Concerns about the page credit system from the reader's perspective - GC Forums

Community

gunderstorm
gunderstorm

gunderstorm

Releases read: 7

Posts: 3

Member since: Aug 13, 2017

gunderstorm
gunderstorm

gunderstorm

Releases read: 7

Posts: 3

Member since: Aug 13, 2017

posted Mar 26, 2018

Concerns about the page credit system from the reader's perspective

I posted this as a comment to the blog announcement, but it occurred to me that it might be better suited for here in the forum.

What is a page in the digital space? I don't even like to think about pages in my work anymore. I think about screens more than anything. 

Three things that I feel are an obstacle to the reader regarding the page/credit model:

1) Buying credits, in general, is annoying. It might be nice as an option, but as a reader, I'd like to be able to buy "up the hierarchy" of content as it can be collected (Issues, Series, Subscription). Yes, credits are nice as a way to hop around and explore paid content at your leisure, but I see lots of readers saying, "Can I just buy this book?

2) If I am reading a story, and I get close to the end and run out of credits, you've put me in a position to pay $4.99 to find out how it ends. Even if I only have one page left to read. 

3) Comics storytelling isn't the same as other media. When you apply a monetary value to a unit of storytelling as small as a page, the reader expects to get the same value out of every page they buy. If a creator decided that a page of their story should be composed of one small drawing for tension/dramatic effect/emotional impact, the reader might very well feel ripped off. Or that the creator phoned it in or is just trying to get an extra $0.044257 out of his or her audience.

I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this.

CronaJ
CronaJ

CronaJ

Releases read: 13

Posts: 8

Member since: Feb 19, 2018

CronaJ
CronaJ

CronaJ

Releases read: 13

Posts: 8

Member since: Feb 19, 2018

posted Mar 27, 2018

Hmmm... You have brought up some very good points. I'm kind of on the fence about this. Personally, as a creator who draws pages for print, I don't find any issue with page credits. And since I put more detail into single-panel pages, I don't think the number of panels matters. Generally speaking, the bigger the panel is, the better the art.

As a reader, however, I understand the inconvenience of paying for page credits when you really just want to read one comic. The page credit system encourages readers to read more comics on the site, as opposed to paying for one issue.

The one thing that seems to be an obvious drawback for me is that the current model employed means that having a scrolling format, or long pages of any kind, results in arguably less revenue per page. In this way, GC discourages any kind of scrolling format, which really sucks for anyone who prefers to draw webtoons instead of traditional comics.

AhkwardKat
AhkwardKat

AhkwardKat

Releases read: 31

Posts: 27

Member since: Feb 19, 2018

AhkwardKat
AhkwardKat

AhkwardKat

Releases read: 31

Posts: 27

Member since: Feb 19, 2018

posted Mar 27, 2018

I have a few points on this, so forgive me:

1. Scrolling format can go both ways. As @CronaJ said, vertical or scrolling comics can make less if they upload all their panels as a single page. So in some ways it can be cheaper. 

2. However on the other side, I disagree with that statement because, learning some things from webtoons and tapas creators, by uploading each panel as a single page actually increases what a vertical reader would make. Say they have 3 pages with 5 panels each. That is 15 panels that are now 15 pages!! In this way vertical comic makers can make way more money! 

Imagine having an update with 10 pages, averaging 5 panels each. Paying by page would be 10 credits, if a creators makes each panel a page that would be 50 credits!!! That's insane! That's almost 2$ for 10 pages, versus 0.20$. Even PRINTED comics are cheaper than that! 2.99 for 32 pages is about 0.10$ a page. 


Now, I do think even 100 credits for 4.99 is more than fair if we go by regular pages. A standard printed comic costs 2.99 usually for 32 pages. That ends up at about 0.10$ per page. Even at the most expensive, 100pages for 4.99 is half that! 0.049ish by basic math. So anyway, it is up 5o the creator to determine the affordability of the comic. 

There really is no reason to make each panel a page other than more money. So hopefully, while those people will make more money, they will get less readers due to the increased cost should they do it that way. 

Then back to the alternative, if they upload as one giant image as a page, those creators will suffer from a lack of income. I make traditional pages since I print my comic, so no worries on me doing that to people! That is my thought as a creator. 

As a reader, I WILL NOT read a comic that charges by a panel as a whole page. That is annoying. So @gunderstorm is correct, it can be more expensive depending on how the creator formats it. 

yayaoyuyingstudio
yayaoyuyingstudio

yayaoyuyingstudio (DA-POW!)

Releases read: 79

Posts: 18

Member since: Mar 1, 2018

yayaoyuyingstudio
yayaoyuyingstudio

yayaoyuyingstudio (DA-POW!)

Releases read: 79

Posts: 18

Member since: Mar 1, 2018

posted Mar 28, 2018

I feel like the report system is the main fishnet right now. If a creator is deviating unfair in their creation-- well, readers can determine who they truly want to support.

I share similar sentiments to Crona though. ;v; I don't go thinking one page is xx amount and another page is xx amount when creating.

In truth, I'd like to see some feedback from non-print individuals since they're perspective may be different? Most of us who have responded are already planning (or atleast hoping) to print our work at some point in the future and I'm in that boat.

So the way we lay out our work may be different? Hope others will be willing to chime in.

But on the topic of a reader, I don't see a problem with purchasing credit because if I have left over credits-- I would most likely use them to check out other other series; which I think would actually be a positive for the community? But that's just my two cents.

gunderstorm
gunderstorm

gunderstorm

Releases read: 7

Posts: 3

Member since: Aug 13, 2017

gunderstorm
gunderstorm

gunderstorm

Releases read: 7

Posts: 3

Member since: Aug 13, 2017

posted Mar 28, 2018

@yayaoyuyingstudio, the creators' perspective on this is a whole other discussion.

Thank you for the amazing points, @CronaJ and @AhkwardKat.

To be clear in all of this discussion, I am not arguing that the price is unfair. The assumption that a page of comic art is always the same monetary value is what I find difficult to contend with.

A page is just a collection of panels (or just one), arranged in a manner conducive to storytelling. It can be thought of as a storytelling composition, the smallest unit of which is a panel. As a reader, will I be turned off by the creator who posts their mini-comic on the platform, as printed, and expects my hard-earned credits for tiny pages? I'd argue that's a legitimate concern. 

4) Back to "What is a page?", it's clear that, as far as the GC platform is concerned, a page is the same as its print construct. But why should it be? These aren't print objects first that just happen to be sold digitally. When you are talking about digital goods, a page is whatever the creator believes ought to be in that composition so that the story can be told effectively.

AhkwardKat
AhkwardKat

AhkwardKat

Releases read: 31

Posts: 27

Member since: Feb 19, 2018

AhkwardKat
AhkwardKat

AhkwardKat

Releases read: 31

Posts: 27

Member since: Feb 19, 2018

posted Mar 28, 2018

@gunderstorm the creator perspective matters. We have to post as pages as that is the option it gives us. It is up the the creator to determine what constitutes a page, though surely put forward your views as a reader. 

As far as I understood, we really have no way of changing how much each page costs other than one credit or free. As creators we have control over every single page in that respect (one credit vs free). Should you have one page that is super detailed and one with only a simple drawing, we as creators have no way to lessen the charge other than to make that page free. 

However you should join our discord chat and talk to @Nimloth about that. ALSO, if you find a creator who you think abuses that system, you can report them to the staff to get it corrected and dealt with. The staff are super responsive here!

We as creators REALLY care what our readers think, so let us know! Let staff know too! Which is why this forum is here lol, you just told us. However we have been discussing this for days in the discord chat. 

As for print, well my comic IS made for print FIRST. That is why I use the frame/panel system to make it easier to read my comic. Not everyone is opting to use that system and it makes some pages hard to read with tiny text and tiny art.  But anyway, this is an awesome discussion. Anymore points you think should be addressed?

Nimloth
Nimloth

Nimloth

Releases read: 205

Posts: 142

Member since: May 25, 2017

Nimloth admin
Nimloth

Nimloth

Releases read: 205

Posts: 142

Member since: May 25, 2017

posted Mar 28, 2018

1) Buying credits, in general, is annoying. It might be nice as an option, but as a reader, I'd like to be able to buy "up the hierarchy" of content as it can be collected (Issues, Series, Subscription). Yes, credits are nice as a way to hop around and explore paid content at your leisure, but I see lots of readers saying, "Can I just buy this book?
Indeed, I agree - subscription is a more ideal type of model for readers, and not one that we've ruled out.

What's interesting about this point, and one that you make later about people not constructing for print, is that the very notion of "an issue" is removed for many digital first comics. E.g. creators who publish 1-3 pages at a time.

The reason we started (it's not necessarily the end-game) was to create a system that is very easy to understand as a reader (single purchase, read a lot), that also works with the many different publishing forms that creators employ (ex: single graphic novel release with 70+ pages), regular installations of issues (usually 20-30 pages at a time), as well as for folks who publish small number of pages more regularly (webcomic style).

Now, it wouldn't be hard to add a button that says "buy this issue" that consumes the amount of credits equal to the issue from the reader, if that is a preference :)

In the longer term, we definitely want to look more into subscription model. However, that model also comes with some pre-requisites in that there's enough content frequently being published to warrant paying a regular fee each month to stay up to date.

The point here is that we're very keen on keeping an open dialogue with both readers and creators and finding the best solution for both.
2) If I am reading a story, and I get close to the end and run out of credits, you've put me in a position to pay $4.99 to find out how it ends. Even if I only have one page left to read. 
Yes, this is true right now. But it also means you can read the first 10 pages without investing ~$2.99 only to find that you don't care for the story/art/etc.

We could in theory work around that by having a "buy issue/release" that's available if you have all the credits needed to buy the issue outright.
3) Comics storytelling isn't the same as other media. When you apply a monetary value to a unit of storytelling as small as a page, the reader expects to get the same value out of every page they buy. If a creator decided that a page of their story should be composed of one small drawing for tension/dramatic effect/emotional impact, the reader might very well feel ripped off. Or that the creator phoned it in or is just trying to get an extra $0.044257 out of his or her audience.
Sure -- but there's also ways to abuse any system that is devised or employed. The inverse is paying $1.99 for 3 pages, because the creator published a 3 page release, set their desired price, and you have to buy the whole issue up-front.

As mentioned previously by others, as long as there's ways to report abuse (there is), and we have the means to refund credits to readers who have been incorrectly charged  (we do), this is something we'll have to tackle on a case by case basis.

Definitely something we're keeping an eye on though.
4) Back to "What is a page?", it's clear that, as far as the GC platform is concerned, a page is the same as its print construct. But why should it be? These aren't print objects first that just happen to be sold digitally. When you are talking about digital goods, a page is whatever the creator believes ought to be in that composition so that the story can be told effectively.
We don't believe that a page is necessarily a printed unit. It's more accurate to say that we think a page is a unit of work (x amount of panels) that the creator feels both captures the narrative/visualization well, but also is worth the $0.049 it would charge if this comic requires payment.

Whether thats 7 panels top to bottom, or 7 panels side by side, or 7 panels constructed for print, or any other number of panels, this decision is up to the creator!
However you should join our discord chat and talk to @Nimloth about that. 
Yes! You absolutely should :) Here's the invitation link: https://discord.gg/RAHJgFe

---

The bottom line here I think is that our model is being tested, it's not set in stone. We want to collect a whole lot more feedback from many users before we make any changes. The reality is that there's not enough paid comics (or readers) yet on GC to actually gather that feedback from.

However, when there is, and we do, if we find that our current setup is wrong -- we'll change it. And along the way, we want to have an open and transparent conversation with both readers and creators about this issue :)

At the end of the day, our goal is to mold a platform that is loved by both parties equally!

Nimloth
Nimloth

Nimloth

Releases read: 205

Posts: 142

Member since: May 25, 2017

Nimloth admin
Nimloth

Nimloth

Releases read: 205

Posts: 142

Member since: May 25, 2017

posted Mar 28, 2018

Adding @Lexflex to this thread for visibility.

gunderstorm
gunderstorm

gunderstorm

Releases read: 7

Posts: 3

Member since: Aug 13, 2017

gunderstorm
gunderstorm

gunderstorm

Releases read: 7

Posts: 3

Member since: Aug 13, 2017

posted Mar 28, 2018

Awesome @Nimloth! Thanks for all of that. I'm glad to hear you guys are open to the feedback. I'm excited to see where things go.

@AhkwardKat, of course the creator perspective matters! It's just not the subject of this thread.

Nimloth
Nimloth

Nimloth

Releases read: 205

Posts: 142

Member since: May 25, 2017

Nimloth admin
Nimloth

Nimloth

Releases read: 205

Posts: 142

Member since: May 25, 2017

posted Mar 29, 2018

@gunderstorm us also :) Thanks for raising the conversation too, it's an important one to have!