Are new Marvel digital TPBs for $0.99 a regular thing?  For two weeks in a row it seems to be.

This Week’s Marvel Collections for 99¢ Each” is a page  you might want to start checking every week.  Strangely, there doesn’t seem to be a master listing page for this sale over at Amazon this week.  Is that an oversight or by design?  Hard to say.

Either way, the question of motive looms large here.  It’s one thing to have a deep dive into the archives on sale for 99¢.  It is a very different matter to have the week’s new book releases for 99¢.  Is this Amazon applying a deep discount on their own initiative and treating it as a loss leader to bring more people onto the Kindle/digital platform and/or thin the brick & mortar herd?  Is it Marvel so desperate for some end of quarter cash that they’re willing to throw their primary print distribution channel under the bus?

It’s unlikely we’ll get an official comment on the motives, but if this ends at March 31st, that might be an indicator it’s a quarterly thing.

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I’d almost say the unintended consequence of this could be a consumer referendum on the price of digital single issues.  Except if Amazon is the one pulling the trigger on the sale prices, this could be a deliberate attempt to force a conversation on pricing.  Kindle’s author platform does enforce a pricing range if you want to get a decent discount and Apple/iTunes was enforcing of MP3 music pricing for years.

Widespread 99¢ digital TPBs make $3.99 digital single issues look ridiculously overpriced.  There is a point of view, one I happen to share, that paying print cover price for a digital comic is silly.  Obviously, a chunk of the audience doesn’t have a problem with it, but it could be Amazon thinks it’s holding back a wider audience and they’re trying to get enough data to find the sweet spot.  Remember, the formula is price * volume.  Sometimes you’re better off selling more at a lower price.  The comics industry in general, and Marvel specifically, has been down the lower volume/higher price path for several years now.

If it’s not Amazon driving this, you really have to wonder if Marvel has thought this through and is willing to deal with questions about their pricing?  And that’s on top of pulling the rug out from under the retail segment by discounting like this with no advance warning.

But until then, if you were looking to take a flier on some cheap reads, you might as well get them while you can.

Here’s the Kindle version of the list, if that’s how you partake of digital:

Want to learn more about how comics publishing and digital comics work?  Try Todd’s book, Economics of Digital Comics

5 COMMENTS

  1. I’m in UK so only £0.69 per volume, but oddly still quite a high price compared to Marvel Unlimited if I’m prepared to wait a few months. I’ve only bought Vision from this sale.

  2. Yeah I was going to mention that everything here will be on Marvel Unlimited in a few months. Since dying and coming back (not kidding), I’ve had a memory problem that renders reading novels impossible, so GNs and audiobooks are my go to staples now. MU is wonderful as it’s both deep in material and allows for offline reading too.

    Comixology I found to be a mess with some things completely there, Mouse zguard for instance, but other series only there in fragments. Marvel Unlimited has complete runs of newer material and more than a few older series as well.

  3. It’s got to originate in the Marvel end, because the Comixology sale is only on their newly released collections. I think they’re trying to get more eyes on their digital material. And by presenting a boat load of sale items at $1 apiece, they can raise a ton of cash quick as people go all in on the sale. I probably bought around $70 on digital collections I’d never buy physically. I even bought Secret Empire to skim since it was only a buck. To me the question of digital has always been whether the market will move that way or just fall away from both print and digital. I couldn’t justify spending even $50 per month on digital comics if every issue was $1. The quality would probably drop, I’d have nothing for my money, and there’d be no fun to the hobby. I personally enjoy the physical experience, collecting a few favorite series, and donating or selling the rest back to other readers.

  4. I’m not sure I really care who’s end it is coming fro., I’d preordered X-Blue and GenX for both ~6 bucks each (I’d found them listed that cheap and than got a bit more knocked off because of the Unlimited sub) and woke up this morning to see I had only been charged about a $1.60 because of the sale. Once again I’m being taught to just wait and price hunt on Amazon/Comixology by them. With this and their BOGO sale I’ve probably bought a bit over $50 worth of comic collections for about 20 bucks. Works for me.

  5. They also seem to list more new trades on Thursday, maybe these are trades new to comixology? Honestly as a consumer I hope this is a new weekly sales push as I am more than happy to pick up at least 4-6 new .99 cent books a week. However as it relates to the industry, well this could change a lot of things

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