Robot 6

Walking Dead moves to simultaneous print and digital release schedule

Walking Dead #77

Walking Dead #77

With The Walking Dead television series debuting next month, Image Comics is aiming to get the comic series in front of as many people as possible — which includes releasing the series digitally at the same time it arrives in comic stores.

iFanboy points out that this past Wednesday Walking Dead #77 not only arrived in comic shops, but also hit the Image Comics and comiXology iPad applications. It’s priced at $2.99, the same as a physical copy; previous issues have been priced at $1.99.

Image publisher Eric Stephenson spoke with ComicsAlliance about it, noting that it isn’t a one-time thing:

“In terms of scheduling, the digital version of the series has caught up to print version, so it makes sense to release both simultaneously,” Stephenson told ComicsAlliance. “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.”

Publishers have slowly been dipping their toes into the water when it comes to simultaneous digital and print releases. DC Comics has been releasing the bi-weekly Justice League Generation Lost that way for awhile now, while Marvel released Invincible Iron Man Annual #1 in shops and digitally on the same day earlier this year — although at a higher price than the print copy.

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6 Comments

Simultaneous print and digital release dates for a major comic title, alright we’re getting there. Now we need to work on that price point. There is no reason a digital version of a product should be the same price as the physical version. If there aren’t any printing or distribution costs associated with the product, I’d expect the savings to be passed onto the consumer.

Awesome.

Though my comic retailer might not feel that way when I drop the print comic like a hot potato.

Whoizzat–the reason, or “reason” if you prefer, that digital comics released the same day as print comics cost as much as or more than the print version right now is, again depending on how charitable you want to be about it, to mollify, or to preserve the existence of, the Direct Market. (See Chad’s comment!) I’ve got a lot of complaints about the DM, but it really is vital infrastructure for this industry, and any transition to an alternate distribution and sales mechanism has to be approached with that in mind. Not with that as the ONLY thing in mind, maybe not even the FOREMOST thing in mind, but with that in mind.

I think the DM has a hard road ahead of it, as the superhero comics that are their bread and butter just don’t suffer that much from a transition to the iPad. If everything from the big two was day and date today, that’s the only way I’d buy my “mainstream” comics, though I would certainly buy a TPB of anything I wanted to re-read a lot, especially if it had some worthy extras.

Beautiful objects like the latest issue of THB on the other hand, I still covet like Gollum lusting after the ring.

I think they should have waited until the New Year for this.

Why? in the New Year, the UK will be getting their new comics on Wednesdays? until then this digital release will be out A DAY BEFORE it hits UK shelves, and could hurt UK retail sales.

Part of the reason why the digital comics are the same price as the print versions is that digital comics contain no ads. So while the digital comics cost less to distribute than print versions, they also generate less revenue per copy even at the same price point. Personally, I’d rather see the ad pages and just pay a lower cost. I don’t mind ads in comics. Been flipping past them my entire life!

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