The distribution of digital comic books is widely seen by fans and industry folk as unchartered territory.
The bigtime publishers (Marvel and DC) only recently launched the digital version of their most popular comics. Distribution is all over the map, with some titles offered in some stores at one price, and at a totally different price somewhere else. There’s a dearth of authoritative information out there specifically devoted to digital, and the general consensus appears to be that the industry has a lot of growing up to do.
On the positive side of things, digital comics do offer several benefits over their old-fashioned trade counterparts:
Other than making paper airplanes, you can’t really do much with printed comic books in terms of interaction. Digital offers a platform for engaging features like games, extra features, artist/writer bios, social networking with fellow fans, reviews, you name it! Us comics are a social bunch (contrary to popular belief), and digital technology provides an enriched experience.
Keep your superheros close, and your super-villains closer. Toting floppy comic books back and forth, having their pages get all folded or even heavens-forbid RAINED ON is no longer an issue with portable devices like the Kindle, iPad and Nook. Of course, it still rains sometimes. But all your comics are safely stored on your device instead of your friend’s houses or the floor of a subway.
Digital makes it easier to access information and content. Can’t really argue with that. Discovering a new comic book from around the world is possible thanks to online stores, and dedicated fans are exposed to a library bigger than ever previously imagined. To put it simply: MORE COMICS!
According to this article, digital comics are on average 50% cheaper than printed versions. (Honestly we read this article about 10 times and still don’t really understand what the situation is. It seems there are just wild inconsistencies all around in terms of pricing and discounts.)
An Inconclusive Conclusion
There’s a ton of potential out there for digital comics, but it’s really up to the publishers to figure out a way to offer both digital and print, with consistent distribution. Until then…be sure to sign up for Biowars, a totally FREE digital comic book.
See ya at the rodeo!