Robot 6

DC and Marvel’s new digital releases available ahead of print editions [Updated]

Digital editions of this week’s DC Comics titles were available as early as last night on some platforms, hours before their traditional release — and before most brick-and-mortar stores open for New Comics Day.

Less than a week after the publisher announced it would offer its full line of periodicals across all major e-bookstore platforms, visitors last night to the Barnes & Noble Nook Store could access new issues of Batman, Batgirl, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Saucer Country, among others. A check early this morning showed the same availability on comiXology, Amazon’s Kindle Store and Apple’s iBookstore. We’ve verified the issues are downloadable and readable.

Previously, DC’s new comics debuted Wednesdays at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on comiXology, giving direct-market retailers a leg up on sales. We’re awaiting comment from DC to learn whether this signals an official change in its digital-release policy.

Meanwhile, a glance this morning at comiXology’s Same Day As Print page revealed some new issues from other publishers — notably, the debuts of Marvel’s All-New X-Men, Fantastic Four and Thor: God of Thunder, and Image’s Saga #7 and The Walking Dead #103 — are already on sale; the statuses of some titles changed from “Pre-Order” to “Buy Comic” even as this paragraph was being written. According to the comiXology blog, non-DC new releases previously went live “around 10 a.m.”

We’ve also reached out to Marvel for clarification. We’ll update as more information becomes available.

Update (6:52 a.m. PT): comiXology announced on Twitter, “Perhaps you’ve heard … but in case you didn’t … ALL of this week’s new comics are live!”

Update (7:31 a.m. PT): A Marvel spokesman told Robot 6 that comics went on sale at 8:35 a.m. ET (5:35 PT) due to “a minor technical error.” New releases typically go live Wednesdays between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. However, it should be noted that DC titles were available much earlier; I purchased Batman #14 from comiXology at 5:49 ET (2:49 PT).

Update (11:15 a.m. PT): A DC spokeswoman told Robot 6 that,” The digital comics release timing today was not a glitch. Our goal is to provide parity across all platforms, including release times.” She added that release times are established by the individual platforms, with the publisher’s digital partners offering all new content — not simply comics — in one fell swoop.

In book, video and music channels, Tuesdays are traditionally when new releases go on sale, something that’s continued even as the number of retail chains has shrunk. The direct market, meanwhile, has held to Wednesday as New Comics Day, with Diamond Comic Distributors enforcing on-sale dates even as it’s offered Tuesday shipping.

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Comments

18 Comments

I hope this is DC getting rid of that ridiculous (at least from the viewpoint of a customer, I can understand why retailers would appreciate it) 2pm deadline. Seems like it’s just a mistake though. You’d think they would say something ahead of time if they were changing procedure.

Dave Robinson (@dcrwrites)

November 14, 2012 at 6:49 am

Looks like a policy change – Comixology just tweeted that ALL this week’s comics are live.

Yet another slap in the face for comic shops!
The time is now for the shops to pull the rug out from Marvel and D.C.!

and how would they “pull the rug out from them?” if a comic shop stopped selling Marvel and DC they’d probably close… if they broke street date and sold books on tuesday when they arrived at the shop the comic shop would face penalties…

“Yet another slap in the face for comic shops!
The time is now for the shops to pull the rug out from Marvel and D.C.!”

Are you kidding, and what would they sell, considering Marvel and DC make up approx. 75% of sales for comic shops. They’d have to shut down then.

I for one think this is awesome. I won’t have to wait until 8 pm to read my comics anymore. I actually read Batman #14 on my lunch break today.

It just seems the shops have maybe rolled over to this sort of stuff. Probably next will be half priced new digital comics. I remember reading about some ‘comic shop union’ that eventually agreed that digital comics are great. I wonder if some comic shops could place more emphasis on trying to move their massive supply of back issues as they whittle down their orders of marvel and D.C. I guess there’s not too much comic shops can do.

It’s a changing market. I love comic book shops but it’s likely several will end up closing in the coming years due to increase digital demand. Hopefully it will mean an increase to comics sales in general. I almost eclusively buy digital now as I live in Ireland so finding a good comic book shop is a task. Furthermore, there is a sizeable markup on comics here as they are shipped from the US. Thus, even though they still retail on digital platforms at the same cover price, I get them cheaper digitally. I wish DC, Marvel, Image et al would bite the bullet and start selling digital comics cheaper on the day of release. I think there would be a sizeable increase in sales as new readers aren’t likely to shell out $2.99 for a medium they aren’t familiar with.
Oh and more comics written specially for the digital format; Mark Waid as an example is doing some pretty clever story telling whilst still retaining a very “comicy” feel.

FYI, I purchased Batman #14 on Comixology’s iPhone App at 12:01am est.

i’m all for brick & mortar shops, but the problem is, they aren’t as prevalent as they once were…i live in an area where we’ve just recently had the first shop we’ve had in years open up, but it’s about a 20-30 minute drive for me….i’m all for supporting the shops that are there, but that’s a market that is bound to change…the same thing happened w/ music & movies, & to an extent video games, but none of those markets offered what the big two have offered the comic shops. I’ve read that the apps actually give some of their digital profits back to comic stores if they sign up for some program….i don’t run a shop, so i don’t know how helpful this program is or the logistics of it, but it’s still a far better program than what all the music stores got, you didn’t see itunes giving part of their shares back to stores…..i think the comics market will become what the music market has become, most people buy their new albums online, but the vinyl record market saw a big resurgence If new people are introduced through their digital devices, they might be more likely to visit a brick & mortar for back issues, which seem like they would have a bigger profit margin for the stores

@WaR0C

I agree with the difficulty in getting comics in Ireland. I’ve only really started reading comics since going to university a few years back. All the comic shops I know of in this country are located in the cities and growing up on the rural west coast I only had limited opportunities to visit the few comic shops.

I buy from co mixology via my iPad because I avoid that guilty feeling when I run out of space and have to choose ones to bin, and also because I live nowhere near a comic book shop sadly :( I think them releasing titles a few hours earlier doesn’t really matter, if you we’re going to buy in print, you’re gonna do that anyway regardless of what time a title is released.

They need to reduce the digital copies to .99 cents. I refuse to pay $2.99 for a digital comic I can’t give to someone or need to buy a tablet for.

@ Stephen Conway
I also only started reading comics when I went to University. Even so, without the internet and sites like this and bleeding cool etc. I never would have even had sufficient exposure to help my hobby grow. I think they’re are many people with similar experiences in various parts of the world where comic are as niche as it gets. Digital is essential to exploiting these markets.
I still do like to pick up print versions of certain comics, if you like to do the same, economic-comics.com offer a great service. They’re based in the UK but they deliver all over Europe so they’ll even manage to get comics out to you in the forgotten west.

Lazarus Pit Foreman

November 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

So i can get my digital copies at 12:01am on Wednesdays? Cool. Next up I hope is a price drop on digital copies… Marvel definitely has to do this cause I think a lot of people shy away from 3.99 digital copies.

I still think digital comics will be just like trades in that they don’t really cut that much into the single issue sales but just offer fans and potential fans a new alternative and option for buying comics that don’t like near a comics shop. I like that DC is making their digital comics available in more places and hope Marvel does the same. But I’m pretty sure for people like myself and others who live near comics shop or just like reading a physical book at this point there just isn’t a strong enough reason to abandon our comics shops. I’ve had a tablet for over a year and I’ve only bought /read 2 comics on it. If I had to go all digital for some reason i would but there’ isn’t a good reason yet to do so.

People who think making comics available digitally a day before the shops is a big deal are probably the ones who worry about beating other people to the messageboards to complain about the newest issues. I would find it hard to believe a casual reader or most fans would care.

the only way I’d buy digital is if they deceased the price by 95%

I certainly feel that digital is the way to go. No more stacks of single issues piling up. Most of what I read, I’d never go back to read it again anyway so having them in piles or boarded & bagged just makes zero sense. I still buy trades of series I really like, so I have the best of both worlds.

The only pause I have is when I consider the local shop I used to go to on a regular basis. I haven’t been in for at least 6 months now. I like the owner and do understand his pain. Just not enough to consider his finances and space more than mine.

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