Following in the footsteps of Marvel, DC is coming out with its own iPad and iPhone digital comics app. Price points for the comics will range from 99 cents to $2.99, with $1.99 being the standard digital price for $2.99 print comics. DC will also be offering a retailer affiliate program through Comixology, presumably intended to assuage some of the worries comic book retailers have expressed about the onset of digital comics.
Comics Alliance has an in-depth interview with DC co-publisher Jim Lee about how DC digital comics will work, and what the implications of the program are for readers, artists, and retailers.
One interesting element Lee brings up is that DC is going for a buy-once, read-anywhere type of system:
One of the elements of our strategy is some measure of conversion; if you buy something on the Comixology site or the app on your iPhone, or on DCComics.com or the DC Comics app on your iPad you’ll be able to read them on all other places.
He also addressed piracy concerns, noting that it does impact their business, and partly due to piracy DC has a day and date release strategy. He sees the release of legally-available digital comics as a strategy for fighting piracy:
I also think that part of the appeal isn’t just offering the same thing; I think you have to offer something that’s more elegant, that’s easier to use, that fits into the rest of your library, that basically has a consistency of quality so that you know what you’re getting.
I still think $1.99 an issue is too pricey, but to be fair I don’t buy comics in the first place because I think they cost too much. It does, at least, fall on the right side of the e-versus-print value equation in that it is cheaper than the print version.
At $1.99 they are running 33-50% off the printed stuff. For comparison, comic shop regulars get on the order of 25% off. Not bad at all if you’re just interested in *reading* the darn things. (If you’re into the collectibles aspect, you’re not going to be happy with this at *all*. 😉 )
For those that aren’t aware, comics have been steadingly going up in paper and print quality *and* price. Or maybe its the other way. 🙂
Anyway, nowadays most of the titles are running $4 an issue with only the higher volume DC/Marvel (mostly DC) staying at $2.99.
A long ways from the “all-in-color for a dime” days.
I’ll have to look into the tech side of this, one of these days; format, resolution, DRM, etc.
It’s nice to see a publisher discussing the issue of piracy in a realistic manner. Lee knows that in order to compete with free, a company needs to put out a better product. As it stands, cbz and cbr, when used with a good program, are the best means of reading digital comics. Marvel’s foray into the digital realm have yet to impress digital comics fans.