Digital distributor Graphicly announced today that it was closing its doors after seven years in business, and giving publishers 30 days to download their products before the company's systems are deleted. The digital publishing company Blurb announced it was acquiring the entire staff of the Colorado-based company, but that its database of e-books and digital products was not included in the acquisition. Initially heralded by co-founder and former CEO Micah Baldwin originally as an "iTunes for comic books," Graphicly later transitioned away from solely packaging comic book content in favor of a broader range of illustrated books which included comics and recent revenue broke the $2 million mark.
"We have always been looking for how we can provide the best service and the most complete service," Graphicly co-founder Micah Baldwin told Newsarama. "We started talking to Blurb a couple months ago, and at the end of the day it all kind of made sense."
Graphicly, which launched in 2007 as "iTunes for comic books," was one of the early pioneers of digital comics distribution, and after ComiXology grew to become a market leader Graphicly expanded past comic books to become a platform to produce and distribute any manner of digital books but remained active in the comic book marketplace. In 2010 the company acquired comics podcast/blog iFanboy.com (although they've since split), and was notable for serving as the debut platform for indepedent books such as Ken Garing's Planetoid, which was later picked up by Image Comics.
Baldwin tells Newsarama that readers who have purchased Graphicly books will have "no issues" as all of the content is hosted by online marketplaces such as Amazon, iTunes and other outlets. For publishers, the co-founder says they've sent out guidelines for the transition of content away from the Graphicly platform and that "all the marketplaces have been extremely helpful in making that transition easy for individuals." Baldwin says that the process should be "relatively seamless" for content creators who have used Graphicly, and in the long-term will be "extremely beneficial" as it'll allow the content owners to work directly with various marketplaces. In an interview with TechCrunch, Baldwin stated that in 2014 Graphicly had over 10,000 publishers and over 20,000 individual titles in its system.
When asked about payment to those content creators who sell products via Graphicly's platform, Baldwin said he "couldn't comment on any fnancial matters." With Blurb not acquiring Graphicly itself but rather only staff, any outstanding monies owed by Graphicly to vendors and content owners would remain the responsibility of the company.
Graphicly currently has a staff of six employes (including Baldwin), and according to Blurb have already joined the company to work on the development of ebook ans graphic publishing.
“This acquisition of incredibly relevant talent will help us advance our vision of 21st century authoring,” said Eileen Gittins, Blurb founder and CEO, in a press statement. “What self publishers need now is the ability to focus on the creative aspect of authoring, with output automatically generated for all relevant ebook formats, as well as print output.”