Image Comics was an early adopter of offering most of their comics without any digital rights management. Since 2013 they allowed users to shop directly on their website and download comics to their computer and easily load them on their smartphone, tablet or e-reader. A few weeks ago the comics publisher decided to no longer offer DRM-Free comics on their website and gave users until February 3rd, 2019 to back them up.
The news came from an email sent to customers from the Walking Dead and Monstress publisher. It states, “This is an email alert to inform you that ImageComics.com is discontinuing the sale of DRM-free titles through our site. Beginning on November 5th, 2018, DRM-free versions of our books will no longer be available for purchase and all sales of DRM-free versions through ImageComics.com will be discontinued.”
Image Comics has stated that the only way to buy digital comics is through their vendors such as Amazon, Comixology, IndieBound, Barnes and Noble and others. Image will continue to sell physical comics to customer directly on their website.
It has not been disclosed why Image decided to discontinue DRM-Free comics, maybe it was due to the gradual lack of interest in the digital editions. Comic book and graphic novel sales fell 6.5% in 2017 from a 2016 high of $1.015 billion. Graphic novels brought in $570 million while comic books brought in about $350 million. A report posted to Comichron notes that comic stores are still the biggest source for revenue while $90 million is attributable to digital downloads.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.