Saturday, 8 March 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

Slowly but Surely: comiXology Submit Reaches 1,000 Self-Pub Titles in its First Year

Posted: 08 Mar 2014 06:13 PM PST

According to ICv2, comxology submitthe digital comics market was growing at a healthy 25% in the first 9 months of 2013 (after nearly tripling in size in 2012) but if you had to judge by comiXology’s self-pub platform, you probably wouldn’t be able to say the same for self-published digital comics.

comiXology is showing off at SxSW this week, and they have revealed that comiXology Submit, their self-pub platform, has accepted 1,007 titles. Submit was launched at SxSW last year, so in a year and a couple days the platform has accepted just over one thousand titles from independent creators.

They’re having a sale to celebrate the anniversary, in case you’re interested.

While 1,000 might sound like a large quantity of works, it’s really not. In comparison, Smashwords launched in 2008 and managed to reach a thousand titles in less than 18 months, and they pulled that off during a time when “what’s an book?” was still a common question – even among authors.

Now, though, ebooks in general and digital comics in particular are well-known and recognized as a medium, and I would argue that comiXology should have been able to reach his milestone inside of 3 months. Would anyone care to speculate why that didn’t happen?

There are several possibilities. The first and most obvious is that comiXology curates the titles submitted via Submit, and this obviously could slow down the rate at which they can accept the works. Or, comics creators were already availing themselves of other channels to distribute their titles – Graphicly, for example. That service can distribute digital comics to all the major ebookstores and digital comic shops. They also added text-based ebooks (as opposed to image-based comics) last Fall.

And then there is the possibility no one would like to admit, which is that there isn’t much interest in self-publishing digital comics. Personally, I see this last possibility as the least likely; even if digital comics weren’t commercially viable I would expect to see more creators pursuing this option simply because they are driven to create.

My guess is that the self-published are using channels other than Submit, but unfortunately I don’t (yet)  have any evidence to prove the point. I don’t have the industry connections needed to answer this question.

So why do you think participation is so low? Or do you disagree with my premise?

The comments are open to all.


The post Slowly but Surely: comiXology Submit Reaches 1,000 Self-Pub Titles in its First Year appeared first on The Digital Reader.

A Dozen Sites for Free Audiobooks

Posted: 08 Mar 2014 01:15 PM PST

The internet is overflowing with nearly as many free audiobooks as ebooks. There are dozens if not hundreds of sites with free audiobooks, and I have pulled together a short list of 12 sites where you can find a broad selection.

Project Gutenberg

gutenberg Project Gutenberg is best known for being the first website to offer free public domain ebooks, but they also have audibooks for you to download. The selection is drawn from a variety of sites, including Librivox, AudiobooksForFree, and

pb-logo[1] This is not your father’s audiobook site. Podiobooks offers serialized audiobooks which are distributed via RSS, much like a podcast. You can subscribe with your favorite feed reader or podcast app (or at least it works for me).

The audiobooks are free, but donations are gratefully accepted.


librivox_small[1]LibriVox is a non-commercial, community-supported, ad-free site which audiobook recordings from public domain titles released by Project Gutenberg which have been read, recorded, and released for the public's listening pleasure.

The audiobooks are created by the public, and you too can volunteer to read a story. Or you can just download from LibriVox's acoustical library of good books.


storynory-logo[1]This site stands out from the other free audiobook sites because it is the one site that focuses on audiobooks for kids, offering popular titles such as Little Red Riding Hood. It also produces original content, which comes with transcribed versions of the story.

The Internet Archive

Internet_Archive_logo_and_wordmarkThe IA is out to backup everything, and that includes audiobooks. The site has a library of audiobooks and poetry readings from a variety of sources, including the Naropa Poetics Audio Archive, LibriVox, Project Gutenberg, Maria Lectrix, Internet Archive users, and more.

If you look elsewhere on the site you might also find audiobooks uploaded by users, but I would be careful about downloading those; at least some of the user uploads are pirated copies.

Open Culture

open-culture-logo[1]This site is one of the better gateway websites for educational and cultural media (video, text, audio, and more. Open Culture aggregates content from all over the internet, and it has a decent collection of audiobooks that you can stream or download in a variety of audio formats for later consumption. The audiobooks are listed alphabetically by the author's last name, and are organized by genre (fiction and literature, nonfiction, poetry, etc).

Learn Out Loud

logo[2]As you can tell from the name, LOL is focused on educational audiobooks. This site has a collection of more than 10,000 educational and inspirational audiobooks, only some of which is free. A lot of the free content is sourced elsewhere, including other sites on this list like LibriVox, but this site’s clean look and good organization might make it worth checking first.


librophile[1]Here’s a nother site that helps you find audiobooks. Like, Librophile is a specialized search engine, but in this case the focus is on free audiobooks and ebooks.

If you’re not sure what books you’re looking for, just page through the listings. Hovering your mouse over the book title pops up a summary of what the story is about and offers you the opportunity to play a sample. If you find it interesting, click the title and you can download or stream the audiobook and (sometimes) read the ebook.


Lit2Go[1]Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format. You can easily search for audio book titles here by genre, author or collection, and they even grade a book's readability for your children by Flesch-Kincaid grade levels. An abstract, citation, playing time, and word count are given for each of the passages. Many of the passages also have a related reading strategy identified.

PodCastle / EscapePod / PseudoPod

PodCastle_banner02[1]I think there aren’t enough fantasy, horror, and SF podcasts in the world, even with the trio mentioned above. These 3 podcasts are free to listen, and they feature original work from authors who are paid for their contributions.

The post A Dozen Sites for Free Audiobooks appeared first on The Digital Reader.

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