For years now I have been hearing about how comics need to go digital. FastCompany’s Rob Salkowitz recently published a post dealing with DC Comics going day and date for sales on digital and print. Mr. Salkowitz believes this is something that needs to happen for the industry to survive. I don’t believe it for an instant, and will be following up here.
If the audience doesn’t really want to change, and the comic book industry is one of the few (only?) publishers where comic book store retailers (commonly referred to as the direct market) are committing to pay for a non-returnable product months in advance, then why would the publisher want to change that? Disney is the king of finding ways of making money with everything they do and was more interested in Marvel for their intellectual property and they were floored when Marvel explained the direct market to them. That’s a way of making money that even Disney could never make work.
Also, the price of printing and distributing is not actually the largest cost in this industry. Creators, editors, marketing teams, etc. don’t come cheap, and now you’re adding in a person that needs to scan the item into Comixology and testing to make sure it works right. Yes, it removes the fact that non-comic stores carrying comics have told publishers that they are not interested in carrying comics for less then $2.99 each because there isn’t enough of a return, but I don’t think that is much of an issue given the above.
And he seriously brings up Comic Book Guy? Is that a joke? I’ve been collecting for 20 years and I never met anyone like that. I mean a joking type retailer yes, but not an out of shape, balding shop owner that insults his customers.
Digital can bring a new type of customer, but I really don’t see it being anywhere close to saving an industry that has been “dying” since the 1980’s.
And that all completely ignores what DC did today with rebooting its entire line. I really have no reason to buy another DC comic ever again after I purchase Flashpoint #5 later today.