Has Marvel declared war on their own cover prices? Remember that absurd (up to 80% off) sale on the Marvel digital graphic novels on Kindle back in June? Well, it appears there’s a sequel in the works.
That alternate graphic to the left details it as “save up to 50% on every Marvel single issue and graphic novel on Kindle. Excludes pre-orders and titles released after 8/31/17.”
What exactly is going on here? A mix of speculation and educated guess:
- Gosh, a big sale during that last month of Q3. Could that possibly involve trying to hit anticipated quarterly numbers?
- This could be an concerted attempt by Amazon to attract a new audience to reading comics on the Kindle platform, now that the Comixology software has finally been integrated. If it’s truly a *new* audience that hasn’t been reading comics regularly, that could be a good thing for the industry in general.
- Sometimes you view this kind of a sale as a sort of third or fourth level in the sales chain. This is where you pick up a little money for things that are passed their release date and might not be selling rapidly. Although, you wouldn’t think that’s the entire strategy if this week’s releases are going on sale. (If I were a comic shop owner, I would not be a happy camper reading this.)
- Sometimes you do this kind of a sale as a sampler. You hope somebody tries something new because it’s cheap and goes on to buy some more at regular price. Although these sales are kind of close together… if _everything_ is really 1/2 off. There’s some ambiguity between the two sets of messaging.
- There’s also a different digital reading model: the bargain seeker. Comixology has a steady stream of sales. Marvel sure has the optics of starting a steady stream of sales. (Will the next one be Thanksgiving weekend perhaps?) If you’re not terribly concerned about being current with your titles and “the story of the universe,” you can probably enjoy yourself hopping from sale to sale and catching up on varies titles when the discount hits. Let’s not ascribe good or bad to this type of reader. It’s just a different type of customer, likely more casual and likely more price sensitive.
It could well be a mix of those reasons, but that’s the basic set for trying to parse this behavior. But two sales in roughly three months in addition to what certainly looks like a drastic increase in Marvel sales at Comixology would seem to signal a change in strategy for Marvel. Perhaps not a coincidence that this is happening around the time Marvel let’s their digital leadership go? One wonders to what extent Amazon is steering the Marvel digital path right now?
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.