected profit. I complained, and after a month of thinking about it, they offered $600. Done!
In all, the pecuniary cost of the burglary was negligible. But I got a better computer, Playstation 3 and new carry-on bag out of it. The real price was the stress and wasted time.
The iMac is now tied to furniture with one of those Kensington laptop locks, by the way. Thieves beware. (Unless you brought a saw. Good thinking!)
I posted in the midst of this latest comic reader drama, and got a few surprising reactions.
Brad Guigar, who operates Webcomics.com, objected at my screenshot of a comment on the news post about DailyComix. He later clarified this expectation in a news post. While I don’t agree with the idea that a paywall implies privacy, he kindly allowed for the screenshot to remain as it is. I will be more cautious about sharing comments from sites like Webcomics.com in the future.
Chris Hanel, who wrote the catalytic Tumblr post that drove much of the anti-DailyComix movement, sought me out over IM. We talked for about an hour. I concluded that he was an unconvincing spokesperson. I’d post the log so you could judge for yourself, but I haven’t got permission. Either way, I think he stated his position much more effectively in the aforementioned post than in our chat.
After this point, there were a few more angry comments about DailyComix on Reddit. I received a few incoherent emails and tweets criticising me for supporting content thieves. But the drama had mostly subsided until Jeph Jacques spoke out about the DailyComix app, with another outburst that echoes the general sentiment of my previous post’s screencaps.
In the last few days, I have received hundreds of emails - most from comic publishers - asking for their comics to be removed from DailyComix. While I am happy to remove them on request, it seems that none of the supported publishers would remain once all comics were removed. Therefore, there is no point to continue maintaining DailyComix. There is also something I should clarify regarding our app - we did not steal from the artists, writers, or publishers of webcomics. Our app linked users to comics that were hosted (freely available) on the Internet. We never claimed that any copyrighted work was ours, and we did not host any copyrighted information on our app or servers. We are not in violation of copyright. We also did not make any significant money from publishing our app on the Android Market. To be honest, the income from this app was less than it cost us to run the webservices on which the app depends. I seriously doubt that our app has had any significant impact on publishers’ income - and I am confident that this can be verified with the statistics that both myself and publishers collect.
The developer emailed his appreciation of what I wrote, told me of “the overwhelming flood of angry letters and threats (both physical and lawsuit)” and confirmed a couple of my assumptions:
You are absolutely correct about several things:
- I have received over a dozen sad emails from users, pointing out that they only learned about their favorite webcomics on DailyComix.
- Several of these people pointed out that they have purchased merchandise from those publishers (but wouldn’t again).
Talk is cheap, of course, but let’s take Klaymore and his users at their word.
We are left with the following consequences:
- Webcomic authors, successful in removing the app from the store, can now feel secure that their work is no longer being “stolen” by Klaymore.
- DailyComix users feel sad and angry at their favourite authors. “Dozens” or more will no longer support them.
- The developer of the app, who could not even break even on server costs while the app was available, has an unsellable project that took hundreds of hours to write and test.
Authors, 1. Readers, 0.
Developer, who cares.