Bill Amend of popular comic strip FoxTrot has recently begun offering a series of $1.99 100-strip mini-collections via the iBooks store. Created using Apple’s iBooks Author, the e-books are “short and curated primarily for an entertaining read on the go,” says Amend in an interview with TechCrunch.

The collections came about, Amend says, after he had looked into e-book publishing but found most existing comic strip apps seemed too clunky and he didn’t have the wherewithal to roll his own. Then iBooks Author came along and allowed him to create his own e-books. The paper books will continue, as they are aimed at a different audience for a different purpose.

Amend also offers his thoughts on e-books in general:

At some point I’m sure downloadable books will replace print books sort of the way downloadable music has largely replaced CDs. It’s just so much more efficient. But I do think there’s something to be said for the permanence of print and I doubt it’ll die, just become more scarce. Maybe print-on-demand will grow. To be honest I have no idea. I’m just a cartoonist. But I do worry for my friends in publishing as we enter a world where anyone with a computer can upload an eBook to sell on iTunes or Amazon. The standard 75% cut of eBook revenues they take becomes hard to justify in that world.

I don’t usually buy iBooks e-books because of the DRM, but at $1.99 each, these Foxtrot packs are definitely tempting. It’s just a pity that they’re exclusive to the iBooks store, as I’d like to be able to buy and read them on other platforms.

And something else interesting: in a comment on the TechCrunch post announcing the e-books, Li Zhang writes, “I usually download everything for iBooks on that pirate, but I just can’t do that to Bill Amend.” Looks like connecting with fans pays off.


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