For the second year in a row, we are in Angoulême for the FIBD, to promote the DiViNa format (Digital Visual Narratives) in the temple of bande dessinée, manga and comics.

But this time our goal isn’t to discuss with our contacts how the EDRLab BDCoMa working group can attract authors and publishers around the proposition of a standard format for digital comics; the goal is to rise awareness in the industry about our first achievements and promote the adoption of the DiViNa format, now ready for use.

Much happened to the DiViNa project during the year 2019:
– the EDRLab BDCoMa WG has completed the specification of core functionalities, focusing on what is required for the adoption of the format by authors and publishers.
– We have partnered with Pika Edition, a manga publisher and subsidiary of Hachette Group, which agreed to create the first DiViNa compliant digital manga.
– Our technical partner Kwalia has developed a prototype version of the first authoring solution dedicated to the DiViNa format.
– We have developed, with the help of Kwalia, an open-source Javascript DiViNa player; this player has been added to the Readium toolkit and is now usable in Web and Android applications; soon iOS and desktop applications also.

FIBD is not a heaven for digital geeks: it’s where rights are traded and fans come to meet authors and get “dédicaces”, i.e. personalized drawings on the books they just bought. But still this is where authors and publishers are; so we do. This is the opportunity to present this work to professionals, with different events:
– A conference held by Pika Edition and EDRLab on the DiViNa format and the presentation of the Bravery manga.
– A presentation of the process of creation of Bravery by its author Yoann Le Scoul, and the process of development of the DiViNa Creator authoring tool by Florian Dupas, creator of Kwalia.
– A workshop where authors can test DiViNa Creator and give feedback to its developer.

Bravery is now freely accessible from the Pika Website. For Pika Edition, this digital manga is used as a teaser for a print manga which will be published in 2020.

These achievements unlock the next phase of the project: the adoption of the DiViNa format by authors and publishers of digital bande dessinée, manga and comics for marketing purpose. During 2020, we’ll promote the adoption of the DiViNa format in its current form, and we’ll also develop more advanced features. We have designed a scale with 4 levels of complexity: this will allow authoring and reading tools to assert clearly the level of features they can handle: the 2 first levels are now completed, the two others should be completed by the end of 2020.

Thanks to the flexibility of the format, its web capabilities, the associated authoring and reading tools that have been developed, DiViNa is today the perfect tool for authors and publishers who want to promote on the Web their printed works, using digital images extracted from the work itself. This is what Pika Edition has done with the Bravery manga and other publishers can do the same now; but this is only a first phase.

The next phase will be to create a market for Digital Visual Narratives. For this to work, electronic distributors, booksellers and public libraries must be ready to integrate this new format in their solutions. This will take time (a lot), but the simplicity of the format, its advantages even for simple comics (i.e. metadata and table of contents), the availability of different authoring tools, the free and open-source reading tools offered by the Readium project, the fact that DiVINa publications can be protected against oversharing by the LCP DRM … with so many compelling reasons, we don’t doubt that DiViNa will be a success.

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