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ComiXology has confirmed it accidentally allowed a few users to purchase Justice League #1 on Monday and Tuesday, before the issue’s print or digital release. However, it appears the digital edition was not the source of pirated copies uploaded online as much as six hours before the official launch of DC Comics’ new flagship title.
While some commenters at Robot 6 and elsewhere on Tuesday pointed a finger at comiXology, Bleeding Cool conducted a side-by-side comparison of the digital edition and the pirated copy, and concluded that the source of the bootleg was the print version, which was slightly different from the digital release. ComiXology CEO David Steinberger had no explanation for the variation between print and digital editions, but he did say users who bought the comic Wednesday will be offered an update today to make the digital match the print copy. (If there were a way to re-sell digital comics, there would doubtless already be a robust market for the flawed early variant copy.)
Steinberger confirmed this morning to Robot 6 that three users purchased the comic early from comiXology, and that he had sent them the following e-mail:
This is David Steinberger, CEO of comiXology. We noticed you purchased Justice League #1 on our Web store, even though it’s not supposed to be out until Wednesday, so it revealed a problem bug on our web store. I should thank you for that, as well!
We spoke with DC and they’ve said you can keep the comic! It should be available via the web and through the DC Comics iOS app to read, and then available on all our apps as of Wednesday at about 2pm Eastern.
You can find the comic in My Comics. It will no longer be findable in the store itself.
Thanks for your patience! Enjoy the comic!
This is a significant change from the last time this happened, when comiXology locked copies of Ultimate Thor #2 that users had inadvertently bought a week before the official release date. “Together with DC we decided it was the right thing to do to let these users keep their copy,” Steinberger told Robot 6.
He also said the DC launch was a huge success for comiXology: “Huge print run, great excitement, and pushing both the Comics app and the DC app into the top 20 grossing iPad Apps — not just Book Apps, but ALL apps. That indicates the beginning of something great for expanding the comic market.”
And as for that pirated comic? It seems that publishers and retailers worried about digital should be taking a look at who gets to handle their print comics before release …