No, I haven't entered the porn business. This is a post about the economics of publishing. Really. Well, okay, and cartoon nudity, I guess.
It turns out that PlanetOut has decided to stop publishing Alison Bechdel's long-running comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. (See Bechdel's 24 February posting.)
So in a post a few days ago, Bechdel floated the idea of offering an email subscription to the strip, then posting the strips a month or so later for free. So everyone would get to see them eventually, but only people who paid would get to see them immediately. She suggested $1 per strip, which comes to $24/year.
So far, sounds like following in the footsteps of various other micropayment/subscription systems. Sounds plausible, and there was a lot of enthusiasm for the idea in comments on that entry. I hope it works out.
But in addition to the subscription system, she added a twist that I haven't seen before, one that I think is especially likely to make it work:
Hey, and what about this? The email version could be like HBO. I could leave all the swear words in, and perhaps even have occasional frontal nudity. Instead of the #@&*'s and artful drapery that I employ in the newspaper version.
To which one of the commenters responded, "i would totally pay $24 a year for naked swearing cartoon lesbians."
I think that's a sentiment that a lot of people can get behind.
And it'll be mildly entertaining to see what kind of comment spam this entry of mine gets.
P.S.: When I say "long-running": according to the FAQ, the first strip appeared in 1983, and the first collection in 1986. Twenty years! Zowie!
P.P.S.: The FAQ also reveals that at least one volume of the series has been published in Finnish, under the title Lepakkoelämää, which apparently literally means "bat life" but is slang for "promiscuous lesbian." In case anyone was wondering.