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Is Anyone Reading Digital Comics? London Book Fair aims to find out…

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In the UK, the impact of digital migration on the graphic novel market has been less pronounced than in other areas of the book industry. This is often attributed to graphic novel readers’ attachment to print: nothing, you’ll hear them say, can replicate the look and feel of ink on paper, nothing can simulate the turn of the printed page. But this reluctance might also be put down to the limitations of the devices and platforms available for reading digital graphic novels. E-readers are fine for reflowable text, but their size restricts comics to a single page (sometimes a single panel) experience. They transform the experience of reading graphic novels.

But, say the organisers of a panel at the London Book Fair, look more closely at the graphic novel industry and you’ll find an innovative and creative spirit: digital pioneers are developing apps, creators are working on enhanced and interactive ebooks, and publishers are showing a progressive attitude towards distribution and Digital Rights Management.

Graphic Novels Go Digital: But Will Anyone Read Them will ask: what works and what doesn’t? Is the migration to digital picking up speed? And what can the rest of the book business learn from the innovations and attitudes of the graphic novel industry?

Chaired by Steve Walsh,  the founder and co-presenter of the South London Hardcore podcast and a prolific blogger and bookseller, the panel for this talk will comprise Russell Willis, publisher of Panel Nine, the company behind the brilliant SEQUENTIAL for iPad app, who has worked in publishing for over 25 years; comic writer and project manager at Electricomics Leah Moore, whose comic writing credits over the past 12 years include Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who and Red Sonja; Sam Humphrey, Sales & Marketing Manager at graphic novel publisher SelfMadeHero; and Sam Arthur, the Managing Director of Nobrow Press.

• Full details of the panel on 16th April 2015, 14:30 – 15:30 at the Club Room National Hall Gallery are here. The London Book Fair runs from 14th to 16th April 2015 at Olympia. Web: www.londonbookfair.co.uk/en/

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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