Buy WITCHBLADE #144 at Your Store, Get a Free Digital Copy

Today, via press release, Top Cow announced that when you buy a copy of Witchblade #144 at participating retailers, you'll receive a code to download a free digital copy from

The press release doesn't go into what format the digital copy would be [Update: In the comments, Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik seems to indicate that it will be a PDF.], and the book itself doesn't come out until early next year (this is about driving pre-orders), but this whole thing does bring up some interesting points.

First, as someone who is involved with a digital comic book company I can tell you that Top Cow is one of the more progressive publishers when it comes to digital comics initiatives and I'm not at all suprised to see them try something like this. Second, I hope more companies start trying this kind of thing because it makes total sense. Last week I bought Iron Man 2 on Blu-Ray. When I purchased that I also received a regular DVD version and a code to download the film digitally. Making your product available in multiple formats for one price in one package seems pretty smart to me in this day and age where people are passionate defenders of their media format of choice. Comics could learn a few things from the movie companies.

I know that everything that comics companies do in terms of digital comics is flitered through the same fear of piracy that every other media dealt with/is dealing with but offering free digital downloads with a paper copy purchase is an idea worth exploring.


  1. This is very cool, I’m glad top cow is exploring different options.  

    Unfortunately, digital comics right now are married to the iPad/iPod/iPhone devices (I’m sorry, you will never convince me to read comics on my computer screen vs a convenient portable device).

    Android devices are right around the corner as soon as tablets are released and apps are written – so it will be very interesting to re-evaluate the market next year as the Android tablets hit.

    Apps like Comixology, and others have started to establish themselves though there are still many questions (many posed on this site) regarding the longevity of exclusivity of the various options out there.

    I for one am very excited to see this digital distribution model continue to evolve and flourish.  When the market matures to the point I’m ready to dive in the deep end, I hope the masses out there will also jump on board and bring the comics industry back into the mainstream as it was in it’s glory days. 

  2. This is how this shit should be done!

  3. This is a no-brainer. Let me purchase my comic at the store, read it once, bag and board it and then have the digital copy for re-reading purposes or whatever. It’s a collector’s dream. This has to be the way things go because it’s a win-win for everyone involved, especially retailers who fear a digital comics revolution could put them out of biz. At 4 bucks a pop, I feel like I deserve a digital copy. It’s added value that really doesn’t cost the publishers much extra.

  4. @Earwigg:Digital copies don’t appear out of thin air. They cost money to prouce just like a paper copy.

  5. Howdy!

    Conor’s right, the digital copies do require an investment both on the part of the publisher and the digital distribution partner. We do think that this is a way to introduce readers to digital formats as well as reward long time collectors who support the print business and our retail partners who do the same.

    RJSpring – Just so you know, Wowio formated PDF files can be read on an iPad or iPhone using apps like Good Reader. I agree that right now digital reading is being driven by mobile and tablet devices.

    Take care, 

    Filip Sablik

    Publisher, Top Cow 

  6. @filipsablik

    Thanks for the info, I’ll have to also check them out as well.

  7. Ever since the digital comics discussion started, I’ve said that they should treat it like the Blu Ray/DVD industry. I know no one want to pay more for a comic but maybe charge an extra $1 and bundle a hard copy and digital copy together. I would love to read all my comics in a physical format and have the digital copies for quick reference or for on the go reading.

  8. Much like what Conor said about the DVD/Digital Copy being availalbe in a Blu-Ray, I do feel this is a way to get more people on board. Not that I’m a huge fan of the magazine, but People (I read it at the break room at work, what? Sue me that I care about which Kardashian is doing what this week) is now offering a free digital version for all paid subscribers. While a digital version still costs to produce, it’s now a lot easier for the consumer to see an "extra" value in the product they already purchase. I think this is a great move on Top Cow’s part and I hope others follow suit.

  9. @conor and @filipsablik  I wasn’t implying that there is no cost in setting up digital distrubution, but I would argue that, once the infrastructure is established, then shooting out PDF copies of already purchased hard copies isn’t all that expensive. Ultimately, I think the publishers really have no choice but to give the people what they want, as those who want both a digital and paper copy are going to find a way to get that digital copy illegally if there isn’t a legal and affordable way to do it.   

  10. Well , I am already reading all the Top Cow Un. books so this is great news to hear.  I really don’t have a problem reading comics on my phone or Computer Screen.

  11. I think this is the perfect solution to the digital conundrum, namely how do you protect the brick and mortar stores while making available your product digitally with (presumably) a digital day and date release.  By encouraging readers to purchase the physical product, Top Cow is ensuring that the brick and mortar stores are not cut out of the process entirely. 

    At the same time, Top Cow is making available a digital copy that will attract younger readers, early tech adopters, etc., which hopefully grows the comic industry over time.  The cost of the digital production costs should be more than covered by "digital only" sales, which again should be incremental to the physical sales.  

    A strength of this strategy is that long-time comic- readers, who are used to going to the comic shop every week, don’t have to change their behavior at all.  They can, at their option, continue to buy, read, bag and board the physical copies that they are familiar with, for no additional cost.   For those who choose to read (and store on their hard drive) the digital copy, that option is there too.  It’s a win-win-win for the consumer, retailer and publisher. 

  12. Oh, as a side note, I pledge to buy this issue, even though I don’t normally read Witchblade, because I want to support this kind of thinking.