Bam, the other shoe has dropped: as long anticipated, Diamond is starting a program to offer digital comics sales. Comics will be offered day-and-date exclusively through participating retailers — with a 30-day exclusive for these stores. Products offered include regular downloads for $1.99 with “Digital Plus” comics — extras offered with a print purchase — for $.99, all in hopes of becoming a revenue stream for stores and publishers alike.
Sales will go through iVerse’s system, already used extensively by IDW and Archie. Thus far the publishers who have signed up include those who don’t have their own storefronts — Marvel, DC, Image, Boom and Dark Horse are notably absent from the list of publishers, although Diamond hopes they will join in some fashion.
This is clearly an initiative in its beginning stages — the timing is tied to Thursday’s ComicsPRO retailer meeting, which kicks off Thursday.
Gee, I wonder what they’ll be talking about. Full PR below:
Imagine a future where readers and fans can visit their local comic shop to buy not just physical copies of new comics, but also digital editions that aren’t available anywhere else, and can be viewed in multiple platforms including iPhone, iPad, web, and others.
That future is coming soon as Diamond Comic Distributors (DCD) — the world’s largest distributor of English-language comic books, graphic novels and related pop-culture merchandise — joins forces with iVerse Media — the pioneer of digital comics and creators of the popular ComicsPLUS reader — to empower 2,700+ brick and mortar comic shops to sell digital content. Plans call for day-and-date digital editions to sell exclusively at comic shops for 30 days for about $1.99, with “Digital Plus” editions – digital copies available with the purchase of a hard copy – expected to sell for $.99.
Thanks to a simple but technologically robust code redemption system, retailers will need only an internet connection and a printer to participate. They will have no inventory risk or carrying costs and will retain a significant portion of each sale, with billing occurring on their regular DCD invoices. Retailers with websites will also be able to profitably sell a wide range of digital back issue comics and graphic novels.
Diamond Executive VP and COO Chuck Parker had this to say: “Digital comics are creating opportunities for publishers to grow the comic market. Our task, as we see it, has been to structure a program that empowers comic retailers to play a role in this growth and, at the same time, make money selling digital content. We think we’ve accomplished that with this initiative, and we look forward to feedback from retailers and publishers alike to help us succeed in this endeavor.”
iVerse CEO Michael Murphey added: “We are proud to be helping Diamond develop systems which will immediately enable comic shop retailers at any level of technical ability to easily sell digital comics. We are also very excited about the potential of this new venture to create many creative print-to-digital and digital-to-print promotional possibilities.”
Publishers already on-board with the program include: Ape Entertainment, Archie Comics, Aspen Comics, Bluewater Productions, Broadsword Comics, Hermes Press, IDW Publishing, Moonstone Comics, NBM Publishing, Papercutz, Red 5 Comics, Studio Foglio, Titan Books, TOKYOPOP, Top Cow Productions and Top Shelf Productions. Talks with other publishers are continuing, and the first comic shop digital editions are slated to debut in July, 2011.
“Direct Market retailers have always been IDW’s most important market and we’re very pleased to be working with Diamond and iVerse to include them in the digital distribution of our books,” said Ted Adams, CEO/Publisher IDW Publishing.
Dave Bowen, Director of DCD’s new Diamond Digital division, said: “We invite all publishers to join our effort, whether with all of their books or a portion of their line. All we ask is that they give comic shops a 30-day head-start on selling whatever digital content they chose to make available through the program.” Bowen added that interested publishers are welcome to contact him (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Michael Murphey (email@example.com) for more information.
Further details with be forthcoming at the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting being held February 10-12 in Dallas, and at Diamond’s Retailer Summit to be held March 17-18 in Chicago, in conjunction with the C2E2 show.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.