Marvel Comics announced on Friday that it will begin selling the digital versions of their comic books the same day as their printed counterparts.
The company currently sells its digital comic books through its own applications for Android and iOS devices. It is also picked up by 3rd party companies such as comiXology, which is one of the more popular ones. They plan on offering its entire Marvel lineup of comics by April 2012 and expand on their digital presence.
Peter Phillips, senior vice president and general manager of Marvel’s Digital MediaGroup, said that the digital sales should not impact their book versions because of the sheer amount of people consuming the tangible content. They are also experimenting with ways to drive customers to the brick and motor stores with coupon codes or discounts on the print versions.
Marvel’s senior vice president for sales and publishing, David Gabriel, said a slow, steady path toward complete day-and-date digital has helped abate fears from retailers and increased interest not only in digital titles but in print ones, too, “because we went slow and meticulously chose titles to do this with.”
If you have the Marvel application on your iPad, you would know there is not a huge selection of books to choose from. It seems to only get updated once a week and it is never the most current stuff. I found the majority of content is back issues or a series of books from twenty years ago being reissued. It is a smart move for Marvel to issue digital books the same day as the print versions. DC is currently doing this with its reboot of the entire franchise and is doing record business. Many comic stores I have spoke with in Vancouver have all said they are seeing customers in their stores they have not seen in years. They are coming in every week to get the latest issue of the DC franchise because they can be more immersed in the emerging story-lines. Marvel did reboot their own franchise a few years ago with “The Ultimates,” but did not have the digital infrastructure to effectively promote it online in digital form.