Tag Archives: DRM Free

Surreality Groupees Bundle



Surreality is now available as part of the Groupees Community Bundle 7, running for the next few weeks.

Groupees is a great bundle website, featuring indie gaming, music, videos and comics as well as content from more established publishers. Long-time readers of the blog may know that I’m a fan of the bundle model as a way to offer more unique content, and as an alternative to the Amazon behemoth.

By default, 20% of your purchase of the Community Bundle goes to A Heart For Amanda, a wonderful cause helping to defray the medical expenses of a mother of two who needs a heart transplant. I didn’t know at the time I submitted to this bundle that this would be the charity, but I couldn’t think of anything better. Earlier in my 20’s I had to have a heart-ablation to correct a defect called WPW, which can cause sudden rapid heartbeat.* I can’t even imagine how much scarier it must be to need a new heart. And Groupees donates 20% as opposed to the 0.5% donated by Amazon Smile so you’re really making a difference even with a small purchase.

The Bundle is pay-what-you-want with a $1 minimum (a 75% discount on my book + a whole lot of other cool content). The rest of the bundle is an eclectic mix of games and music including a lawnmower simulator and games like Push the Crate and SweatShop. For the top-contributor (as of this writing only $5) you get a signed copy of Surreality and the entire digital catalog of one of the music contributors (Panda P.I., which raises so many questions. Is he a P.I. who investigates Pandas, or is he a Panda Detective?). The majority of the stuff is DRM free, including my book which comes in all of the eBook formats.

The bundle runs for another 13 days, so if you’ve been thinking about checking out Surreality, or you just really have the urge to cut lawns on your computer, why don’t you go check it out? Please spread the word on Twitter, Facebook and all the other social media areas we 30-somethings have probably never heard of 🙂

*Incidentally being awake while they shock your heart is quite the experience 🙂 (I’m all better now, no worries for like 8 years at least). 

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I might actually buy from Comixology now

There’s still time for your “Ask a tech guy” questions. I’ve already gotten a great question from Elle which I’ll write about on Monday, but I’m happy to answer anything you’d like. Contact me in the comments, or by using the contact button in the blog menu.



Image Source DeviantArt

Recently digital comics giant Comixology has been signing up publishers to offer all or most of their titles with DRM free backups. Prior to this, Comixology comics could only be accessed on-line, or through an app which stored the comics in a proprietary DRM “protected” file.

For me personally this means all of the comics I actually paid money for on Comixology I now truly own (mostly Star Trek from IDW and Lost at Sea from Oni).

Significant for me among this “second wave” of DRM free publishers is IDW. IDW has held the Star Trek license since 2006, and is mostly responsible for my near definitive Star Trek comics collection always being out of date. IDW has been prolific in its publication of Star Trek titles, opting mainly for a mini-series model of between 4-6 issue stories across a broad section of the Star Trek universe. This can make it difficult to find all IDW titles, since you first have to find the names of all of the mini-series rather than collecting numbers of an ongoing series (though now IDW is also publishing a monthly series involving the new Star Trek cast that is somewhere in the 30’s in terms of issues). Comixology makes everything easy to find, and for half the cover price (if you’re willing to wait a month or two).

I’d purchased a number of IDW Star Trek titles during a Comixology Star Trek sale (just prior to the release of the second J. J. Abrahms movie), but was irritated to learn how these titles were actually provided to me. This was also before I learned that the trick to most Comixology sales is to wait till Amazon price matches the issues and buy from them.

But Comixology has one upped Amazon (even though Amazon owns the company) with DRM free. The comics are provided in CBR (rar zipped image folder) and PDF formats. With the CBR you can extract and combine comics as you like, and better compress them for your own hardware (Hello Star Trek Ongoing Omnibus 1-20). While advertised as a backup, what Comixology has effectively done for me is eliminated the need for using their app at all.

IDW and Oni really make this worth it for me with great titles like Scott Pilgrim, Star Trek and Letter 44. Image was in the first wave, but I could buy DRM free directly from them as well, and usually did. However, Comixology’s purchase mechanism is far faster, and downloads from Image seem to picky about the browser I use, so I may start buying Image from Comixology as well.

Now two publishers are conspicuously absent from DRM free (and I bet you can guess which ones). In fact DC has raised its prices on a number of its graphic novel collections on Amazon from $9.99 to $12.99. *sigh* Guess it’ll take me a little longer to catch up on Fables. Marvel also does not offer DRM free. But DC and Marvel aren’t really the one’s I’m buying interesting titles from these days anyway.

As for the files themselves the PDF’s seem a little bloated (sometimes nearly 200 MB for a little over a 100 page document). My tablet only has about 4GB of space for comics and I have to keep reading them to clear space for more. But the raw CBR does give me the ability to compress to a better size, so I can always make my own optimized PDF.

Overall I’m actually pretty excited about this. Comixology probably has jumped to number 2 in the places I’ll buy my comics (behind Humble Bundle which ironically offered a lot of the Star Trek comics I had from Comixology in a bundle two weeks ago).

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