Home Publishers Dark Horse Dark Horse announces $1.49 comics via new app

Dark Horse announces $1.49 comics via new app


At yesterday’s Dark Horse panel, more details of their digital initiative were announced. It will be proprietary, available on every web browser, and sold for iPad and iTunes. (However, Apple only accepts prices that end in .99 — one of the controlling things that folks were complaining about on Thursday — so it’s not entirely clear how that will work. There will be 170 titles available at first, with some titles available day and date.

Dark Horse had been the last of the big publishers to go digital and by launching their own app and system, it’s obviously a big investment.

While everyone is going digital, further details of the one aspect of the move that seems the most groundbreaking — the in-store exclusive downloads to keep customers going to brick and mortar — were not announced.

To promote the venture, Dark Horse is offering several free comics just this weekend:

Today at New York Comic Con, the publisher that revolutionized creator-owned comics announced a new and ambitious digital publishing plan that’s set to do the same for sequential storytelling in the digital medium! By creating and managing its own digital publishing program—the Dark Horse Bookshelf app—Dark Horse Comics has eliminated third party fees on its digital editions. Not only will readers be able to enjoy Dark Horse comics at lower prices, but comic creators will receive a greater percentage of each digital sale. In short, readers pay less for their comics and creators make more money.
“We are excited by the opportunities offered through this new channel of distribution,” Dark Horse president and publisher Mike Richardson said. “The comics and graphic novels published by Dark Horse will now reach more readers than ever, while creating new customers for traditional brick and mortar stores.”
The Dark Horse Bookshelf app will be available on iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone. Comics can also be purchased and read on modern web browsers at the Dark Horse Digital Store.  Launching in January 2011 with comics priced at $1.49 per issue—50 cents lower than the industry standard—the Dark Horse Bookshelf app will be available for download from the iTunes Store and online at digital.darkhorse.com. To drive customers to brick and mortar retailers, the app and Web site will also include links to local comic shops.
Launching with over 150 titles including Dark Horse’s wildly popular horror anthology Creepy, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy and B.P.R.D., Joss Whedon’s Fray and Serenity, Felicia Day’s The Guild, BioWare’s Mass Effect, Robert E. Howard’s Conan, Gerard Way’s Umbrella Academy, Eric Powell’s The Goon and many more, the pricing at the Dark Horse Digital Store offers readers unprecedented value. While single-issue comics will be available at the low price point of $1.49, Dark Horse will also offer an extensive list of free introductory #1 issues. The Dark Horse Digital Store’s comic bundles will group together story arcs spanning multiple issues into easily affordable packages, allowing readers to get the three or four issues that comprise a complete narrative at manageable prices from $2.99 to $5.99. Starting in February 2011, some Dark Horse titles will feature synchronized release in both the digital and print formats.
Dark Horse also has a plan in place that will allow retailers at comic shops and bookstores to offer readers exclusive digital content through the Dark Horse Digital Store. The specifics of this plan will be announced at a later date.
To celebrate the announcement of the Dark Horse Bookshelf app, Dark Horse Comics is offering eight of its current digital comic apps completely free throughout the weekend. Comics enthusiasts can head to the iTunes store and download free copies of Dark Horse’s current Serenity, Beasts of Burden, B.P.R.D., Conan, Fray, Troublemaker, Umbrella Academy and Terminator: 2029 apps.

Fans are invited to sign up for additional news at our official website:

  1. It’ll work just like the Kindle app for the iPhone – it’ll open a Safari window within the app and link to Dark Horse’s bookshelf web app. If it’s coded well enough, it should be seamless.

  2. I like the price point. Here’s hoping that this begins a trend of digital price decreases. I’m just not going to pay the same price for digital as I would for physical.

  3. Tekende,

    Yes, Graphic.ly has great a client side app that you can use on your desktop… AND…

    …you can also find BOOM! and other comics on Comixology’s webstore at comics.comixology.com and read the comics on your desktop…. AND…

    …also, we just announced comics on mydigitalcomics.com, another venue to read comics that you don’t need a mobile device.

    So lots of options. iPad and iPhone is just sucking up all the glory!



  4. Really pumped about this. Really, really. I have not paid attention to Dark Horse for years.

    Paper comics are better. no question, but it gets to a point where they are not enough better to be worth (a) the money or (b) the space comics take up.

    So I’m moving digital and spending some time with every new digital comics idea that comes along to support them all until a few really stick. Woo-hoo, digital!

    Let’s hope Dark Horse is a little smarter about their interface than marvel. There should be a social component.

    All the digital publishers/platforms so far do a real crappy job of telling you what you’ve read and what you haven’t.

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