As posted in a news release here at MajorSpoilers.com, Marvel has revised their policy regarding redeeming digital codes.
Previously, Marvel redemption codes were found within individual titles. That way, if you bought a comic, you also could download a digital version as well.
However, the House of Ideas recently changed that policy. Now, instead of a digital version of the book you already purchased, you can select from two or more from a variety of other books, and they will vary frequently. One of the first offerings will be Civil War II #0, which is a smart idea, I believe.
Some folks aren’t very happy with this change. A fan started a petition at change.org in an attempt to stop this from happening, with 607 supporters signing it as of this writing. They’re hoping to reach 1,000 signers.
I see both sides of this coin, so let me share my thoughts on this topic.
SAVING YOUR PAPER COPY
What was really a benefit to those people among us who collected and saved their paper copies, this was a huge deal! After all, you could store your paper version and still read the digital version on one of your devices.
You could both collect and read at the same time! I like that idea, and I’m not all that much of a collector!
Granted, this wasn’t much of a help to those people who prefer the “paper” experience – You know, those who want to open the issue and turn the pages as we have for decades now.
Still, I thought this was a good idea for those who wanted the best of both worlds.
Ah, well… nothing lasts forever!
TURNING A BENEFIT INTO A PROMOTION
We now enter the world of promotion, and that’s what’s obviously behind the recent policy change.
As stated in the release, “Beginning February 1st, Marvel fans that enter the doors of their local comic retailer will now be rewarded when they purchase Marvel titles with a digital code that unlocks existing moments into the Marvel Universe they may have missed in the past.”
This changes what was a duplicate copy into something of a promotion. In other words, you can download and read from several digital comics being offered. Often they’ll be from new trades/collections on the way, giving the reader the chance to sample a larger book so they can make a more informed decision when they choose whether they want to buy the trade or not.
So, how does this work? Again, here’s what the release said: “Marvel’s BONUS DIGITAL COMICS will be updated weekly with consistent in-print and social messaging so fans know which BONUS DIGITAL COMICS will be made available that week. So find your local comic shop by visiting comicshoplocator.com and get ready to experience new gateways into the Marvel Universe you may have missed in the past available through the comics you already read.” Or you could go to the shop you already frequent!
This isn’t going to be much of a benefit if you’re a very serious Marvel buyer, usually picking up the various individual issues that are being collected into a trade.
But what Marvel is hoping is that, if you haven’t been up on everything, you just might get the chance to dive into something you’d like to get, and buy it in trade. Hey, it is show business, after all!
YOU COULD JUST PASS ON IT
A lot of my friends who buy a ton of Marvels have told me that they often didn’t redeem the digital coupon, anyway. They hoped they could do that later if they decided to have that to store and read.
Honestly, I don’t know how long these redeem codes are good for. Maybe someone else can enlighten everyone?
One last time, let’s go back to that release: “Each week, new BONUS DIGITAL COMICS codes, available only in your local comic shop, will offer fans additional pathways into the Marvel Universe, promote Marvel’s monthly trades, and create repeat retailer customers and Marvel readers for life.”
I don’t know if I like forcing fans to go through the local shops for the codes, though. Every layer you add to the process adds another possible jumping off point in the process. Previously, they had it in their possession once they bought the comic. Now, the store is the conduit, and let’s hope the store employees are good about making them available. Not every store employee is good about this kind of thing, sadly.
Still, Marvel hopes the more fans interact with their stores, the more they’ll buy from the House of Ideas. I don’t know about that “for life” part, though. Some of us comics fans aren’t all that good with lifetime commitments, after all!
IT COULD JUST BE TEMPORARY
As with all policy changes in the industry, if this revision fails to result in sales (read, income), Marvel reverse this change. We’ll probably know how it’s working in a few months. If it doesn’t help, they could go back to the previous way of doing things.
Or, they just might cancel the whole free digital code process entirely. I know several people who would NOT be happy to see that take place.
We still don’t know what digital comics are going to be when they grow up. Will they eventually overtake paper copies, perhaps removing them completely? Or will they still be a “gap filler” as they are for me, getting them so I can get back to buying paper copies after I’ve read the issues I’m missing? I don’t think anyone knows at this point.
What’s your opinion? Do you like this digital code redemption policy change at Marvel? Or would it be best for the House of Ideas to keep providing the free digital issues as a benefit? Please share your thoughts in the space below!