Archie Releases iPhone-Only Comic

Archie Comics has just announced that “the all-new holiday special Betty & Veronica Christmas Spectacular” will be its first “exclusively digital comic book”. Except they don’t mean digital, which would imply reading on a variety of screens, using a platform non-specific format like PDF or CBR. No, it’s really an iPhone-only comic.

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The U.S. population is 300+ million. The number of iPhone users is estimated at 20 million. Once you’ve digitized your comic, why restrict your audience to less than a tenth of the population? Why not sell alternate, more open formats as well?

The answer may be found in the pricing. This issue (no length specified) is $2. Print issues are $2.50. They save all the costs of printing and distribution, and they drop the price only a half dollar? iPhone users may be used to that kind of scale, but online users in other venues expect more reasonable pricing.

I also found this part of the press release interesting:

Betty & Veronica Christmas Spectacular is certain to live up to these expectations, especially in the eyes of fans who have eagerly anticipated this issue since the Betty & Veronica Spectacular title was saved from cancellation by a fan-organized movement on Facebook earlier in the year.

No wonder this is the title they’re experimenting with. They think they have nothing to lose. I do wonder, though, how all the old-school fans, proud of their boxes full of paper issues, will react to an issue they *cannot* collect.

Similar Posts: Archie Sales Figures for 2009 § Archie Sales Figures for 2008 § Archie Sales Figures (Almost Complete) § Archie Goes Same-Day for Digital Release for All Comics Beginning in April § Archie Now on iPhone


7 Responses to “Archie Releases iPhone-Only Comic”

  1. Simon Jones Says:

    >They save all the costs of printing and distribution, and they drop the price only a half dollar?

    Printing isn’t a major cost per copy. As for distribution, the problem here is that they actually don’t save any money on distribution… Apple takes its cut as a percentage of the price. Amazon Kindle and Barnes n Noble does the same thing. So basically, they get more money if the item is more expensive, even if the actual operational cost of providing it is the same as a cheaper item.

    Until Apple, Amazon, BN etc begin charging a flat rate, they’re the same as brick n mortar distributors. They’re the ones making out like bandits.

  2. Left to our own devices: Archie’s here | Paperless Comics Says:

    [...] be pretty small, so I’m not sure who they think this will be reaching. Johanna Draper Carlson questions the logic a bit at Comics Worth [...]

  3. Archie Comics releases Betty & Veronica Christmas Spectacular exclusively on iTunes | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment Says:

    [...] Johanna Draper Carlson and Brigid Alverson offer commentary; Draper Carlson wonders why they'd limit it to the iPhone and [...]

  4. Archie Sales Figures for 2009 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] cancelled. Veronica and Jughead are coming up on special anniversary issues. Spectacular has gone digital-only. Watch for the Betty comic to get some kind of promotional effort in the coming [...]

  5. Archie Comics for February 2010 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] Betty & Veronica Spectacular is now online only, it looks like they’re reusing material designed for that book here, with the simplified art, [...]

  6. Marvel Releases Iron Man Annual Online, In Print Same Day » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] right now is when publishers try to force you to one format or another, as when Archie released an iPhone-only comic. The changing market should be about more customer choice, not less. (Another downside of digital: [...]

  7. Next on the Anti-Piracy Comic Hit List? ยป Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] I’m still waiting for more digital choices to be legitimately available. Archie is leading with experiments on that front. [...]

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