DC’s Digital Comics: A Report Card

Brian Hibbs reports on a meeting that DC Comics had with 20 comic shop retailers to assess their reactions to digital comics. While Hibbs had to understandably be circumspect about specific pieces of information revealed, there is some good data here about DC’s plans and strategies.

Not surprisingly, “the ratio of downloaded content was roughly 6:1 in favor of free previews … over paid content.” People are still unsure about paying for online comics. Also, day-and-date (simultaneous digital and print releases) are not a big deal; “the book they indicated that was currently their best-selling paid content was not a D&D book.”

Hibbs is viewing all this through the lens of figuring out how digital comics can be used to drive customers to print stores, and that seems to be DC’s focus as well, although they seem to be aiming bigger than the small sole proprietorships that make up the comic market. And bless Hibbs for acknowledging “the biases of an observer can’t help but color the observations recorded!” Given DC’s history and connections, it’s understandable that they want to move smartly, without annoying the direct market too much.

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