With all kinds of concerns running rampant today about what Amazon’s acquisition of Comixology means for the comics industry, ComicsPRO, the retailers organization, has released a statement:

“There’s always a concern when a huge corporation that shows little need to turn a profit tries to convert a niche market into a commodity. Fortunately there is a tactile element to comics that no deep-discounting web entity will ever be able to replicate. So as long as there continues to be fans for the real thing, there will be comics and comic book stores.”



  1. “So as long as there continues to be fans for the real thing…”

    its kind of amazing how Comics Pro has no respect for Comics as an art form. Just because its not printed on paper, doesn’t mean its not a “real” comic. The Art form transcends the methods of reproduction. Comics are about stories, art and ideas and not the ink printed on paper. These types of immature comments are disrespectful to anyone that appreciates comics as an art form and to any creator who works in the digital space.

  2. It would be nice if the comic retailers learned what the music retailers didn’t instead of attempting to fight the same exact battles.

    Comics are comparable to vinyl as far as a collectible media. The more retailers learn to work with the new technology as a means to be incorporated into their business model instead of fighting against it and disparaging it tooth and nail, the better off they will be in the long run.

  3. I find it fascinating that the interpretations of the statement appear to vary based on each person’s predisposition with regards to the digital vs print discussion. Those who have already chosen digital as their format tend to assume it’s defensive or insulting or that it merits an attack on the b&m model, while those who haven’t necessarily entrenched themselves into digital as the sole survivor recognize the optimistic aspect. The sky may not actually be falling, and it’s good to remind both fans and retailers of that. As far as the “real thing”, it was speaking to the physical nature of a tangible good one can hold and own, and not a slight on comics as an art form. I think that was actually fairly obvious. I am of the opinion that the owner of digital comics (of which I am one) actually owns nothing, which is different than owning paper. It’s perfectly fine, but it’s different.

  4. “I am of the opinion that the owner of digital comics (of which I am one) actually owns nothing, ”

    Except you do own something. The digital file with code that that comic is stored on. Just because you can’t hold it in your hand like a physical comic doesn’t make it nothing. It is in fact a good that you own. The make up of it is just different than that of a comic you go to the store to buy.

  5. I’m also surprised that ComicsPRO didn’t take the opportunity to tout the many advantages physical retail stores have over Amazon and the pleasures to be had while shopping there. Instead they focused on the almost irrelevant difference between print and digital formats as if their only value is that they sell physical objects.

    A comics store’s strength is that they create an environment and atmosphere of fun and imagination and camaraderie. They sell things with immediacy and greater discoverability to people who want comics as part of their day rather than just another thing to buy. There’s nothing less real about a digital comic but there’s something less fun about buying comics by yourself on your couch at home. You’d think a broadside against Amazon would be more about community and less about sniping at these kids today and their newfangled gadgets.

  6. i’ve seen more comments from Comics Pro members on other sights and the anger is understandable to a point. The long running argument is on the added value the LCS provides, but everyone seems to be freaking out about Amazon now being a player and having “lists of customer names” will put them all out of business.

    If you’re going to lose customers that easily, than how much value are you really providing to your customers? If simply getting an email from amazon will “lure customers away to digital” than how much do customers really like buying printed comic books on Wednesdays from your shop? If the product is relevant and the shopping experience is good, then who cares about new competition? It doesn’t seem that some of these LCS owners are as confident in their product and customer experience as they often brag.

    The Direct Market might be forced to change its ways, and adapt its model. I converted to digital because my local shops had rude staff, inconvenient hours and were often sold out of everything new before lunchtime on Wednesday (not to mention refusing to stock anything not published by the big 2). Those are problems you can fix if you stop looking for boogeymen.

  7. The way Amazon built itself into a behemoth was by underpricing. It’s been years since I bought a DVD, for example, anywhere but Amazon because their prices are always lower, and sometimes ridiculously lower, than any physical store. I wonder if Amazon will bring their aggressive underpricing to Comixology now?

  8. Amazon’s success, remember, wasn’t JUST low prices, but design: user interface, saving preferences, previewing of contents, lots of graphics & reviews to compare, easy comparisons of products, searching capabilities — they built the ideal virtual storefront and have done a great job of constantly updating it as new capabilities and technologies come to the fore, allowing them to dominate so many markets through the shopping experience as much as the simple price. THAT is what the comics direct market has to compete with, and that is why it behooves comics booksellers to focus extra hard in the age of digital to focus on the market experience and their expertise as a resource to the consumer; because now they’re liable to be in direct competition to the people who have mastered bringing that experience onto the World Wide Web, except coupled with all the benefits of comiXology’s digital market.

  9. “If simply getting an email from amazon will “lure customers away to digital” than how much do customers really like buying printed comic books on Wednesdays from your shop?”

    I know I’m not concerned at all about digital — I’m concerned that Amazon will now move into print periodicals in an aggressive way because they now have a significant number of customer’s PULL LISTS.

    Don’t forget that Comixology started as a pull-list service!

    That is incredibly sensitive information for stores, and it would be absolutely trivial for Amazon to undercut DM retailers on their core product.

    I’m not one of those retailers because I never let Comixology into MY ecosystem — but I know a ton of stores who were ecstatic to hand control over that key data from their customers in an extremely front-facing way.


  10. Ya know I go to the comic shops to BS with real humans. Neither Amazon or Comixology does that. And for that matter does this blog that I read most days. So I will continue to go to retail stores that create a social environment. And to use Comixology/Amazon for random crap.

  11. Comic book stores have nothing to worry about, for at least ten years. As Comics Pro rightly pointed out, most of the, on average, 40 year old men who purchase print comics, purchase them for that tactile smell & feel, and all the positive conditioned associations that these triggers bring.

    Most of these approximately 200,000 or so readers aren’t going anywhere. Mainstream comics will be able to maintain their average 30,000 to 40,000 copy print runs. Comic shops needn’t worry unnecessarily. As long as those 40 somethings are around, the 22 page print comic lives.

    It will be interesting to see how long Amazon / Comixology sticks to the same average $3.99 price for digital, as print. Digital & print are two entirely different markets, so this has been silly for some time. Publishers and retailers can expect, at the most, a 20% or less attrition rate from print for doing so, for the reasons I laid out earlier.

  12. I don’t think digital comics is a death sentence for comic stores, it just means comic stores need to change. Providing a great customer experience to draw and keep their clientele is key now. There are more people coming back into comics or trying it out, but it will be how they like the people that makes or breaks a store location. The sheer volume of books and quality isn’t the issue anymore, its connecting with the customer and getting them to come back for more because they had fun doing it.

  13. Here’s the elephant in the room:

    What happens if the weekly Wednesday Crowd doesn’t come in every week to the store?
    What happens when fans buy cheaper digital comics instead of the paper comic book? What does that do to a store’s profit margin?

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