Comics can be a strange industry, but this one sure is a head scratcher.  As you recall, we’ve been discussing how Amazon and Comixology have been selling digital editions of Marvel’s brand new tpb’s and OGN’s – same day as print release – for 99¢.  Retailers are FURIOUS.  Marvel claims not to know what’s going on.  Well, there’s been a change.

If you go to the sale page at Comixology, there is no more 99¢ pricing.  Oh, sure, there’s still some discounting.  Nothing so extreme, though.

If you go over to the Amazon 99¢ Graphic Novel search page, everything is still 99¢.  And they added those digital reissues (Strange Tales, Sub-Mariner, etc.) just like they’ve done every Thursday since this affair has started.  Still 99¢.

What happened?  It’s not clear.

  • My initial thought when this happened, roughly 5am or 6am ET Thursday morning was that there was just a lag between Comixology pulling the pricing and Amazon doing the same.  If so, things must move a lot more slowly at Amazon and we’ll have to see if it’s still up tomorrow.
  • It could be that Marvel had a closer look at it’s contracts and has a little more control over it’s presentation and pricing on the Comixology site than it does on Amazon.
  • It could be that this is some sort of compromise.

We may not find out exactly what happened.  But what we can do is keep an eye on that Amazon sale page and see how long it stays up and if there’s a new one next week.

Comixology is now firmly part of Amazon, but you’ll notice they don’t always have the same prices and they don’t always run the same sales.  From a consumer standpoint, you can integrate the accounts and read Amazon purchases in the Comixology app, so where you buy is just a matter of preference and convenience.  It doesn’t really make the sale go away, but it may limit the sales reach to consumers who look at the Amazon site for digital comics.

And if the sale continues on Amazon, it gives us a clue that these sales may have really been about getting more Kindle users into comics, rather than driving people to the Comixology website.

Call it a developing situation.

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

13 COMMENTS

  1. That Amazon link doesn’t show 99 cent pricing when you click on it? I’m still seeing the sale pricing clicking through all the way to the individual books. This keeps getting stranger.

  2. I believe Amazon updates their pricing once per week on Sunday night. I’m sure there are exceptions to that, but it could be what’s happening here, since Comixology does not run on the same backend as Amazon.

  3. It doesn’t show the 99c pricing on Amazon for me, either. A couple of days ago it did. I’m in Europe, though: Perhaps Amazon does the sale based on location now? Or some other status (Prime/not Prime?).

  4. So, Todd, does this mean that your entire thesis was incorrect? More to the point, does it mean that the “sources” who told Heidi that Marvel had no control were lying? THE BEAT gets played AGAIN?

  5. I just picked up three Masterworks titles. I couldn’t purchase them on my iPad, but was allowed on my iPhone. As long as the .99 centers keep dropping I’ll keep picking them up. Sadly, my digital tbr pile has grown as voluminous as my paper tbr pile.

  6. Another Wednesday, and… no Marvel $0.99 sale this week (on both Amazon and Comixology, as far as I can tell.)

    Does this mean that Marvel got Amazon to shut things down? Or did Amazon decide to wrap up this experiment, and move on?

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