Archie Goes Same-Day for Digital Release for All Comics Beginning in April

I’m late mentioning this, but it’s significant enough to make sure to write about. Archie Comics has announced

Starting in April, every Archie title will be available for purchase digitally on the same day the comic hits the newsstand. This unprecedented and historic news marks the first time a major comic book publisher has made their entire output available digitally on the same date as print. The move is part of Archie’s continued efforts to make their stories, characters and books available to as many readers — on as many platforms — as possible. The titles will be available day-and-date via the Archie Comics app from iVerse, available on iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad.

Not ComiXology? This may drive iVerse usage. Too bad they seem to have pulled their Android app. So much for “as many platforms as possible”.

But I’m digressing. This is huge news, and I agree with co-CEO Jon Goldwater when he says in this NY Times piece

The more I thought about it, and the more I saw the sales, I realized these formats aren’t competitive, they are supportive.

The readers you get online, as an impulse purchase or favorite distraction, do not overlap greatly with the print purchasers and collectors. Archie is also discounting the digital versions, pricing them at $1.99, compared to the print comics’ $2.99 cover price.

The Times lists the decision as applying to Archie’s six periodical titles: Archie, Archie & Friends, Betty, Veronica, Betty and Veronica, and Jughead. (Although they erroneously refer to them as “monthly”, which last year they weren’t.) So it looks like the magazine-format Life With Archie isn’t included, nor are the licensed Sonic comics. Find out more at this interview with Goldwater, where he talks about reasons behind the decision and pricing.

Most interesting there: Goldwater says “We’ll be launching digital exclusive Reggie and Me stories, for one, and a number of new, digital-only initiatives in the coming months.” Maybe that explains the confusion over whether Betty is cancelled or not — if it was going digital-only, then it would make sense to stop subscriptions while still stating that the title would be ongoing. He also answers my Android complaint, saying that a version for that platform is due in March.

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