- Posted by Johanna on March 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
Marvel has just announced that they’re including digital copy codes in every $3.99 comic beginning in June of this year. Specifically, those issues will provide free codes for use in the Marvel comics app for iOS and Android. No word on whether they work in the web version of comiXology, which provides the app. This also means seeing that ugly black box on more covers, as with this Avengers #27 piece by Walt Simonson.
I picked my headline based on the title of their announcement, as emailed out: “Marvel doubles the value of all its top-selling super hero comics”. So they consider the value of a digital copy to be $4, the same price as the print comic, an estimation that many readers would disagree with. (If you already have the comic, then the free online copy only provides access to something you’ve already read.) At the same time, Peter Phillips, SVP & GM, Marvel Digital Media, said, “With this next step, fans will soon be able to buy their comics from their favorite retailers but also enjoy them on their mobile devices and tablets, all at no extra charge.” So what is the true value of a digital copy?
This move is in contrast to Marvel’s parent company, which recently began charging an extra $5 to get digital copies of its movies in Blu-ray combo packs. They have begun offering Blu-ray/DVD packs without the digital code for less than the version with the digital copy.
I also hadn’t previously realized that Marvel’s pricing strategy was that the best-selling books were priced higher; in most industries, doesn’t that work the other way around?
I wondered whether this meant Marvel was going to start polybagging all of these comics, which adds weight (and thus shipping costs) to retailers, but KC informs me that the newest Ultimate issues, which have been providing free digital copies for a while, feature a peelable sticker blocking access to the code, so anyone trying to steal a code will be noticeable wrestling with the issue in the store. Aiming at that audience, Marvel included this pullquote: “The positive reactions from both retailers and fans make it clear that including these codes with our books drives customers into comic stores on a repeated basis.”