Almost Half Of comiXology’s Digital Comics Released Same Day As Print This Week
This week digital comics distributor comiXology reported that 42 of its new comics were released the same day as their print counterparts, a number that translates to roughly 40 percent of all new print comics released this week according to ICv2. The increase reflects a combination of evolving digital strategies, although DC’s decision to take its entire print line same-day-digital along with Image and Skybound’s aggressive expansion and Marvel’s gradual move to a simultaneous digital/print release schedule are among the most significant contributors to the boost.ComiXology isn’t the only digital distributor increasing its same-day-digital profile. Graphicly is also offering Image titles the same day as print and Dark Horse Comic’s digital program will begin offering a number of titles same-day, including its upcoming Orchid and House of Night titles. Additionally, at iVerse Archie Comics and many other titles have held a simultaneous release schedule for some time.
Though comprehensive data is needed to draw firm conclusions about what the rising profile of digital distribution means for the industry at large, ICv2 asserts that more digital titles being released the same day as print is an indication that digital sales aren’t cannibalizing those of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. However anecdotal that conclusion may seem, publishers have certainly been reluctant to upset Diamond — one of the cornerstones of their sales — and the retailers it supplies. Though many safeguards, such as parity pricing, are still in place to theoretically appease the print side of the business (and even allow comic shops to sell digital products) it would seem that publishers are feeling increasingly free to distribute their comics beyond traditional means.
Print and digital sales aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, though. DC currently sells premium priced print/digital combo packs and printed copies of Marvel’s upcoming Avenging Spider-Man #1 will come polybagged with a download code to redeem a free digital copy via its comiXology powered iOS app.
With something like a bazillion iPads already sold and the release of Amazon’s comics-ready Kindle Fire just more than a month away, simultaneous print and digital release schedules seem as if they only stand to increase to the point where the practice is eventually a given for mainstream publishers. To frame it in stark and incredibly obnoxious terms, the digital genie is out of the bottle and it’s about time for an outlandish animated musical number with Aladdin and/or synchronized dancing with Christina Aguilera circa 1999.