Micropayments finally here?

I’m probably the last on the block to have heard about this, but Scott McCloud, the author of Understanding Comics, has finally come out with an online comic available for a micropayment of 25 cents. Or rather, he came out with it over a month ago, but I just found out about it today. As you might expect from Scott, he’s put the new medium (Macromedia Flash in this case) to good use without losing the fundamental comic-book feel. It was a quarter well-spent, especially since I could download the content to my computer and feel like I actually got something I can call “my copy.”

Payments are made through BitPass, a new startup out of Stanford that allows you to open an account with as little as three dollars and a credit card or PayPal account. The whole process was quick and painless, as is the payment process itself. There’s not too much content you can purchase through BitPass yet, but it looks like they’re building up a solid content base as they go through their beta-testing. Content providers seem to still be figuring out how the market will play out for different kinds of media: models range from the donation cups that are already common with PayPal, to purchase-and-download, to a “30 reads in 90 days” pay-per-view kind of model.

And now just in case I wasn’t quite the last person on the Internet to have heard about this, you know too.