Thursday, 10 November 2011

Let's Get Digital

I came to the computer today planning to write an entry about how the major comic companies should be letting someone who buys a physical print copy of a comic access to download it as a digital comic for free.

Then Comics Alliance posted that Marvel has announced they are doing just that.

Now, they are not doing it for every comic they publish, for now it is just the Ultimate line.  However, this is a really big step towards where I think digital needs to go.  I am not willing to pay the same amount for a digital copy and a print copy, as digital copies are one hard drive failure away from being lost, which is far more likely to happen than a flood or fire destroying my print comics.  However, I absolutely love reading comics on my Android tablet (Asus EEE Transformer ftw!).

This is the perfect solution for me.  I still buy my physical comics, can hold them in my hands, but if I'm away from home I don't have to haul my comics along with me (risking damaging them in my travel bag even though they are bagged and boarded). 

I don't think that polybagging every comic sold is going to be an option, but for now to get the ball rolling it's acceptable.  If I'm on the fence about picking up a book not being able to flip through it can be a deal breaker.  It does remove the "this is not a library" problem though I suppose, but realistically polybagging the books is an extra cost Marvel is going to want to eliminate.

My first thought was have a code you can scan with your device to get the book, but then someone could just scan it on their phone in the store and in effect "steal" the digital copy.  Maybe each store is given a list of codes for the comics they ordered, and they give them out upon purchase?  The bonus there could be is that after say, 2-3 months, the store could sell the upload codes separate from what are now back issues, which would be a nice show of support for the stores.  I can see problems with that system too, but I'm sure something can be worked out.

I do wish that digital titles were priced at $.99, as I would end up giving Marvel more money every month than I do know, as I would buy some titles digitally and others in print form (though I'd hope for the free download of that comic as well, as I've suggested).  I can see how that might be a concern to the brick and mortar stores though, as that price would cause some people to switch entirely.

Still, good start Marvel!


  1. The technology for delivering digital comics in a decent way (ipad, new kindle etc.) is so new and currently emerging, that I think all forms of book publishers need to figure out how the market can best work for them and their audience. It's an interesting time to be at the start of it all. Hopefully Marvel and DC will lead the way and will eventually get it right, but as with all publishers they seem to be selling at near physical book price levels which is not an attractive prospect ot buyers.

    I haven't brought an actual comic in years as they're too expensive and instead buy tpbs on Amazon quite cheaply. If they got the pricing right, I could go monthly again, albeit digitally.

  2. There are some titles that I collect exclusively in trade; I get some on Amazon but I try to buy the odd one at my LCS to support the store. My monthly buying has definitely gone down but if priced right digitally it could go back up.

  3. As creator of D'N'A Comics (available on EBooks ;-D) I am curious how to get the word out, as an indie creator. I'm telling you these things b/c I noted your comment on Jim's blog. I priced my 16 page b & w story at .50. I wish I understood how to get the word out. I dare say advertising is one of the costs to promote digital. Conventions, with travel and table, are rather prohibitive, as sales of new shirts and comics (especially our shirts) must, but probably can't, balance those costs. (I chose wrong: I went to LA Sci-Fi Con, laid down $115 for my table and almost that for two tickets...sold one shirt, one comic. I was the only new, indy product vendor, and most were there for bargains or statues they were waiting to get, via the grape vine.) I would value any insights you have, and hope these will be useful in putting together the picture for you. Cecil

  4. cease ill - I can only explain my own feelings/ behaviour towards unknown indie comics.

    I have a specific criteria to which Black and white indie type comics I would buy and so a 3/ 4 page preview would make the difference between me parting with money or not. I wouldnt put money into a complete unknown.

  5. I'm not sure what I'd need to catch my eye for an indie book; a preview, as Anonymous says, would be essential, since most of my comic reading is the Big 2 (depending how you count Vertigo as well). Your price point is certainly attractive though, is your book on Comixology?