If you are a fan of comic books and would like to read lots more of them on your laptop or iPhone, then a new service being pitched as the 'iTunes for comics' called LongBox is just for you.
Music, movies, games and books all have digital distribution platforms these days, so it was about time that somebody designed one for comic books.
Works hand-in-hand with print
LongBox CEO and founder Rantz Hoseley told CNet: "One of our guiding principles is not replacing print or subsuming print, but creating a business model that works hand-in-hand with print. We want a diverse clientele."
LongBox is built on a set of proprietary APIs to let readers buy their digital comic books in the new LBX format. LongBox comes bundled with a viewer that lets you view your downloads as you like – so you can view the entire double page spread or choose to view the comic panel by panel, depending on your personal preference.
The software also features an 'anti-spoiler' feature, the option to bookmark pages and the option to view pages right-to-left (if you happen to be a fan of Japanese manga).
LongBox will also allow you to view all of those CBZ and CBR format files that hardcore fans have filled up their hard-drives with, although Hoseley added these (usually illegally obtained) files "won't have the same metadata as your store-bought LBX files."
Additional features such as (the by-now almost standard) social-networking features and the option to get discounted vouchers for print versions of comics are promised in the future
The downside? While LongBox is set to launch in the US in October for Windows and Mac, UK availability is still to be confirmed. So watch this space, comic book fans!