Marvel Makes Collections Available Digitally; What About Pricing?

ComiXology sent out notice that they’ve added over 100 Marvel digital collected editions to their storefront.

Marvel collections on comiXology

While this is good news for readers who are more interested in reading stories than tracking issue numbers, I found myself surprised by the price levels. The first Ultimates collection, for example, contains 6 issues. You can buy those issues separately digitally for $1.99 each. The collection is $10.99, or a savings of a dollar. Meanwhile, at Amazon, the book is cover-priced $12.99, and you can get it in print for $10.39, or if you buy used, starting at $3.50 (in new condition).

I know, there are other reasons than price for purchasing digital comics, but I certainly am aware that it’s not any kind of a deal to buy digital bundles. Perhaps it’s just old-foginess, that I still have issues spending more than a buck or two on anything virtual, because I like to own (and lend and resell if I want) my comics. When you start asking $19.99 or $24.99 for locked-in files I am likely to lose access to at some point, I cringe.

Anyway, there are 19 event books, 27 Avengers, 23 X-Men, 6 Spider-Man, 5 Marvel Knights, 14 Ultimates, and 13 other (Oz, Zombies, Runaways, and cosmic-related books) available, for a total of 107. That grouping is also aimed at existing comic readers, since I’m not sure the distinction between Spider-Man and Ultimate Spider-Man will make a great deal of difference to them. I suspect they’ll also wonder why Iron Man stories are in Events, Avengers, and Ultimates.

Digital readers don’t necessarily cannibalize your print readers. They may be different audiences, but to make that possible, you also have to treat them as such and quit speaking in established jargon.

7 Responses to “Marvel Makes Collections Available Digitally; What About Pricing?”

  1. Victor Says:

    “…locked-in files I am likely to lose access to at some point…”

    I have not heard anything about this and have been following the digital scene fairly closely. I certainly will be very cross if the many digital comics I’ve purchased in the past 18 months are no longer accessible to me. Could you expand on this point or link to something which does? Thanks.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Oh, that’s just my negativity about proprietary systems based on what happens when someone gets tired of supporting the servers years later. Taking the long view, I have books that were my father’s and before him my grandmother’s, but no one’s going to be able to pass down a digital file.

  3. Victor Says:

    Definitely the longer view! But it’s a good point and a good reason why digital pricing should be lower than physical sales. Obviously the main publishers don’t agree (yet) with this. For what it’s worth the vast majority of my digital purchases have come from the “99 cent” sales but 99 cents sure adds up fast…

  4. Ralf Haring Says:

    Digital books priced the same as physical ones is crazy. Priced higher is … delusional. Price them at an impulse-buy level, so that there is no friction whatsoever from the time a potential customer sees the digital version to the time they click the buy button.

  5. James Schee Says:

    Yeah I agree with Ralf here. That price is just ridiculous, and I say that as someone who has made the switch to digital for the most part.

    I’d love it, and would try more, if they were at a price where it was an impulse buy. Get back to when comics was a disposable entertainment field, that you bought without the intent of keeping it forever. (when you do find something worth keeping you seek out the TPB or the like)

  6. IDW Launches Digital-First Series at 8 Pages for 99 Cents » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] hate to keep harping on digital price points, but as I watch companies experiment online, it’s one of the factors that jumps out at […]

  7. Jim Says:

    We can see the rick of locked-in files by looking at e-books and music. The various digital music companies originally had to sell music with DRM encoding (now they can sell them as DRM-free MP3s). Napster (among others) have shut down their servers; those files now cannot be relicensed and thus cannot be played.




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