Different Digital Strategies for Valiant, Action Lab
The acquisition of ComiXology by Amazon has caused a number of publishers to rethink their digital strategy. For some reason, a near monopoly of the digital comic distribution market seemed ok when the company was independent, but once a huge competitor snapped them up, publishers started checking out alternatives.
Valiant, for instance, has taken on a strategy of selling through as many venues as they can, announcing last month that their digital issues would now be available on iVerse’s ComicsPlus app (which also has an edition to make the comics available to library patrons), DriveThruComics.com (which sells DRM-free PDFs), and Madefire, as well as ComiXology. Each makes new Valiant comics available day-and-date as well as carrying back issues.
Action Lab, on the other hand, stuck with ComiXology but went for sale pricing and digital-first releases. They’re planning to release their entire catalog of issues digitally and DRM-free the same time they’re offered in Previews. For the first two weeks, issues will be priced at only 99 cents, then go to $1.99. So if you’re interested in ordering an Action Lab series from a comic shop, you can buy the same comic digitally to be sure you want the print version.
Of course, the question then becomes whether the customer even needs the print version, or whether they’ll be happy sticking with the cheaper digital copy. At least customers will know that the comic is done, since it’s already for sale. I’m surprised I haven’t heard more people talking about this, since it’s something of a revolutionary strategy.