Speed Reading

Cover art to upcoming Flash #1 © 2011 DC Comics. 
Pencils, Inks: Francis Manapul. Colors: Brian Buccellato.

I guess the new "52" initiative from DC, which rewrites the continuity of its main superhero universe (again) together with setting up a comprehensive digital-release plan for its comics, gives another meaning to "downloading the new version of Flash".

Your friendly neighborhood comics shop — if you're lucky enough to have one — now faces a tougher marketplace than ever. New comics readers don't tend to jump on the periodical train, while even dedicated longtime readers are giving up the single-issue habit in favor of collected editions; unfortunately for comics shops, Amazon deeply discounts almost all in-print hardcovers and softcovers as a matter of course, while Borders (not without its own troubles) routinely offers coupons for at least 30% off a single item in-store or online to members of its free rewards program. And now single-issue readers who don't want to wait for collected editions but are willing to wait just one month for prices on the digital version to drop from $2.99 to $1.99 on standard issues — likely not a big deal for those who already don't visit the comics shop weekly and, of course, prefer or at least don't mind owning a digital copy rather than a physically printed one — have a compelling alternative to what had been one of the comics shop's main selling points. 
I have lots more to say about the DC plan, the comics-shop conundrum, and digital vs. print in upcoming posts.

Things from Another World, Oregon chain and worldwide Internet retailer, have quite an offer for those of you lacking the presence of and/or fealty to local comics shops and harboring the desire to sample all 52 first issues of DC Comics' September superhero-line relaunch. Purchase the whole lot and you'll get them at 50% off cover price (although since you can't combine this offer with any others you probably won't be able to avoid shipping charges, which lessens the appeal considerably). I recently had my first real negative experience with an order in three years of roughly twice-annual splurges, plus a few gift shipments from a friend, and frankly the disappointment was only because the quality of items from its Nick & Dent selection is usually so astoundingly high.

1 comment:

Teebore said...

I recently wrote a couple of posts reacting to the whole DC reboot/relaunch/business model, but one of the things I didn't get into was the likely effect of the whole thing on comic shops.

I don't think DC's online initiative in and of itself is enough to sound the death knell of comic shops, but if its even marginally successful and, more importantly, other companies follow suit, it could definitely cut into the business of shops the same way digital music has hurt physical record sales.