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Why Day and Date Digital Doesn’t Matter to Comic Shops

Yes, his name is really Al
I met up with Pete yesterday, and he asked me what I thought about DC Comics’ decision to release comics digitally at the same time as the physical books are released.

I don’t think it will affect All New Comics’ sales at all for 3 primary reasons.

The price point is too high to matter
The markets are completely different
Digital is already day and date

The price point is too high to matter
We sell a $2.99 comic for a 20% discount, so $2.39.  DC is selling digital editions for $2.99 the first month and then $1.99 a month later.  I’ll wager that the cycle of digital will eventually resemble the retail cycle with 80% of sales happening in the first week.

That makes their product too expensive the first month, and then irrelevant the second month.

The markets are completely different
I asked Pete if he thought that DC selling subscriptions directly to customers in the back of every issue impacted us.  You can get a 12 month subscription to Batman for $20, or about $1.66 an issue.  

He asked me “Have you seen the condition those things arrive in?” – they usually end up rolled, dinged and dented.

Well digital doesn’t arrive in ANY condition, you can’t resell it, you can’t even lend it out.  It’s an entirely new market, one I kind of like.  This week I bought 5 issues of Firestorm (from the 80’s), and the first 10 issues of Perez’ Wonder Woman, for .99 each digitally because I wanted to read them, but I don’t want to deal with them later.  No need to bag, board, and store them, or find a home for the trades.  I also like the fact that I’m carrying those and about 20 other comics, 5 magazines and two dozen books in package about the size of two comics.

Digital is already day and date
Go to The Pirate Bay on any Wednesday, navigate to comics, and watch the listings roll in.  DC can combat this because their versions will be better quality (direct from the digital source), and since they have the pre-press files, they can release them Wednesday morning.

Really, digital is a different audience. It might be lapsed fans, maybe people like me who have no space, or just technophiles (also me), who have been transitioning all of their media to digital for the last decade

By Brian Garside

Brian is a digital experience expert, and part time internet superhero. He focuses on digital first design, digital strategies, content management, website usability, and user experience. He was part of the team behind BalanceDo, the co-founder of All New Comics, and the chief strategist at NorthIQ.