June 2, 2011

DC digital comics pricing: needs work

DC digital comics pricing: needs work

DC’s announced what the pricing policy for their new same-day digital line of books will be. Full article here, relevant portion excerpted below:

Both digital and print editions of DC’s comics will have parity pricing for the first four weeks of release; thereafter, the digital titles drop in price down to our standard 1.99 digital price point. Oversized issues, including JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, will start at $3.99 and drop to $2.99 after four weeks.

Considering the DRM in place on their digital line of books (like the others sold online through venues like Comixology, graphic.ly, etc.), $3-$4 is way too much to pay for something one doesn’t truly “own.” One would think DC would take a hint from iTunes and Amazon.com (and other online music stores), where you actually own the MP3s you buy and don’t have them tied to a specific app (or Flash-based website). DC also has to deal with competing with free (as in pirated CBZ/CBR comic files), along with other prominent forms of media that’re similarly priced (TV show episodes from iTunes, etc.).

In comparison, Archie’s digital comics, while also subject to the same annoying DRM, cost $1.99 for a new same-day-digital issue and $.99 for old back issues. (Unfortunately, it seems they aren’t lowering the price on the same-day digital issues after a certain point, after checking the pricing on Comixology). Yes, I’m sure the “Wonder Woman holds the decapitated head of Aquaman’s wife, Mera” comic is more “realistic,” “mature” and “detailed” than something “silly and unrelatable” like “Archie’s new gay character wants to enlist in the military someday, as well as become a journalist.” And yes, writers/artists (and the editors who green-light the likes of Mera-decapitation covers) have to be paid. Still, I don’t see potential new readers (who *won’t* step foot into a comic shop) flocking in droves to spend $4 (or even $3) on a DRMed digital comic that’ll take 10 minutes to read, and is just part one of some massive crossover storyline.

Tags: comic newsDC Comicsdigital comicsDRMMedia