While news of Haven Distribution shutting down yesterday marked the end of one attempt at breaking up the dominance of Diamond as comics giant distributor, in digital land, there is still a LOT of competition. Mondayâ€™s dueling announcements from Graphicly and Comixology on going day and date with Image Comics is a case in point.
First off, there seems to be a bit of confusion over just what each company announced. Graphicly said they were going to be going DaD with the â€œentire publishing catalogâ€, while Comixology promised â€œtop titles.â€ Does Graphicly have MORE image titles than Comixology?
Not really. Since Image is a loose confederation of creators, they have the final say over how their books are sold. In a letter to Image creators, they were offered a choice to go day and date. Not everyone has. No one is selling SPAWN day and date, for instance. So no one has the ENTIRE line â€” and both companies are actually offering the same number of new Image titles.
ComiXology does have a significant lead on Graphicly on the number of Image titles available, 3,515 to Graphiclyâ€™s 112.
At present, Graphicly has a few distribution models Comixology doesnâ€™t, like their embedable Facebook comics â€” and it hasnâ€™t really been announced exactly how and who and what will be sold on the Kindle Fireâ€¦let alone by whom.
One thingâ€™s for sure, ComiXology, Graphicly and iVerse (and a few smaller companies)are all very competitive right now. Although ComiXology is definitely the biggest digital comics distributor in the game right now, all the competition means more opportunities for publishers and creators.
One final digital note: Graeme McMillan has an canny look at how digital comics are going towards the â€œagency modelâ€ for pricing, and that may not last. The agency model is where publishers set the price for their digital editions â€” a policy that became popular n order to not undercut the print editions. Thatâ€™s why you see high prices for what is really nothing but a data download. Agency pricing is not popular in some quarters:
Multiple publishers and digital booksellers are facing a staggering seventeen class action lawsuits over the pricing of digital books, specifically something called â€œagency pricing,â€ which is essentially how digital comic prices are set.
Digital comics publishing may no longer be the wild wild west, but itâ€™s far from settled.