Digital Copies Through Your Comic Retailer? Witchblade Experiments

According to this press release, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Witchblade, Top Cow will be providing a free digital copy of the anniversary Witchblade #144 “with every copy sold through participating retailers.”

Witchblade #144

The plan works this way: A retailer who’s agreed to participate (I’m emphasizing that for a reason — I’m not sure a lot of comic stores want to show their customers the value of digital comics) will give a customer who purchases this issue a download code, which will allow the buyer to download the same thing he just bought online through Wowio. So this adds a wrinkle to “day-and-date” simultaneous release — you can only get one if you shell out for the other.

Top Cow is doing this to “usher Witchblade into a new age of comics”. I think she’s already there — this plan, while impressive in its attempt to move forward without throwing retailers under the bus, simply mimics what many customers already do, only without the hassle of DRM and entering codes. If you only want to buy the digital version, you’ll have to wait a month. That’s when it will go on sale from the usual “digital distribution sources”.

To entice retailers to go along with the plan, Director of Sales and Marketing Atom! Freeman said, “not only will they be the exclusive place to receive one of these download codes, but we are then going to give participating retailers a credit toward future Top Cow inventory for every download credited to them by the fan.” That’s a nice incentive. I wonder how this works if you buy the issue a week or two later? Does it depend on how effective the retailer’s filing system is, or whether they still remember the code?

Do you think your retailer will participate? Would you be interested in getting a free online copy with a paid print purchase?

3 Responses to “Digital Copies Through Your Comic Retailer? Witchblade Experiments”

  1. Evan Says:

    This is actually exactly what I want of all my comics. I want to own them physically, but also be able to read them safely when I’m on a train or plane without lugging too much weight. Correct me if I’m wrong though, but this solution only needs a universal digital comic format that can be read by non-proprietary reading software so that I can read all my books from multiple companies with the same program.

    Still, I desperately want this to become the new standard with comics and not a one time promotional thing to hook me on the digital. I’m not going to give up my print books and I’m not going to buy my comics twice.

  2. Eric Rupe Says:

    “Would you be interested in getting a free online copy with a paid print purchase?”

    If it’s tied to a proprietary format? No.

    While I do think that being able to get a free digital copy of physical comic you bought is a nice gesture, it does seem kind of pointless to me because people who like print probably wouldn’t want the digital copy and people who like digital might not want to buy a print copy.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Excellent points. The companies are dipping their toes in, moving in the right direction, while customers have been in the pool for a while and are yelling for them to dive in. Combined deals (one price for both print and digital) are a great idea, as are non-proprietary formats. I bet we see the former long before the latter.




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