January 2, 2014

Comics: Examining Their Digital Counterparts

For those who haven't tried out the digital format when it comes to reading comics, you are truly missing out. The new medium certainly has benefits as it relates to ease of use and space-saving concerns. 

DC Comics App on iOS
However, with digital versions of standard-format books (aka good ol' paper), the industry still relies on basic practices in terms of release dates and prices to coincide with their standard format counterparts on store shelves. We feel these factors hold back the expansion of the electronic medium and prevents digital-only readers from escaping the past and embracing an always available product that deserves to be loosened from it's historical shackles. Comics that are published both digitally and in the standard paper format should be treated differently.

The following are changes we would like to see develop in with digital-versions of comics in the near future:

1. Release Dates: Instead of Wednesdays like standard-format books, the digital versions should be available on Mondays or at least whenever it's available to be published.  If the purpose is to combat piracy, then develop tougher standards and secure methods.

2. Pricing: All digital versions of standard-format books should be priced less than their paper counterparts. The consumer shouldn't have to pay for the same book in digital form, without advertising or bonus features. If publishers like Monkeybrain Comics and their series High Crimes, charge their customers 99 cents an issue, there's no way other publishers can't do the same.

3. Bonus Content: If consumers are to be charged the same price for the digital version of a standard-format book, then include bonus materials such a letters page, behind-the-scenes features, etc., to justify the price.

4. Incentives: Include a coupon for the same standard-format book for readers to purchase at comic-book stores and other outlets.

Much like the music industry, these changes are inevitable for the digital versions of standard-format books and digital comics in general. In the areas of pricing and availability, consumers should not be restricted to the standard ways of the industry.

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