Geek On A Budget: Special Edition (UPDATED)
Jun 2, 2011 by     3 Comments    Posted In: Columns, Geek On A Budget

We interrupt your regular programming for a news bulletin! DC has announced that they will be releasing their comics on the same day and date as their hard copies. Being a geek on a budget, the first question is: “How will it be priced?”

Here is the low down as laid out at the DC source blog (link to source article)

If you buy a digital copy or a hard copy of a book when it comes out it will be priced at $2.99 ($3.99 for annuals and over sized issues). If you wait 4 weeks after the date of release the digital copy price goes down by one dollar.

However, if you like multiple formats DC will release bagged copies of books at comic shops for $4.99 with a code included within for a free download of the digital copy.


The advantage is obvious for folks who enjoy to read books on their laptop or ipad. If you don’t mind being behind a month you will save 33%! Additionally, collectors who like unread copies but enjoy reading comics can have the best of both worlds with the combo option.

Unfortunately, as near as I can tell any savings are being passed on exclusively to digital consumers. This is probably terrible news for retailers. How will they compete with a 33% saving?! For folks who like hard copies of books, this means they get no increase but no savings either.

What do you make of this as a consumer? If you are a retailer, what does this news mean to you? Leave a comment below or continue the discussion at our facebook page or forums.

UPDATE: DC offers retailers returnability on variants and additional new pricing schemes to retailers. Here are a few excerpts from a press letter from DC’s VP of Sales Bob Wayne.

“We will be offering an additional 15% discount on six different titles for orders placed by FOC, effectively giving you a 50% to 72% discount spread, instead of our normal 35% to 57% spread.  At a minimum, this deep discounting will be offered for September, October, and November.  The lead title is WONDER WOMAN with five others that will be announced next week.”

“We are backing up our commitment to you and this launch, by putting our copies where are mouths are.  We will be offering 100% Returnability on all of the remaining 41 titles. Returnability across the rest of the 52 allows the breadth of these titles to get their fair chance with your consumers.”

Click here to read the full letter.


3 Comments Add Comment

  • nisav June 3, 2011 at 7:28 am

    its great that they are releasing them on the same day, but the prices are what make this a bad deal.

    the packaged deal, paper + digital, needs to come down to a max of $3.99, more like $3.50. most, casual, readers will not pay $4.99 for that deal, since they can instead take the two bucks and put them toward another paper comic. even the hard core collectors who would rather not open the issue to read it, will only buy the packaged deal for the big event special issue types, not the general reads.

    and if they don’t change the package price they then run into the fact that digital price drops after a month, but the packaged deal doesn’t. shouldn’t the packaged deal then get a price break as well?

    i think they are misjudging who their readers are and making a bad decisions because of that. their money comes from fans who month after month drop their hard earned money on paper comics. those readers will not give up their paper copies any time soon. the digital version provide a convenience when traveling and such, but no true fan will either switch completely to digital format or start dropping lots of money just to have both.

    i think putting resources toward releasing current issues in digital format is not all that important. they should instead put their efforts to digitizing their gold, silver, bronze, and other older age collections. not just an issue here and an issue there, but complete runs. younger fans who got into collecting after those ages a lot of times seek out those older issues, not just to complete their collection but to read some great stories by some great writers and learn more about their favorite characters. i can see the younger fans, who are probably the ones who the digital copies are geared toward anyways, spending money on digital copies of the older comics.

  • JasonNewcomb June 3, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Interesting angle Igor and some good points made here.

    I’m not sure what to make of this.

    Obviously their core business is hardcore fans so far. But in the last 5 years, DCs single issues sales has nearly halved. It would seem that the hardcore fan base is dwindling. Something needs to be done to snag new readers and I can see how a digital initiative might achieve that goal. To me it looks like DC is not trying to sustain the current (weak) market with this but rather is trying to shift the market’s focus towards newer readers who will most likely be found online.

    We’ll have to wait and see, details are being released bit by bit and a lot will depend on how all of this handled and adjusted as time goes on.

    I agree with you that it’s unfortunate that hard copy buyers are receiving no lowered price incentive. I realize that practically speaking it’s a bit harder to organize a price scale with multiple retailers but still, I wish something more would be done to acknowledge the current fanbase.

    This is either a bold or desperate move, or both.

  • Aeterna January 26, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I’m a huge fan of my hard copies, and delight in moving around the heavy longboxes that tend to accumulate. It lends substance to the money I spend more than any digital copy of a book/comic ever will. On the contrary, as an avid Kindle reader, I can say that I love the way most comic books play out through a reader app; half the time is makes it feel like a silent film instead of a graphic novel. The e-comic format is also fantastic for being able to get early issues of series that I jumped onto late for a reasonable price.

    That being said, The biggest thrill of comic book collecting for me is actually COLLECTING them. Yeah, so I can read my e-copy #1s anytime I want. Big deal. My collection is still incomplete without the physicaql versions. Anytime I pass a little comic shop, I ALWAYS have to go in to see if they have something I’m having a hard time finding. But the ting about that is, every time I walk in, heads turn and people stare. And I know it’s not because a real life girl walked in, but because in the small retailers, I’m not one of the 10 people they’re used to seeing there. Most small retailers are home to Magic/Pokemon/Yugio/Whatever kinds of deck building game tournaments they can rally the troops to participate in, because while the comics are their passion, the cards are how mom and pop pay their bills.

    So now we’re offering digital copies at the same time as the release. The smaller chains are going to take a hit. If your comic shop has minimal parking, is out of the way, or has odd hours, what incentive do you have to spend gas money and pay the meter to buy something you could get NOW NOW NOW for the cover price? And while the digital copy will devalue in a month, The physical back-issue will be cheaper at some point thanks to sales at the retailer or resale online.

    And the package deal? It’s a joke. Who is going to read both formats as soon as they get their paws on them? Anyone? …Anyone? …Bueller? SO… a little math here…

    Hard copy@ time of release = $2.99
    digital copy after 1 month = $1.99
    Anyone else notice that it’s $4.98 To buy the hard copy, wait a month, the get the digital as opposed to PRACTICALLY THE SAME PRICE to be impatient to get a bagged copy with the code inside? Call me an old fashioned gal, but if you’re going to offer me an incentive, make the math a little more obscure if you don’t want me to see you’re really offering a whole lot of nothing.

    I’m offended by the loss of small retailers in almost every industry. I lost my dry cleaner, My local grocer, my local pharmacist, my hardware store, AND my used bookstores to ‘competition’ from bigger names. Please don’t make my comic stores go the way of all the other mom and pop nostalgia in my life.