You have to take “anonymous spy reports” with a grain of salt, but this write up on the recent DC retailer roadshow in London had some interesting candid comments from DC’s SVP of sales Bob Wayne. new formets — OGNs, digital — seem to be inevitable:
Earth One: Superman Volume 2 and Earth One: Batman Volume 1 will both ideally be seen in the next 12 months. Wayne said that he had seen pages from both of them. Earth One Superman is still selling well as a hardcover, so they see no reason to publish a softcover version at this point.
There may be some digital only comics in the future. Licensed titles such as World of Warcraft and Fringe tend to sell better digitally than in print, and Wayne said he could see a future where those comics would move to digital first publication.
Wayne also expressed some candid thoughts on the future print/digital mix:
When asked where he thought the industry will be in five years time, Wayne very honestly answered that he thought digital and print comics will co-exist. He expects digital sales to be 2-3 times higher, and that the physical books will be more suited to the collectors market. He also thinks special editions of graphic novels, with them moving more towards being art objects (such as the Absolute books) that can’t be translated to digital will become more common and be more of a focus for shops.
When a long comics shop focused exec like Wayne starts talking about alternate distribution channels, you know its serious. Well, you already knew that.
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.