The Price is Right? I’m Thinking of a Number…

imgres-3Having established my internet self as someone who (at least to Google’s algorithms) appears to buy comics and comics-related stuff on a fairly regular basis, each and every day I find my inbox filled with offers to purchase the latest digital comics from various sources. And being the good consumer that I am, I very often click on through to my favorite sites and have a look at the digital comic goodness they’re hoping to get me to buy. Sometimes I even buy something. But more often than not, I browse a bit, choose not to buy, and get on with my life. I certainly see a lot I want to buy, but something stops me. I hesitate, I crunch some numbers in my head and inevitably I walk away (virtually, of course!). There’s a glitch in the system somewhere because I’m the dude who companies want walking those virtual aisles. I love comics with a passion. I want both digital and hard copies of books. I have at least some disposable income. And I spend an unhealthy amount of time staring at my IPad. Simply put, I’m the guy who should be emptying his wallet and buying those comics. But my wallet stays closed. Why is that?

These ads certainly get me into the virtual store to peruse the virtual shelves, but there’s something that stops me from pressing that tempting “buy” button more often than not. That “something” is basically price. Nothing more complicated than that. Simply put, I almost never purchase digital comics at full price. And I’m beginning to think I’m not alone in my reluctance to buy digital books for two, three and four bucks a pop. In fact, I have a theory that, if the digital comics market is going to truly flourish in the long run, then the comics companies are going to have to embrace the same business model employed by the likes of iTunes when it comes to pricing books. That’s right, I’m saying that ninety-nine cents is that magic number that will get me (and others like me) to buy digital comics regularly, often and without hesitation. It worked with music and I think it will work with comics.

imgres-1I’m not saying that $1.99 or $2.99 isn’t a fair price for what you’re getting. It probably is fair considering there’s no advertising in most digital comics. I’d accept a few ads for a cheaper base price actually. Nevertheless, (and I can only speak for myself) I think buyer psychology is such that prices above a certain level, fair or unfair, give the buyer pause. We have to remember that comics are a luxury, a non-necessity, so people have that choice to NOT buy them. As much as we hate to admit, life will go on if you don’t read Age of Ultron. It will. That said, it’s up to the comic companies to create a scenario in which the buyer is willing to act on their impulses and buy comics without hesitation, even if they don’t need them; especially if they don’t need them. Walk through any 99-Cent Store and tell me if there’s anything anyone “needs” in that place. That store exists solely because people like to get crap for under a dollar. It’s how we’re wired.

I don’t claim to know all the business behind it and I can only speak from my own limited experiences, but when Marvel putsimgres-4 books on sale each week for that magical price point, that’s when it becomes a lot more appealing to me as a consumer. The hesitation stops and I’m spending. Simply put, I’m much more inclined to buy a lengthy run of a book if the digital issues are offered up at that oh-so-appealing one-cent-less-than-a-buck price point. Rocket science it is not, I know, but sometimes I wonder if the companies realize they could grow the readership of certain books and expand brand awareness with a cheaper base price. Maybe the idea of growing the fan base and bringing in new readers is a fantasy, but even so, I’d buy a lot more books, a lot more often if they were cheaper. There’s something about that under-a-buck psychological threshold that works the cerebral cortex in just the right way and causes me (and I think consumers in general) to say “I can afford that!” or “It’s just a buck. I’ll take it.” Again, it’s all wiring.

urlI don’t want to get into a lengthy discussion of digital comics piracy here, but I would also argue that making digital comics cheaper would divert at least some of those pesky pirates to the legitimate digital vendors. Sure, there will always be people who don’t want to pay for comics, but if you give them a good experience at a price that makes the whole illegal downloading thing feel like a waste of time, then you’ve at least done something to stem the tide. In the end, this is all just a self-serving, less than modest proposal in which I’m really just imploring the big two comics publishers to basically offer their comics at half-price because I want more comics for less money. Is that so wrong? I don’t have the numbers to back it up, but I do have the repeated experience of opting to not pull the trigger because I can’t justify a purchase at a certain price. So Marvel and DC, take this plan for what it’s worth and give it some serious thought. Maybe it’s crazy. Or maybe it’s so crazy that it just might work.


Gabe Roth is a TV writer and reluctant suburbanite who has on occasion been accused of being “careful” with his money.  He’s @gaberoth on Twitter.

Comments

  1. KillTheG1mp KillTheG1mp says:

    I’m a publisher myself (small independant horror publishing house in Quebec ;) ) and in my experience, 50% off the printed edition is fair enough. So for a digital comics, 1$ to 1.50$ “should” feel right.

    • Albatorak says:

      $1.49 for new issues and $0.99 after a year, for publishers releasing new material every month… And they should offer an ‘Unlimited’ type of service for anything older than 4 years, something like MARVEL UNLIMITED.

  2. aurgail aurgail (@aurelgaillard) says:

    I agree with you 100%. I rarely buy (or rather rent) any digital books worth more than $2, exactly for that reason. I think about each purchase long and hard. But when publishers offer $0.99 sales, I jump on them and don’t think twice. I’m sure I’d spend just as much or more if digital comics were cheaper.

  3. KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

    I think we’re getting closer to the point where the publishers will be able to go to the retailers and say:

    “Hey. See? Print and digital are relatively different markets. Not that correlation is causation, but you’re stores are on average healthier now than they were before we started selling digital comics. So don’t throw a fit if we try to court new digital readers by experimenting with lower prices for digital, kay?”

    That’s assuming that the current price parity between print and digital is merely to keep retailers from flipping out. There are other arguments (printing costs being equivalent to storage, bandwidth and programming costs), so I don’t know.

    But I suspect Marvel’s Project Gamma and Infinite comics are attempts to build extra value into the digital comics experience in order to justify a price point that is otherwise prohibitive.

    I’d still love 99 cent digital comics. If they continued to have zero adds and were stripped of DRM, I might even be cool with a higher price. Until then, I’m sticking with my 15% discount at my LCS (and a $5 per month Marvel Unlimited subscription).

    • yeah i agree. At some point the retailers need to unclinch and realize digital comics have different customers who are not the enemy. Yes i stopped buying print comics and switched to digital, but if it wasn’t for that, i would have been out of comics completely. Now i’m the guy who stops by once a month or two to get trades and stuff. I’m just a different LCS customer now and i think retailers would be smart to recognize the comic book customer is evolving and having different needs. They might not be able to serve everyone and that’s ok.

    • I just got the Marvel Unlimited sub since it came out on iOS. Ever since I found out about it a year ago (still relatively new reader here), I was baffled as to why it was only for the desktop.

      In all truth, I would resort to pirating old issues to fill in the gaps on old runs that I am collecting or refuse to spend $500 to own. Then I just imported them onto my iPad via the comic app that I cannot recall the name of now. It is going to be a hell of a lot more convenient to just hit MU app and search for Marvel Two-in-One issue whatever than having to go to pirate bay and hoping someone is seeding, download it, connect to itunes, open the comic app, transfer it and then read it. I will gladly pay for convenience.

      I really hope that MU does to comics what Netflix did for movies.

    • I’d say your half right Ken, Personally I think we all need to except the fact that the traditional comic shop IS dead. Publishers have been supporting the LCS business model for years and by extension WE have been supporting them for years. Yes, its sad to say, and yes I’d love to have a local comic shop, but the fact of the matter is the industry as a whole can’t support it. Sure there are some markets, New York for example, that the LCS may never die but for the vast majority of cities its just no longer a viable business, its time we all stopped eating the cost of it.

      The sad truth of it is the only ones really willing to shoulder the costs to begin with are the die hard fans, that’s why we’re not seeing growth to reflect the millions super heroes are racking in at the box office. I hate to say it but if we don’t stop supporting LCS there wont even be a comic industry left to worry about.

  4. mguy77 mguy77 says:

    Ain’t no price low enough! Ain’t no way I’m doing it. DC & Marvel get your shit in gear & buy a real clue.

    Digital no, single issues yes, trades/ HCs yes.

    I preorder my comics to save money without the worry of a server crashing & poof no more access to a digital comic. I don’t get a refund on the money invested. Short of a fire, flood or act of the Almighty once I have a comic I can read & re-read a comic as much as I want. In addition to that I can resell that regular comic to another fan though Amazon, ebay, etc.

    • ilovecomics says:

      I agree with almost all of that but if comics were 99 cent digital i would go all digital probably. Right now i get mine through mail order at 2.00 or 3.00 dollars. Why would i pay the digital prices of 3.00 and 4.00 dollars?? I wont.

    • theWAC1 theWAC1 says:

      Figured Id join the paper club and say I LOVE PAPER COMICS. But I am into wasting .99 to read something different when I’m bored. Right now its only the free stuff. I just don’t really care for the experience, and I’m still a 10yr old kid at heart memorizing the wizard price guide, so paying for comics I don’t own and can’t keep is just not appealing to me yet. ESPECIALLY at $4. I’m starting to appreciate the digital side a little bit though, but full pop is just ridiculous.

  5. bugmanjon says:

    I have thought about this before and I wonder if we don’t all jump on these 99 cent sales not because they’re 99 cents but we are more hardwired to say “Holy cow 50%? I’m all over that!” If all the digital books were 99 cents then people may start saying “Hmm 99 cents is almost a dollar, I’ll wait till they have a 50 cent sale.”

    • Gabe Roth Gabe Roth (@gaberoth) says:

      I suppose that’s a possibility, but I think most adults are realists and understand that the company has to make money. People are reasonable, aren’t they?

  6. For me part of the price of digital comics is the convenience factor. Being able to download at work and have them by lunchtime is very awesome. Getting to a shop with 10-6 hours during the week with a full time job and responsibilities is almost impossible for me. Plus, i’m a reader not a collector. I don’t re-read 99% of the comics i have and if i think its classic, i’ll buy the trade or HC for the shelf. So for me i’m very much ok with “renting” my comics.

    That being said, i think 3.99 and sometimes 2.99 is too much for any comic book print or digital in my opinion. I’m speaking strictly from a consumer standpoint (i’m more than aware of page rates and publisher costs and things that we as consumers should not really be made to care about). At some point budgets come into play and there are tons of things i pass on, cause i feel its just irresponsible to blow up the budget on a new series or two (or 5)

    I think 1.99 is a great price point for a digital comic. I keep hearing on twitter from some pros that .99 is too little once you slice up the pie to Apple and the rest so we should be realistic. There is an argument that lower price points “devalue” the content. I don’t agree with that per say, but even if they did, I don’t see that as a negative. Its serialized fiction…i don’t see anything wrong with it being super cheap and accessible, especially when talking about something temporary like a digital comic.

    • At 1.99 I would be more tempted to hop into the digital, but really .99 is where it should be at. I would seriously spend twice the amount of money in the long run if books were cheaper, regardless of the format. The same goes with going to the movie theater.

  7. I would gladly pay 99 cents if they decided to quadruple the amount of ad’s in digital comics, just as long as they were 99 cents. I just refuse to pay 3.99 for a digital copy :/

    • Gabe Roth Gabe Roth (@gaberoth) says:

      I’m not sure I want a quadruple ad situation. But yes, throw in a couple of ads and I’d be fine with that if the comics were cheaper. If you can grow the number of people downloading he books and tell advertisers that people are downloading by the thousands, then you can sell ads at premium. Pretty simple economics.

  8. bub64882 bub64882 says:

    I stopped reading at .99 cents. A thousand times YES! There is absolutely no question at all, I would be spending a lot more money on comics if the pricetag were low. I’ve seen it in practice…I skip the Marvel book I’m tempted to try, and I go buy 5 .99 cent back issues instead. I know the math doesn’t work out, but that’s how I’m wired.

    PS, Digital is my preferred format, despite recent Comixology hiccups. The idea of having a cloud based collection, basically Steam for comics, is incredibly appealing since I work from 4 or 5 different devices and OS’s every day, and change laptops like other people change socks.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      Re: the idea that a lower price point will cause a reader to spend more money in total.

      I’ve been thinking about this, and I don’t think I would spend more on comics if they were 99 cents, but I know I certainly wouldn’t spend less. So in the end, a lower price point would enable me to buy more comics and kind of “spread the wealth” around the industry.

      I’d be more likely to take chances on lesser known properties, publishers and creators. Which to me sounds like a great way to increase the overall health of the industry.

      Case in point: I saw a single promo image for Higher Earth from Monkeybrain Comics. I found out it was only 99 cents. I bought it immediately. All in less than 5 minutes. And as it turns out, it’s a really solid crime book that I’m enjoying a lot!

    • yeah at a certain point we all have time/attention budgets as well. You can only read so many comics in a given week before you want to do something else.

    • the more i think about it, the more i think the publishers realize that as well. Even if books were 25 cents i wouldn’t be able to find the time to read 2x or 3 x the comics i’m reading now.

      I think there is a happy medium. At 1.99 i could definitely try more things and not kill my budget. I think it comes down to whether or not publishers are happy with making all their money on a handful of titles and having the bulk of their catalog hanging around the chopping block. or having more titles with a larger audience.

  9. pyynk pyynk says:

    With the amount of traffic Marvel experienced in their digital comics giveaway, I agree that demand is definitely there and I concur that pricing is definitely one of the major factors keeping people away from digital. That said, I know for me price isn’t my primary issue. I’d likely be okay with the current price point on digital, if only because as a fellow long time collector, space for my collection is starting to get tight. Digital would make cutting my collection down much less of a priority.

    I’ve got just one problem, the same problem I had when mp3s first came out. I need a portable way to access the media. Sure, I listen to music at my desk, but I prefer to listen to music when I’m out doing stuff. Similarly, I guess I *could* read comics at my desk, but I work there. I’m much more likely to read digitally in the places where I read traditional books — anywhere but my desk.

    • iPad or Google powered Tablet? They really are pretty awesome for comics. I won’t even try on a desktop or phone.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      Yeah, back in… a dark period I’m now spending a lot of disposable income to atone for… I read comics on my laptop. I got used to it, but it was not ideal.

      Reading digital comics on my iPad is fantastic. Sure, you can’t read outside in brilliant sunshine, but really… all that UV isn’t good for your skin anyway.

    • i read outside at lunch all the time. You just bump up the brightness and find a shady spot. Its not 100% but pretty good.

    • pyynk pyynk says:

      So, question to the both of you then. Would a 7″ tablet be worth it to read comics on or is the 10″ iPad the ideal size? The complaint I most hear from creators is what digital does to double page spreads. I can only imagine what it would look like on a 7″ tablet.

    • Neb Neb says:

      I’ve read some comics on my Kindle Fire, which is a 7″ screen. It’s pretty small for a comic book page, especially ones like Hawkeye that have a ton of panels. You can use the panel to panel feature, but I have always found that awkward.

      10″ tablets are ideal because the original comic is basically formatted for that size.

    • pyynk pyynk says:

      @Neb Yikes! That’s what I was afraid of. Thanks man!

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      @pyynk: I’ve never used anything other than my 1st gen, full-sized iPad, but it feels about right for comics. I can’t imagine preferring to read comics on anything smaller.

    • i rock the 1st gen iPad as well (have a 2 at home also) and both work great. I don’t have to zoom in very often to read an average word balloon.I think the screen is a tad smaller than a comic page. I’ve heard quite a few complain about how the Kindle Fire is too small for comics after jumping on it cause of the friendly price point.

    • my only experience with Tablets other than iPads is that everyone i know who’s bought one eventually starts to complain about them. hahaha

    • icn1983 icn1983 says:

      I’ve read comics on an iPhone, Nook, and iPad. The iPhone is obviously too small, even the Nook feels a bit cramped (and the interface BLOWS), but the iPad makes the whole endeavor feel almost like a completely different, new, and better experience. I would say that 10″ is about the right size, but if you don’t feel like spending the money for a new iPad, check out some of their refurbished models or see if maybe there’s an Android tablet you’d prefer (they tend to be a little cheaper). While the price doesn’t necessarily put me off, I certainly don’t read comics nearly as often as I used to since I can just wait either until I’m ready to get all the back issues of a particular series. I do also still buy paper comics because you can share them with friends, donate them to thrift stores when you’re done, or leave them in the bathroom for guests.

    • pyynk pyynk says:

      I’m not completely sure I’m ready to dive in to digital, but I’ve definitely got a lot more information. Thanks everyone!

    • J-Nel J-Nel says:

      Count me surprised (and disappointed with the subsequent mess), the Marvel give-away very much exposed that there is massive interest from “Regular People” to jump into comics if the right price and platform are available. And I was downright shocked that a lot of the Marvel NOW! books were part of the give-away which really sweetened the deal for these bastions of new readers…

      But man, when I explained to some folks in my office and my circle of non-comic reading friends (both those who were able to get in on the deal and those who wanted to but were unfortunately locked out) that these books regularly go for $3 or $4 a pop they were floored…

      It was the kind of confusion and “Really? Seriously?”s I usually get when I explain something like the direct market or variant covers (kind of a “Geez, you comic fans really suffer for what you love…” sentiment). Honestly, if “Regular People” view $3 or $4 as this backwards and unappealing there’s a problem…

  10. IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

    Recently I walked into a comic shop different from the one I usually frequent; I bought a trade (very rare, but it was Atomic Robo vol.1 which is hard to find in my experiance) and 6 $1 issues. Whenever I see a deal for old comics thats $1-$0.25 I jump on it and serch compulsively for any issues I’ve been hunting for. A couple years ago I saw the deal DC had for 200 Batman issues at $1.99 each and passed. Part of it was payment method, part of it was the selection, but I typically only care about hunting for books if theres a chance I might not get another oppurtunity to hunt for books I’ve been looking for, for ages (80s Flash, 90s Silver Surfer, Sandman Mystery Thearter). So I guess I do care about price, but theres other factors that go into it. It would take alot more than .99 books to get me to convert 100% to digital tho, even if I save tons of money.

  11. jimbojones06 says:

    My problem is that with something like Comixology, you aren’t buying the comic. You’re buying the ability to read it. When Comixology, or JManga, or whatever, goes belly-up, all of those comics you “bought” will be gone.

    I would pay $2.99 for Daredevil or Hawkeye or $3.99 for Batman, IF that copy was mine, DRM free, forever.

    • pyynk pyynk says:

      As someone who played City of Heroes, I can’t blame you. I’d *love* to see something like the Amazon Marketplace launch for comics.

    • Yeah it’s at the point where Comixology is literally almost a monopoly. They need to make an open source digital comics format sooner or later that can accept multiple layers of imagery and audio etc.

      It would be great to be able to see just the pencils, just the colors, the images without the lettering or an audio commentary by the creative teams on issues talking about the pages. Comics companies are way way way behind on this and just BARELY scratching the surface of digital comics with infinite comics and whatever.

    • pyynk pyynk says:

      @ResurrectionFlan Wow, that *would* be nice. The Joe Kubert anthology that DC did with Kubert’s rough pencils reminded me of how nice something like that would be.

  12. I will literally buy almost any old crap comic if it’s on sale at ¢99 on the digital stores. I have swooped for a lot of old issues I have always been curious about. PLUS you can snag Dark Knight Returns, Red Son, Year One, Long Bow Hunters, Whatever Happened to the Man From Tomorrow etc. and I got each of them as issues for $99.

    I would try a bunch more comics at that price point. 3.99 for a digital comic is too much though. Even $1.99 for new issues and then 99 cents later would be okay.

    Also they should include digital download codes in the $2.99 print comics and trades in my opinion.

    • Reminds me of the time before iTunes figured out how to go “album only” sales and I got Biches Brew for $6 bucks instead of $15 by buying it as individual tracks!

  13. stevetwo stevetwo says:

    Unfortunately, when we talk digital comics, when anyone does, we never hear about a certain aspect of this product. But Gabe’s column made realize what that is.

    Sure, we love or hate digital. Sure we will or won’t pay .99 or 3.99 or whatever. We like that it doesn’t take up space or we can’t hold it in our hands. We we we. Oh we’re a selfish bunch.

    Has anyone thought about having the ability to buy a digital comic, and then, like a Hallmark e-card, GIVE it to someone? Can you imagine how many more potential readers you could recruit if you, me, any comic reader, thought a non-comic friend might enjoy a particular story – even if they won’t read comics in general – just to experience this gift? Not everyone is a candidate, but man, at .99 a pop I’d buy 10 or 20 digital issues and email them to a lot of people on Free Comic Book Day.

    Long before digital came along, I’ve often thought about sending copies of Astro City 1/2 and the ASM issue with “The Boy Who Loved Spider-man” to anyone and everyone just so they see how absolutely freakin’ wonderful sequential art is. I KNOW people who would love them. Can I find enough of those copies out there? No. If I had digital copies I could do this with? (blue sky here folks, don’t care about # copies per copy etc. details right now) A thousand times yes!

  14. JKExar JKExar says:

    I wait for the DC issues to drop a dollar after their initial release to save money, but aside from the books I love from DC I buy everything digital. Marvel on the other hand has no love or mercy for prices online so while I like to read digital better then paper

    (Face it, it’s easier and you’re carrying all your books with you at all times so you don’t just have to wait till the crapper to read. Especially if you’re a collector and like your books pristine unread it works out too.)

    I buy the Marvel books and use the free digital download feature. But 3.99 for a brand new digital issue is really steep. I think back issues that are 20 plus years old that Marvel has already made their money on (And these things are STILL selling.) should be .99. That would only make sense, they’ve made their money.

  15. J-Nel J-Nel says:

    Nice article, Gabe. As a “paper-to-the grave” hardened trade-waiter who has to get a few monthly fixes, I’ve pondered getting a tablet and doing away with my cycle of getting those very few singles, selling the lots on ebay, and buying the trade or hardcover but paying even 2.99 for a digital single would make me feel like a sucker if only because I know that there are no printing costs.

    With a default price of .99 I’d most definitely make the digital jump and be reading all of my “tried, true, 2 trades a year series” monthly (and inevitably double-dipping on quite a few of them). Like Ron said over a year ago, the publishers are still treating digital like it’s a supplemental revenue boon, they’re not being smart about it (yet)…

  16. canadianD canadianD says:

    I’m interested to see what the Unlimited Comics is like for DC.I heard that the Marvel one had mostly older issues and while i don’t mind reading old issues, i’d like to be able read some newer issues.

    • filippod filippod (@filippodee) says:

      Marvel Unlimited is on average one year behind the current issues. While marred by the occasional hole, all in all it is a good service.

      I remember Marvel doing a survey asking how much people would pay for a current issues unlimited subscription service. It is pretty clear that such a service couldn’t possibly cost less than USD 50 per month (but probably much more than that).

  17. flapjaxx flapjaxx says:

    How many times do articles like this one need to be written before people realize that their “magic price” is not compatible with reality?

    There’s no way to sell comics at pre-1990 prices when: a) comics are selling far less than they used to, b) creators make much more money than they used to, and c) the U.S. Dollar doesn’t have anywhere near the purchasing power it did 25 years ago.

    In other words, new Big Two digital comics at a line-wide price-point of 99 cents is a pointless pipe dream. Period.

    Digital is NOT significantly cheaper to produce than paper. Not when in-between companies like comiXology and Apple are taking their share, just as Diamond and the LCS’s take theirs.

    The price of paper itself is not SO high as to make a big difference. If it was, then why does Marvel often give big issues like Point One #1 and Fraction’s Defenders #1 out to LCS’s at 150% or 200% the ordered rate? And why does Marvel print up Sneak Peaks or Marvel Now! Previews for free, dropping off about a metric ton of them at my LCS every other week or so?

    You also have to factor in the cost of digital conversion, etc.

    Unless you’re going to get poor exploited workers from southeast Asia to do all of the work for you, and create the actual comics, then there’s no way to sell them for 99 cents a piece, not even digitally. Maybe some independent creators–heroically starving artists who I truly admire–are willing to work for those prices, but guys who work at Marvel work there for a reason: Because it actually pays a living wage.

    I know the inevitable comeback: That if they would just lower the digital prices, then they WOULD attract a new, larger audience that would make the 99-cent model financially workable. But… they HAVE tried this. They DO try this. They sell 99-cent comics all the time. They do discounts. They give out free #1 issues. They give free digital copies in almost all their printed books, to try to hook people. And still the audience doesn’t expand to the point there 99-cents per normal new-comic download would be remotely feasible.

    But there’s still this outcry for 99-cent comics, as if it were a make-or-break issue.

    Well… y’know… when a product line can’t be produced for a price that makes sense to the would-be consumers, that means the product line will slowly die, sorry. That’s what you’re saying when you insist on a 99-cent price point. Saying you’d buy more comics if they were less expensive is like saying “Heck, I’d go for more joyrides in my car on the weekend if gas was 99 cents a gallon again!” In other words, it’s a completely pointless demand.

    On the other hand, the last year and a half of LCS sales growth has shown us that people actually have no problem spending $3-$4 on PRINTED comics. But if anything more than 99 cents is “too much” for the digital version, that kinda proves a lot of luddites right when they say that digital is basically inferior to print in a lot of ways. It speaks volumes that the biggest FANS of digital are basically saying “The only way I’ll use this service is if I can pay next to nothing for it.”

    • angelmav says:

      Your entire premise is wrong. They are not selling a paper comic at that price point. The entire manufacture of a digital comic has costs that are differeny than a paper comic. Guess what, Digital formats for everything else are less than pre-1990′s pricing. Look what CD’s were going for then versus getting the same thing on Itunes for a buck a song. Look at how much VHS movies cost when they first came out, DVD, Blue Ray, heck the prices of the computer your reading this on are far less than they were in 1990.

  18. ScottE ScottE says:

    It is really hard for me to justify paying 3.99 for a single issue of a comic when I can get a hour long TV show for 1.99 or 2.99.

    I also don’t see why the publishers can’t get together and make a netflix/spotify like service and app that allows you to pay 10 dollars a month or so and have access to most comics that are like 8 years and older.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      Marvel Unlimited is the Netflix/Spotify service you describe. I used it to read a bunch of Fraction/Aja’s Iron Fist this weekend and (now that I’ve learned to deal with the app’s shortcomings) it was awesome and well worth the subscription price.

      I don’t know if the deal is still running, but I paid $60 for a year. CHEAP!

  19. alanfrancis alanfrancis says:

    I would definitely buy digital comics cheaper. I never buy them full price, if I decide to do that, then I go to my LCS.

    I am always constantly looking at the sales for digital. I love the half price omnibus they sell online. I just wish the sale was a bit longer than a weekend or even a day. I hate when I find out about these sales it too late to buy, especially if you live on the West Coast.

    I want to buy Marvel books, because that 700 free books they gave out made me interested in a few stories, but I cannot justify spending $3.99 for a digital book. I can wait.

  20. A few months ago I did go completely digital, bought a tablet. I was happy as a clam reading digital with the convenience and all that. But a few weeks ago I came to my senses and wondered to my self “why the heck am I paying 3 to 4 bucks for a digital comic?” Now I’m back to paper mostly. I get the 99 cent Injustice Gods Among Us weekly comic, and I definitely do hop onboard at times those 99 cent sales on Comixology. I might get the odd new release at 2.99 but definitely 3.99 is way too much for a digital copy. So saying all that… 90% of my new comic purchases are floppies.

    Comixology definitely has to change their pricing strategy and loosen the whole “file ownership” thing — which of course is a whole other discussion.

  21. Albatorak says:

    I buy Paper only, all my Digital comics are FREE (Redeem program or just Free to all)…

    I get 25% discount from my LCS + Free Bags/Boards + Free delivery for each slice of $100.00 purchase. Why would I want to pay more for a Digital copy? We cannot move them and save them on portable hard-drives, SD or MicroSD cards or burn them on DVD. They are tied to the apps on the devices, or available online, that’s it.

    For Digital to be worth considering it would have to be $1.49 for new issues and $0.99 after a year (for publishers releasing new material every month)… And they should offer an ‘Unlimited’ type of service for anything older than 4 years, something like MARVEL UNLIMITED.

    So if you are Canadian and looking for a way to save don’t go with Digital, go visit my friends at eXpertComics_com and tell them Albatorak sent you.