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Stjepan Sejic's Sunstone was first published as a webcomic on his DeviantArt account (and is still available there), as was his Death Vigil. Linda Sejic's Blood Stain is published on her DeviantArt first, before being published by Image Comics.

Question is - why? Why would Image Comics publish something that has already been read by a lot of people online? Even if there are people who haven't read it, it's entirely possible they'll go to the artist's website and read the chapters there (legally and with the artist's blessing), instead of buying the published book (of course, the published version is more polished, but it's still the same).

Are those kind of (webcomic to print) comics profitable for publishing houses? (I only know of Image Comics doing this) Or is there some other motivation?

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    This is so common for webcomics - most webcomics I read have some sort of physical copies available as well.
    – user25
    Nov 7, 2017 at 19:00
  • Good question, although I agree with Ash that this is quite common. Hopefully we can get a good answer on the economics of converting webcomics to print.
    – user111
    Nov 7, 2017 at 19:01
  • @Ash I know Nimona was a webcomic, but after it got published only the first chapter can be accessed freely. In this case there's no change between pre-publishing and post-publishing (except the published version is prettier, but that's not noticeable unless compared). Nov 7, 2017 at 19:17
  • I can think of a number of comics (Unshelved, Questionable Content, Girls With Slingshots, etc) who have the whole run online and who also have physical books for the entire run of the comic as well. Usually there's not a lot of change, although I know the creator of QC did redraw some early strips to match his present art style, for example.
    – user25
    Nov 7, 2017 at 20:02

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I can think of a couple of reasons why a web comic might become published:

  1. A single, physical, consolidated book is easier to read, rather than going from page to page to read a panel. It's also easier to take to different places to enjoy, rather than having a desktop screen or laptop (old-school e-readers wouldn't handle this material well while newer kindle fires could).

  2. Another source of revenue. People that REALLY enjoy a web comic might find it as a way of contributing money to the author to buy the physical book. People like to receive things for money, so it's a good way to support the artist and still get something in return.

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  • I suppose hypothetically, these explanations make sense. But an answer with, say, a quote from a publisher going through the economics of publishing webcomics would be much more authoritative and much more satisfying. Speculation < confirmation.
    – user111
    Nov 22, 2017 at 20:19

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