Archie Releases iPhone-Only Comic

Betty & Veronica Christmas Spectacular

Archie Comics has just announced that “the all-new holiday special Betty & Veronica Christmas Spectacular” will be its first “exclusively digital comic book”. Except they don’t mean digital, which would imply reading on a variety of screens, using a platform non-specific format like PDF or CBR. No, it’s really an iPhone-only comic.

The U.S. population is 300+ million. The number of iPhone users is estimated at 20 million. Once you’ve digitized your comic, why restrict your audience to less than a tenth of the population? Why not sell alternate, more open formats as well?

Betty & Veronica Christmas Spectacular

The answer may be found in the pricing. This issue (no length specified) is $2. Print issues are $2.50. They save all the costs of printing and distribution, and they drop the price only a half dollar? iPhone users may be used to that kind of scale, but online users in other venues expect more reasonable pricing.

I also found this part of the press release interesting:

Betty & Veronica Christmas Spectacular is certain to live up to these expectations, especially in the eyes of fans who have eagerly anticipated this issue since the Betty & Veronica Spectacular title was saved from cancellation by a fan-organized movement on Facebook earlier in the year.

No wonder this is the title they’re experimenting with. They think they have nothing to lose. I do wonder, though, how all the old-school fans, proud of their boxes full of paper issues, will react to an issue they *cannot* collect.

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