DC's Senior VP of Digital on KINDLE FIRE & Graphic Novels


Last week, DC Entertainment took its digital presence a step further by offering 100 digital graphic novels exclusively on the new Kindle Fire, the newly announced e-reader from Amazon.

"Amazon has demonstrated they know e-books, and they know how to deliver them in a compelling way to mass audiences," said Hank Kanalz, DC's senior vice president of digital. "The Kindle is one of the most popular consumer electronic devices out there today and Kindle Fire takes that to the next level -- it's a great fit for our graphic novels."

The move puts DC's top-selling books like Watchmen, Batman: Arkham City and Green Lantern: Rebirth into the hands of digital readers exclusively through the new Kindle product.

"We tried to come up with a broad mix of titles that will interest many readers, and we also wanted to offer some well-known titles like Watchmen, Fables, The Sandman, and Superman: Earth One," Kanalz told Newsarama. "Our periodical strategy has been similar, and well received. Books from different eras, creators, price points, in addition to our same day digital offerings, populate our weekly uploads so that there should always be something for everyone to enjoy."

The release of graphic novels on digital isn't unprecedented, but it does represent a new direction for DC Entertainment on a large scale. Previously, DC had seemingly aligned itself with ComiXology and had concentrated its digital presence on individual comics.

The decision also impacts comic book retailing, since collections and graphic novels have been an important part of local comic shop business over the last 20 years.

But Kanalz said this effort is seen by DC as yet another way to bring in "additive" sales. "As we have stated before, any new digital step that is not additive to our business or ultimately fair to our comic shops is not a step worth taking," he said. "We're focused on reaching new audiences. "

While the latest DC initiative in comic stores has 52 new titles being released for comic fans, Kanalz said that number doesn't hold as much significance for book readers, so they decided to release 100. "

Why not more?

"There’s a limit to our capacity, and we are doing quite a bit here at DC," he said. "We want to maintain the quality and the on-time delivery of all of our great product, so we have to set limits. Digital isn’t instant — it takes a lot of planning and work to bring these books to digital life."

Kanalz told Newsarama that DC has been working with Amazon for awhile to make the new Kindle Fire work with the company's overall digital strategy. He indicated that Amazon's Kindle was the right place for these exclusive books because the company already has an established customer base among book readers.

"It's a combination of Amazon's ability to deliver high-quality content, easily and quickly -- and the massive reach and popularity the Kindle already enjoys," he said. "We think Kindle Fire will build on that popularity."

The executive indicated there were reasons that graphic novels would work well on the Fire, but he couldn't describe them because the information hasn't been released by Amazon.

Although the announcement may seem to put DC in an exclusive deal with Amazon, Kanalz said that wasn't true. He said there are many more announcements to come.

"It’s not hype when I say we’re just getting started," he said. "This is a great next step in our plan for both print and digital, and we have more steps to take with other partners, moving forward."

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