Digital Comics Coming Soon to Physical Comic Shops

Comic books

I have a feeling this is going to change the world of comics. Publishers Weekly reports that Diamond Comics Distributors and digital comics vendor iVerse have teamed up to launch a digital program that will give physical comics shops the ability to offer exclusive digital delivery of a select group of comics that can be viewed on a variety of device platforms.

Dave Bowen, director of DCD’s Diamond Digital program, has said the comics in the program will be solicited in May/June and then will be available for download in July. The new program will be offered in approximately 2,700 physical comic shops served by Diamond Comics Distributors. It will give the shops the ability to offer a selection of comics that will be released in print and digital editions on the same day and date. These comics will be offered exclusively at physical comics shops for 30 days before going into distribution through iTunes. The digital comics will be priced at $1.99 each. Shops will also be able offer Digital Plus Editions, which will be a digital copy priced at 99 cents bundled with the purchase of a print copy.

iVerse CEO Michael Murphey said:

“We are proud to be helping Diamond develop systems which will immediately enable comic shop retailers at any level of technical ability to easily sell digital comics. We are also very excited about the potential of this new venture to create many creative print-to-digital and digital-to-print promotional possibilities.”

Bowen has said that Diamond Digital is not an “affiliate program ” in which websites receive compensation for linking to a retail site. “The money is more robust than an affiliate program. The program has no risks for the retailers, there’s no inventory charges and we’re offering a generous margin that the shops will find attractive,” he said.

Bowen also said that DCD has already approached a number of other publishers about providing a selection of comics to be sold through the program. So far the group of publishers who will participate includes Archie Comics, IDW, Tokyopop, Top Cow, Top Shelf, NBM, Studio Foglio, Titan Books and Moonstone Comics. DCD is still in talks to add more publishers to the program, including companies like Marvel and DC.

The program is set to be on display at the ComicsPro annual meeting (a retailer convention for comics shops). It will also make an appearance at the Diamond Retailer Summit, the annual event for comics retailers held at C2E2, the newly launched Chicago comics convention currently scheduled for March 17-18.

Bowen also said:

“[The new digital program is intended to] decrease the downside effect on monthly print comics as digital sales start to grow. Digital is a small part of the market right now but some retailers are panicking a bit and we’re eager to offer a solution that brings physical retailers into the digital sales process. We want to empower stores to join the process.”

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