INKR, a Singapore-based startup strives to provide a wide range of translated e-comic books from varied authors. The platform offers cutting-edge features such as a 100% cloud-based solution using AI technology and smart project management tools – a more convenient legal platform for readers and authors for digital comics creation, consumption, and localization.
With the recent Series A funding of US$3.1 million mainly from Monk’s Hill Venture, INKR has a vision to help creators and publishers reach more readers across the globe and provide them with diverse quality content is slowly materializing.
The growing market for digital comic books
It is projected that the global comic book market will reach US$4.7 billion by 2026, up from US$3.9 billion in 2020, at a CAGR of 3.3% within 2021-2026. Amidst the pandemic, the growth of digital consumption has gradually increased up by 33% to US$120 million, according to ICv2 and Comichron.
Along with increased demand for e-comics is the pressure on artists to produce more. It is common knowledge for manga and anime fans that mangakas (comic artists) have struggled with stress-related injuries caused by loads of work and deadlines. In line with INKR’s goal to provide convenience, proper credit, and better benefits to authors, the platform eases the process of comic book creation, thus reducing burnout.
Culture and exposure
The localization of digital comics has also been an ongoing challenge. A pioneer of the digital comic industry, ComiXology circulates Marvel and DC comic books online, primarily in the English language. In addition, Naver Webtoon elevated mahwas (Korean comic books) to reach more readers and catch up to Japanese manga readership. Manhuas (Chinese comic books) are also scaling and finding their ways to non-Chinese readers.
In the future, it will not only be mangas, manhwas, manhuas, or even Marvel and DC, but also small and indie comic books from less recognized nations with tremendous potential to be known globally.
In Southeast Asia, locals have increasingly become immersed in the comic book and anime industry, so much so that huge comic book platforms like Kakao and Naver battle to have a share of the growing market. It is now easier for readers in the region to accept content not only from popular sources but also from low-key and unfamiliar creators who deserve recognition.
Localization of popular content is a work in progress, and INKR is playing a significant role in leveraging technology to achieve this. There is enormous potential for the platform. The team behind INKR are passionate readers who believe in the potential of comics’ storytelling and as a rich source of creativity from different cultures where authors come from. It inculcates cultural practices that readers absorb, opening their horizons to a broader spectrum of diversity.