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April 8, 2010

iPad is big threat to Geppi, other comics distributors

ipad marvel

Steve Geppi built a fortune through his love of comics, and I really admire him for making a living from something he loves. He also brought Baltimore a museum that honors Superman and the other heroes of the medium. Now, though, there are signs of financial pressure on his business interests, and his 19th Century mansion Cliffeholme (eight bedrooms and nine fireplaces) is headed for a foreclosure auction today, more than two years after he put it up for sale for $7.7 million.

The biggest threat on his comics distribution business: the iPad. Previous e-readers such as the Kindle and nook are not built for full-color graphic displays. But the iPad's clear, sharp display offers comic book fans a new way to feed their habit. that's why Marvel has developed an iPad app -- and why Apple features it on its iPad app page. Now that consumers can buy digital versions directly from the creators, middlemen like Geppi get squeezed.

As Sun business columnist Jay Hancock notes on his blog, some in the comics industry may not fully recognize the threat. "Comics are special," an industry executive told the recent ComicsPRO confab. "It's not something that can easily translate into other media."

Until now.

Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 10:30 AM | | Comments (0)

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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