Online digital content marketplace Readwhere has partnered with Comic Con India to launch a new initiative called ‘Free Comic Book Weekend‘, to allow Readwhere users to download Indian comics for free on May 4-5, 2013.
Among the comic titles being offered through this initiative include titles from Diamond Comics, Pop Culture Publishing, Campfire Graphic Novels, Level 10 Comics, Chariot Comics, Amar Chitra Kath, and Sufi Comics.
When we checked, we noticed that the site is offering various comic titles like Tinkle and Pandavas and titles from comic characters like Pinki and Chacha Chaudhary and users can currently claim any five comic books from the list of books offered. Note that these comics are DRM-locked and users can read these comics on Readwhere website or across its iOS, Android and Windows 8 apps. Its currently not clear if this list will be changed on a daily basis.
Readwhere currently offers newspaper, magazines, comics, books and journals on its portal and also allows users to digitize and publish their work in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi languages for sale.
Readwhere app: We checked the app from our Android handset (Micromax A90S) and noticed that it offers magazines, books, journals, and comics on its home tab. Users can filter content based on newspaper, books, journals, magazines, or comics. It also seems to aid discovery with featured content, fresh arrivals and just published sections.
The service offers a mixture of free and paid books, although we noticed that the service offers a significantly higher number of paid books and limited free books. The app currently allows one to browse through sample 5 pages of any comic book or magazine before subscribing or purchasing it. The service offers payment options like Credit and Debit cards and Netbanking to purchase books.
Not Mobile Optimized? We checked a comic called ‘Lotpot’ and noticed that the comic were not phone optimized and users have to zoom in the content to read.
Note that users can also read comics on the web through Readwhere’s website, where it provides a better reading experience. Also, Readwhere syncs subscription and downloads across multiple devices, however it does not sync the farthest read page like in the case of Kindle reading apps.
Other developments In Indian comics
In January 2013, CA Media LP, the Asian investment arm of The Chernin Group, LLC (TCG) acquired a large non controlling stake inGraphic India, a comic book and animation company. Graphic India will now be jointly owned by Liquid Comics and CA Media. At that time the company had mentioned that Graphic India will be releasing new digital content comic books previously published by Liquid Comics.
Future Group CEO, Kishore Biyani had talked about his plans to take Amar Chitra Katha comics to the digital platform in the form of animation, short films or e-books.
Geodesic, which acquired children’s magazine Chandamama in 2007, had gone digital bylaunching its website between 2008-2009 in in 5 Indian languages – Marathi (named Chandoba), Kannada ,Tamil (Ambulimama), Hindi and Telugu versions. In 2011, Chandamama also launched its magazine on the iOS platform, with a universal (iPad/iPhone) app, that lets users buy and download the magazine’s monthly issue, and read it on their tablets, mobile phones or iPods.
In March 2011, Indian War Comics had released their comic series in the ebook format, for the iPad. Priced at $1.99, the books available include “Braveheart of Mumbai – 26/11″, based on Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, a Major in the Indian Army and a part of the NSG; “The True Maratha”, based on the story of Col. N. J Nair, and “Yeh Dil Maange More” based on Kargil war hero Capt. Vikram Batra.
More recently, in July 2012, Mogae Digital launched Talking Comics on Tata Sky’s DTH (Direct to home) service. The Talking Comics were made available via Tata Sky’s Active Wizkids service and promoted by the DTH operator on its Channel no. 100, the default channel that viewers see when they switch on their Tata Sky set top box.