As you may recall, a couple weeks back I started mentioning that Amazon was having sales listings and pages for Marvel digital comic sales, but they weren’t really discounting anything. The Beat has gotten some reader queries about this because, well… it _is_ strange to go from frequent 99¢ sales to no discount off digital list price.
What’s going on? No clue and Amazon’s PR has been so uncooperative over the years, it’s not worth the time spent querying. They don’t comment on pricing.
Figure these are the possible explanations:
- It’s a glitch that nobody’s figured out was there for a couple weeks (I find this unlikely)
- This is further fallout from the 99¢ controversy
- It’s boundary testing to see if the Amazon side of the customer base even notices the stuff isn’t really on sale
And it gets stranger.
It’s not just the sales that aren’t discounted below list price. It appears to Marvel’s digital tpbs in general aren’t discounted. And they used to be. A while back I wrote about the pricing differences between Comixology, Amazon and Google Play. That comparison seems to have changed.
For example, let’s look at some X-Men: Gold tpb releases.
|X-Men Gold Volume||Amazon Price||Comixology Price||Google Play Price|
|V.5: Cruel & Unusual||$8.99||$8.99||$7.55|
|V.4: The Negative Zone War||$8.99||$8.99||$7.55|
|V.3: Mojo Worldwide||$10.99||$10.99||$8.79|
|V.2: Evil Empires||$10.99||$10.99||$8.79|
I can’t tell you why this is happening for sure, but if you’re price sensitive about your Marvel digital, right now you want to be looking at the Comixology side of the sales or Google Play. And perhaps this will change next week. If nothing else, digital pricing tends to be a very fluid thing and different platforms have been known to A/B test their pricing.
***Update – The sales prices have been turned back on at the Amazon site, so maybe it was a multi-week error***
So, let’s look at the current “Marvel Team-Up” sale, which Amazon advertises as “Up To 65% Off” (perhaps they mean off print price?) and here’s the Comixology page. What’s good here? You may have heard references to a Captain America arc from the 70s that had a conspiracy emanating from the White House and heavily implied Nixon was the villain? That would be Captain America: Secret Empire from the famed Englehart run. For something a bit more below the radar, I always liked Priest’s Captain America & the Falcon run, both volumes of which are on sale. And finally, because I do think the Cap material is the pick of this litter, Jack Kirby’s Madbomb saga about a conspiracy to disrupt the country with a bomb that makes everyone act out violently might feel timely to some. (And it has the Kill Derby.)
Then on the DC side of the house (where it’s apparently still acceptable for Amazon to discount), we have the “Geoff Johns Sale.” Interesting timing, eh? Here’s the Amazon page and here’s the Comixology page. What to get? In my opinion, Johns is at his best with Green Lantern, Rebirth through Blackest Night, and then on his original Flash run.
And to round things out, a Comixology-only sale, the “Skybound 65% Off” sale. Because 50% off is increasingly unimpressive in this new age of blowout sales. What’s good here? I find Manifest Destiny, “what if Lewis & Clark were clearing the wilderness of monsters,” to be a ton of fun. Ghosted starts out as “Ocean’s 11 trying to steal a ghost from a haunted house” and then gets a lot more twisted. Witch Doctor is skewed sort of ghost hunter and V.1 is dirt cheap for sampling. Oh, and something called The Walking Dead as cheap as you’re likely to find it. Honestly, I’ve found Skybound to be a fairly reliable imprint, some of which is lower profile.