L.E. Becker of WARP 9 in Clawson, Michigan comments on Dark Horse's decision to offer their digital comics at a lower price point.
So Dark Horse Comics is going same day/date with digital just like Marvel and DC, but with a twist--everything will be at least $1 cheaper online than the actual print version. All the retailers are up in arms: "How can you do this to us?" "We supported you." And I have had a few retailers ask me what my reaction is. My reaction? Meh.
First of all, I have said before that digital brings in the new or lapsed reader...one that wouldn't come into a comic shop anyways. Most kids these days do EVERYTHING with the Internet. Reading is way down the list of importance, no matter WHAT the subject is (unless it's the new Twilight novel).
Second, the amount of Dark Horse product we order is moderate at best. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Star Wars titles are our biggest sellers. But they are a far cry from what we USED to order (i.e., Buffy was ordered from us in the triple digits. Now? They’re in the lower double digits). The impact that this will have on me is minimal at best. I'm sure I will have a few of my customers that will switch to digital on a few titles, however, I feel that the majority of my customers (and by customers, I mean the REGULAR Wednesday customers) will still buy their books from us. Why?
1) Our discount on new books. Discount? A policy that I KNOW bugs Diamond (and our competitors), but let me tell ya, it keeps our customers coming back every week; trying titles that they normally wouldn't try, but when they factor in the discount, it bumps up our sales.
2) I have said this before, and I will continue to do so. This industry is focused PRIMARILY as a COLLECTIBLE one. The majority of the customers who patronize your store are COLLECTORS who collect, and of course, read the product. The comic industry has always, and will ALWAYS be focused on the collecting aspect of this hobby. People still continue with print because they want something that they can hold in their hands and maybe even something that they can sell (like YOU do at your shop). And before any shop owner takes an issue with what I said, I will only say this, if you carry bags and boards at your store, you ARE a collectibles shop. If you don't, then you are Barnes & Noble book store.
3) Our shining personalities (can't you tell?).
Now, do I think that Dark Horse selling digital comics at a cheaper price is crappy? Yeah, but I'm not going to cut off my hand to spite my wallet. I will still carry Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other various Dark Horse titles. And if it comes to a point that my Dark Horse sales stall because of their digital versions, then we will adjust accordingly.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
December 5 2011 @ 3:57 am CT
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