Walking Dead #77 Was Digital Day and Date

Fans of Walking Dead could have gone to the shop and bought the issue yesterday… OR they they could have downloaded the Image app on their iPhone or iPad, and purchased the digital version. It was the same price as the print version, at $2.99.  Presumably that was a move to keep retailers happy.  For one thing, Walking Dead makes a not-insignificant amount of money for all involved, including Kirkman, Image Comics, and Direct Market retailers.  While I would love to have a cheaper version of the book, there's a real advantage, for me at least, in just having it on my iPad.  They gave me the choice, and if they keep this up, I'll switch.

I've checked to see if this is a regular thing, a mixup, or an experiment, and if I hear anything back, I'll let you know.  But yesterday, Walking Dead #77 made a significant step towards giving consumers the choice many of us want.

UPDATE: Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson, told Comics Alliance that this is the way things are going to be:

"In terms of scheduling, the digital version of the series has caught up to print version, so it makes sense to release both simultaneously. With the debut of the AMC television series only weeks away at this point, our aim is to make 'The Walking Dead' as widely available as possible, in all formats, and I believe everyone involved will ultimately find this beneficial."

 

Comments

  1. campbell campbell says:

    As you now work for a digital company maybe you can answer this, is it difficult to get same day releses for digital books as paper?

  2. stuclach stuclach says:

    Do we know if there is a way to get this that doesn’t involve either an iPad or iPhone?  I will buy it right now if there is.

    (I’m actually fine with the price being the same as the print version.  My incredibly destructive daughters ensure that I will prefer digital to print for the next few years.) 

  3. xrcst xrcst says:

    In my perfect world it will be a little cheaper than print copies, and there would either be a new PC app, or grapic.ly would have all the publishers and all comics would be day and date.  But I will settle for full price and all day and date and will buy an ipad for the express purpose of reading digital comics if I have to.

  4. Wolfdog Wolfdog says:

    I am interested.  I understand the same-as-print pricing in the fragile direct market business… and for something like Walking Dead that I would buy anyways I will pay it, but I would try more new books day&date if it was reduced.

  5. xebix xebix says:

    This is great news. Now all they need is an Android app and I’ll be ecstatic. 

  6. rjspring rjspring says:

    It is also the only series I’ve found that offers the trades digitally for an even lower price than per issue.  Looks like they are really on the bleeding edge, very cool and I hope it works out for them.

  7. origamikid origamikid says:

    To my knowledge it is staying this way, Kirkman and his editor (i forget her name) have said on numerous occasion through both the letters coloumn in the monthly issues and interviews that they had been planning on moving TWD onto digital for the same price/ same release for a while now.

     I assume also that as Kirkman is exclusive to Comixology, they would want as much of his stuff going online as possible! 

  8. I never truely cared about day and date until i moved to a smaller city, where these small comic shops get delayed shipments and have books that I want missing from their diamond orders on an almost regular basis. 

    Getting my books one and two weeks late is annoying! 

  9. zayaz zayaz says:

    I’ve never cared for digital comics and still don’t, but I find it ludicrous that they want to charge same as print prices.

  10. charlesp1138 charlesp1138 says:

    Zayaz – As someone who’s paid for professionally done comic books to be produced, I assure you, the PRINTING prices are the tiniest part of the big picture.

  11. xrcst xrcst says:

    @charlesp1138 but thats what they have been saying is the reason for the cost increase of issues for years "the cost of printing comics have gone up  disproportionately  blah blah.. so we will increase the issue price now."

    The fact it it costs less to digitally distribute an item than it does to get the raw materials, print, and then ship them. It may not be 2 dollars cheaper, but it is at least a little bit cheaper I am sure.

  12. Rob3E Rob3E says:

    That’s progress. I don’t know if it’s enough progress, but it’s something.  I would find same-as-print pricing easier to agree to if the format was more open.  You say you can get it on the Image app.  Does that mean it’s not yet on the generic Comixology app?  Can it be read on a desktop?  If Comixology closes up shop, do my comics evaporate?  I’m very interested in digital comics, but there still seems to be some serious limitations, mainly that you can only view your files where they decide to offer a viewer, and theoretically they could close up shop and leave you with nothing.  It feels more like a long-term rental than actually buying a comic.  Now if they want to rent me a digital comic, I could see doing that for some titles and not minding a bit, but not if I’m paying the same I would for ownership.  I’m also bothered by the fact that there seems to be several front ends to the Comixology app, and I get the impression that there is no one app that has all the content (although maybe I’m understanding that wrong).  At home I can keep five different publishers’s runs of Groo the Wander in one stack, but it sounds like that wouldn’t work digitally.

    But simultaneous digital and print release really is progress, so kudos to Image for taking the plunge.  But I remain feeling like the comic industry has it in their power to provide a better quality product than what’s available for free on-line, but they continue to offer a hobbled product for a price comparable to their unrestricted print version.

  13. RaceMcCloud RaceMcCloud says:

    I will only go back to weeklies if they go digital… but I don’t see myself buying trades I want to keep for a long time in any format but paper.  Digital weekly comics would be enough to convince me to buy an iPad, as I would prefer to read them on that device than any other.  Plus, I’d like to have an iPad.

    The big thing for me (and a lot of fans) is storage.  Storing and sorting weeklies is a pain in the you-know-what, and I’m not a diehard, hardcore collector who would ever stack longboxes on top of longboxes in my home or rent out storage space for comic books.  When I was doing weeklies, once every few months I would clear out the big plastic bins under my bed and put a huge box of comics out on the stoop, which would inevitably be gone within the hour.

    Actually, now that I think of it, I really like paying it forward like that.  Digital comics would preclude that… or at least, if I did the same thing with digital comics, it would be considered piracy.

    Either way, I’m not going back to weeklies unless it’s a digital format. 

  14. batman batman says:

    @Rob3E go to https://comics.comixology.com There, you will find access to all the titles released by comiXology, including TWD #77. So, you don’t have to have an iPhone or iPad to join in the fun. Furthermore, the titles you purchase online or in app transfer between devices. So, if you do read something online, then you can also read it on your mobile device. Enjoy! I love comiXology’s service and read from their releases almost daily.

  15. stuclach stuclach says:

    Batman to the rescue. Thanks man.

  16. Rob3E Rob3E says:

    @batman, Thanks for the info.  I have comixology on my iPod Touch.  I was just under the impression that if you bought a comic through, for instance, the Marvel app, it might not always be available in the generic Comixology app.  I also had the impression that some comics were available in the iOS app, but not available for viewing on-line.  Perhaps I had all of that wrong, which would be good.

    It does not remove all of my reservations about Comixology’s way of handling digital comics, but it does help. 

  17. it seems that if the big 2 had any real desire to push digital day and date they could do so very easily with an iTunes like price point and massive offerings. They remind me of American auto makers who would put out one half-arsed econo car that no one wanted for every 10 luxury SUV’s and saying that there was no marke for econo vehicles (aka the product with a lower profit margin). They finally started putting effort into it when the market forced them to change (stopped buying the SUV’s in large numbers). 

    I guess my point is that i don’t see the big 2 doing a real concerted day and date program until comic shops start closing and people stop having massive print pull lists.  

    @xrcst and @charlesp1138—-i have a pretty good amount of experience with print production and brokering printing jobs, and i can say with great confidence that big publishers like Marvel and DC can get pretty cheap printing deals considering the volume and very low quality of materials and print/bind process they use for their floppies, trades and HC’s……although they do print a large amount of their books here in North America which was shocking to me. I mean that right there is what could drive the price up.   

  18. Wasn’t one of the big points with people for digital comics is that it COULD be a lot cheaper then actual printed prices?

    Why bother getting digital if I could just get the same, physical copy for the same price?

  19. RocketRacoon RocketRacoon says:

    This is great news. For anyone on the fence reading comics on the iPad is great. It really is am engaging experience.

    Also, comixology has the first two Invincible trades available.

  20. zayaz zayaz says:

    @charlesp1138 Not sure what you mean.

    I would only read digital if it’s free, so I can try out new series and then get them in print. Definitely not paying for digital.

  21. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @TNC: Why bother? If you don’t want the physical comics anymore. As many of us don’t.

  22. batman batman says:

    Personally, I like being able to read issues digitally, and then if I really want a hard copy of something, I’ll get the trade. And, the digital cost does not bother me as I am already buying single issues and trades. Single issues take up so much space in my apartment…I mean, batcave. Going digitally is a great idea. Hopefully, more companies will move to same-day digital releases. It’s up to us to show them that doing so is a good idea. That’s why I’m gonna get TWD #77 digitally on comics.comiXology.com

  23. daccampo daccampo says:

    @Conor – Exactly, brother. Heh. And: I bet if we did an informal poll, those of us who have thought "I don’t want a physical copy anymore" would be largely the same as those of us who have 20+ longboxes on our houses, garages, storage units, etc. ;) We know the real cost of physical ownership over time.

  24. xrcst xrcst says:

    @TNC its not an either or argument. For the people that want hard copies, buy them and for those of us that really just want to read the stories, we would like digital.

     

    I really wish the digital format would be the way the torrenters do it. here’s my file named X-men 1 I can then even have the fun of organizing all my file names in file folders :)

  25. moving makes you really understand how much of a pain in the butt comic books are and become an advocate for day and date digital. My back still hates me from my last move. 

    Plus digital comics can help your marriage because your wife will get off your case about taking up all the closets and paying for storage units for your hobby. =) i can’t wait! Now if i can just get her to like football…… 

  26. AmirCat AmirCat says:

    @charlesp1138 – I actually saw your post. What are the cheapest places to print comics? I have been looking at ka-blam, and they seem to be the cheapest, but a color issue will still run a regular person around 3 bucks. Any suggestions? I know I know … this is off topic … :(

  27. batman batman says:

    too many longboxes taking up space in my cave. the wife likes my move to digital.

  28. s1lentslayer s1lentslayer says:

    If they were just a dollar cheaper for day and date digital releases I would switch immediately.

  29. rjspring rjspring says:
    Comixology has a corner on the market at the moment with the amount of publishers on board with them.  They are also the exclusive digital distributor for DC, so even if the rest of the companies jumped ship I don’t see them closing up shop anytime soon.
     
    True that Marvel bought comics via their app don’t all transfer into comixology, but many do and the library continues to grow so the moral of the story there is to buy all through the marvel app and if you want to read them in the comixology app wait for them to transfer (I guess comixology has to take each one and customize it to work in with their panel reading technology).
     
    Agreed that the price needs to come down or at least match what the issue/TPB price is when the TPBs are released, but still having a lower price point than what the monthly issues are (at least one ones that sell for more than $1.99) make it marketable to the issue collectors.
     
    Lastly, they need to get on an Android flavor of the app to service that growing market segment. 
  30. @conor/daccampo/xrcst: No I get why people want digital. But don’t you want to play less? To be honest I can’t think of anything (right now) that would make digital prices this high. $1.99 maybe, but not $2.99

  31. cormano cormano says:

    Get it on a desktop app for $1.50 or less and I’m there.

    (I know this is asking pretty much, but I’m just being honest here.) 

  32. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @TNC: Sure, I *want* to pay less, but I will also pay the same for the format I want (digital) rather than the format I don’t want (single issues).

  33. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    Where I live, spaced saved is actually worth more money than I would gain by making it a dollar less.

    Also, the older issues are $2.  If you want to pay less, like almost anything, just wait.  Works for movies, videogames, a lot of comics, clothing, etc. Why shouldn’t it work for comics?

  34. stuclach stuclach says:

    @TNC – Demand is not about what you want to pay it is about what you are willing to pay.  I want every book on the market for free, but I’m willing to pay $2.99 (or more depending on the book) to get a digital copy.  If someone isn’t willing to pay that price they won’t buy it.  If enough people don’t buy it, the price will fall or the product will cease to exist.

    If you don’t think the price if fair, don’t buy it.  If you don’t like digital comics, don’t buy them.  I don’t care how you read the book as long as you enjoy it.

  35. @conor/stuclach: I just thought one of the pros of digital comics was that the prices were going to be lower. But I’m just noticing on this thread, most are fine with paying physical copy prices.

  36. stuclach stuclach says:

    @TNC – That probably is a motivator for some people.  Different strokes for different folks.

  37. MisterJ says:

    @TNC-That was one of the possible pros for digital comics.  There was never any guarantee given by the companies that they would be lower.  Maybe they will still go lower as stuclach explained.  Remember that these companies are trying to get as much $ from us as they can, so why not send out a test balloon high and go low, as opposed to incrementally raising the prices?

    I think that the general acceptance is along the lines of ‘don’t throw out the good at the expense of the perfect’

  38. Preacher Preacher says:

    I will and do pay $3 or more for comics……..

    COMICS….On paper.

     

    However, I refuse to pay that price for something that I can get with absolutely no effort for free.  And I could care less about the legalities of it and don’t think "morals" come into any play with such a thing.

  39. cormano cormano says:

    I will eventually buy the issue again in omnibus form, if they got some kind of deal to save on the eventual collection, as was talked about with Longbox when it was first announced, I would be willing to pay slightly more for the digital version.

    If I only read The Walking Dead in issues, I probably wouldn’t second guess a $3 digital copy as much, but the single issues basically represent a preview for me.  I would be willing to pay a small fee to read the chapters early, but there’s no way I’m going to pay more for them than I will for the eventual collection. 

  40. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @Preacher: Morals don’t come into play when you steal? Fascinating.

  41. MisterJ says:

    @Conor-Well, it is a lot easier to not feel guilty about something if you deny it’s presence…

  42. LostArtist LostArtist says:

    I’ve never understood how digital comics could be cheaper, besides that it’s a marketing promotional campaign to make digital comics seem more successful than they really are. You are still paying the writer/artist/editor/staff/etc. . . of the comic to do their job, and then paying another digital artist to program the comic into the viewer/s, and more marketing people to advertise the comic that has no shelf space. So now that there’s more people involved it’s supposed to be cheaper?  and there is storage space on servers that’s not free for the distribution company (graphic.ly, comixology, etc. . .) and those distribution companies still have their staff you pay for, right now companies are paying for both, the paper and the digital, are digital prices high enough to cover themselves or are they being subsidized by traditional profits?  are there some stats that break down the cost of a comic book? how much of that is the cost of paper?  a buck maybe? 

    right now for me, reading comics digitally isn’t a satisfying experience.  

  43. ghettojourno ghettojourno says:

    @conor In some cases, people who read nonofficial online comics buy the ones they like in trade. While it doesn’t make the act any less illegal, it does make the moral highground shaky.

  44. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @ghettojourno: No it doesn’t.

  45. @lostartist–I think the costs even out between printing and digital. You eliminate one job/process you create another. You oversimplified the entire print process though. There is pre-press (job) paper (giant rolls) press time/printing and ink, binding, packaging, shipping. (jobs)

    All those costs for digital you listed are real as well….but i think the costs even out a bit. If anything digital seems cheaper since there are no shipping costs involved. 

    The discussion on torrents likes to sneak into the room and its a tricky one….my personal philosophy on it is that when you torrent you are casting a vote for that (new) thing you are downloading to go away since you are consuming the product while contributing nothing to sales numbers…which is what decides the fate of a product. You don’t walk into a restaurant, order dinner and then decide whether or not you feel like paying for it. 

  46. Dumeer Dumeer says:

    Its interesting to see Kirkman jumping into the deep end.  I have no idea what the costs are to go digital, but the first thing that came to mind was that digital comics might go down smoother with readers if they prevented price increases.  Kirkman never hiked up his cover price and he probably still makes more than most.  If other publishers dropped their singles back to $2.99 and did same day releases for digital comics I’d be interested to see how everything would shake out.  There’s an obvious demand for lower prices and digital comics, why not kill two birds?  Assuming there’s a chance it could work.

  47. RaceMcCloud RaceMcCloud says:

    @Preacher – Whatever it is you do for a living, I bet you’d hate it if somebody tried to get it out of you for free without telling you.  Piracy is theft is a crime is immoral and wrong.

  48. So basically the publisher saves a lot of money by not actually having to "produce", "package", and "distribute" the comic and they sell it to us for the same amount. If this is the digital comics revolution, I don’t need it. 

  49. MisterJ says:

    No, they still have to ‘produce’, it is just in electronic form and not paper.  Only the medium has changed.

    Further, they still have to ‘package’ as well, as there is still marketing that must be done.  I would even argue that ‘packaging’ actually costs more now, because they are ‘packaging’ in two different kinds of media (print and electronic).  This extra cost is increased further by the fact that they are opening up a new market and do not have an efficient system in place yet.

    The only aspect that you list that has been cut out is the ‘distribution’ and that only goes so far as actual shipping costs.

  50. We’ve discussed the piracy issue in many threads here.

    Following RaceMcCloud’s logic we come back to that thread about reading books without paying for them in a book store.

    The preachy dogma against piracy gets a bit tired and loses a lot of validity when it dips into the realms of hypocrisy.

    And just for the record, I’ve never read a pirated comic so I ain’t rationalizing anything out of guilt.

    A digital library of comics in an iTunes like program sounds very appealing to me.

  51. LostArtist LostArtist says:

    My problem with piracy is that it promotes the idea that "art" should be free.  that irks me. people spent a lot of time and money making this thing, comics or music or whatever and society in general believes that they do just cause they love it so they should want to share it and it shouldn’t matter to them to be compensated for it. 

    tangents are fun   

  52. xrcst xrcst says:

    I’ll admit I’ve torrented comics. usually download the 0-day torrents take my pull list separate out what I bought, save in file folder.  Maybe flip through some of the other titles that I wasn’t buying, delete the files of the issues I did not buy.  When I started I would read the floppy and throw the comic in the file cabinet.  It was nice to have file folders of comics. CBR files became so perfect for me that it got to the point that I would buy the single issues and wouldn’t even crack the issue, just come home and throw it in the file cabinet. I don’t want all this stuff in the apartment, so my next step was goign to be. Go in, buy comic, walk out of store, drop comics in trash, come home, download torrent, read.  Conscience satisfied, need to be current on stories satisfied, lack of clutter satisfied, in a format I like…satisfied.  Thats pretty much what prompted me to say "screw it, I’ll wait until they just go digital, and I can have 1 step to achieve what is currently taking me 5 steps. 

    In a perfect world theres a mechanism for me to buy those CBR files directly from the companies.

  53. My big problem with illegal downloading is it makes art disposable.

  54. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    What about the fact that it makes it much harder for creators to make a living because people aren’t paying them for the work they’re doing? Cuz that’s my big problem.

  55. No doubt.

    But as long as laws are not enforced you are not going to be able to shame the majority of people who illegally download into paying for product.

    People will take free stuff.

    And no matter how you spin it, stuff on the internet is free.

    The internet is also notorious in its lack of empathy.

  56. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    But if even a couple do, then I’ve done a good thing.

  57. xrcst xrcst says:

    @Josh aggreed. I liked what, I think it was Mckelvey  did… and put up a paypal link for those that downloaded it to pay him directly. But the honor system is not the way to go. At least I can sleep ok at night, knowing I paid for everything I downloaded and kept/read even if I might end up throwing the hard copies.

    So either there will be a PC solution for downloading comics (or graphic.ly gets better) or the new version of ipad comes out and then I will go all in to digital reading. In the meantime I will read a few trades, and rely on ifanboy to keep me abreast of whats going on in a week o week basis.  So sadly in THIS scenario… no creators are getting my money and I’ll be getting the gist of the storylines. But as a consumer I have to exercise my power on the market but voting with my wallet.

  58. Fo sho.

    Buy your comics people.