Hi! I’m Stephen, and I have an iPad. For the last year and a half (or more), I’ve been discussing ways mainstream publishers can make digital comics work and make everyone happy. DC made a huge splash in the digital comics market when it announced this week that all of its superhero titles would go digital day and date release. While great news, the last day or so had me pondering what new titles I would get only in print, and which would be digital only editions.
One of my suggestions in the past has been to bundle a digital code with every print copy, much like the movie industry is doing with DVD releases. I can go to the store and purchase a Blu-ray copy of Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, that not only includes the Blu-Ray HD version of the film, but also a standard definition DVD and an electronic code to download/transfer the movie to my iTunes account for use on my iPad, iPod, iPhone, or AppleTV (and yes, I do have all of them).
My worries over the question of Print or Digital have been answered by DC in the form of Combo Packs.
Those who want a physical copy of JUSTICE LEAGUE to read and collect, as well as the ability to download it onto their favorite device for easy transport, get ready. Each print edition of the comic book and an individual code for digital download will be wrapped in a poly bag and available for $4.99. Separately, the standard version will retail for $3.99 and the digital version will retail for $3.99.
This is a brilliant move, and one that sounds really, really familiar. While this sounds like another way to get more money out of me, the dollar more I spend beginning August 31, 2011, will actually be saving me two dollars in the long run.
But, what about those of us who ONLY want a digital copy, but balk at the $3.99 price tag for the Day and Date (DandD) release? You could wait a few weeks, and pick up the issue for $1.99.
Both digital and print editions of DC’s comics will have parity pricing for the first four weeks of release; thereafter, the digital titles drop in price down to our standard 1.99 digital price point. Oversized issues, including JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, will start at $3.99 and drop to $2.99 after four weeks.
Of course, I railed on the publishers for keeping the digital price the same as the print price when the first DandD issues first started appearing, but that was more of a move to keep brick and mortar stores from freaking out completely. If you have followed the prices of digital comics, you may have already noticed that most publishers have lowered the prices of the digital editions the longer the comic has been out.
While this is all great news, there are still things that publishers can do to boost sales in the digital market, and that has to do with back issues. Ever since publishers began offering their wares via Apps like comiXology, PanelFly and the like, they have slowly released their back catalog of titles. Recently, DC has been releasing the first issues of the Batman series from the 40s, and Green Lantern titles from the Silver Age. But unless I’m specifically looking for the first appearance of Sinestro through the app, getting access to that story is going to be rather difficult.
But what if comic reader apps like comiXology built hyperlink capabilities into their readers, that allowed publishers to use the old Editor Boxes to link directly to those digital back issues? Suppose you’re reading the new Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, and Superman and Batman are talking about events that occurred in Green Lantern #1. It would be a simple matter to include/return the Editor Box that said, “These events appeared in Green Lantern #1” and have that link directly to the online store for purchase.
That’s a freebie folks! Let’s hope you make a crap ton of money off that idea! I have another one you might find interesting… read it here.
For now, I’m happy to prepare my next Previews order to include a note that reads, “Dear James, from now on, please make sure all of my DC Comics are the combo pack variant. Sincerely, The Guy Who Put Your Kids Through College”