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    Comics via tablet winning over France and Belgium

    ©Belga
    ©Belga

    Do you prefer flipping from screen to screen to leafing through pages? Comics in digital form are slowly making their entrance on the French market thanks to the large range available and good prices. The future still looks bright, nevertheless, for those lovely albums we all know and love.

    As a result of the increasing availability of tablets, perfect for zooming in on the images, although almost non-existent four years ago, today sales of digitised works brought in 1.5 million euros last year with the sale of 400,000 albums. A quarter of buyers are not French-speaking.

    Yet digitised works still make up only 4% of the comic market in France, compared to 15% in Great Britain and 25% in the US, “which gives us some ground to make up,” said Nicolas Lebedel, sales director for Izneo, one of the first online platforms for comics written in French.

    Izneo was created when a dozen major French publishers got together in an attempt to resist the Apple and other US giants, explains Claude de Saint Vincent, president of Dargaud and head of Izneo.

    Launched in 2010, Izneo now offers over 10,000 albums from publishers such as Dargaud, Dupuis, Lombard, Casterman, Fluide Glacial, Bamboo and Gallimard – but no Tintin.

    Izneo is now competing against the likes of the American comiXology, the leading digital comics platform bought out by Amazon in Spring 2014. Often referred to as the “iTunes of comics”, comiXology offers 70,000 titles from 75 American publishers and boasts 200 million downloads since it was set up, the majority being comics.

    The group now has lofty ambitions on the Franco-Belgian market.  It has already signed up over a dozen French publishers since 2013, including Delcourt, Humanoïdes Associés and Glenna.

    Publisherslike Glénat tend to sign up without a moment’s hesitation with all online retailers. “I want our product offerings to be accessible on as many platforms as possible,” said Sébastien Celimon, Glénat’s digital manager. “Our digital sales tripled in 2014; half of them were manga. Most of our sales come from Apple’s iBooks app, from Izneo, comiXology and BDbuzz. Sales are noticeably increasing, although Glénat’s turnover is still quite small.”

    Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)