– How about the other side of the New 52 launch – releasing digital comics for paid downloads at the same time physical copies are sold, in a move that riled/terrified retailers?
Comic Book Resources has an interview with SVP of sales Bob Wayne and Executive VP of Sales, Marketing and Business Development John Rood about that along with many other topics (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=34357).
While initial print sales for the New 52 books have “exceeded expectations” thus far, Rood stated that while he
“can’t provide specific numbers. I’ll tell you were delighted by the digital sales, but I can’t say that they’ve exceeded expectations in a way that the physical sales have exceeded our forecast and expectations.”
He further detailed their digital sales to date as the “nice to have” category. Before the New 52, DC execs told Bleeding Cool that the print-to-digital sales ratio was roughly 630 to 1; which meant digital sales for many lower selling comics were likely in triple digits. However, those sales were not “day and date” nor were they being promoted as heavily.
The fact that DC is boldly bragging about print comics selling over 100-200k while being coy with exact digital figures likely means they’re not high enough to brag about. Many voices have claimed that selling digital comics at the same price as printed comics (as a gesture to not undercut direct market retailers) despite the fact that there’s no printing or shipping costs is folly to grow that market. Marvel’s digital store, at least, occasionally offers sales of .99 cents for some comics every week. However, undercutting direct market retailers would also be bad because while digital comics may be the future, DC (and Marvel) still need to survive until said future comes. One suspects in the worst economy since the end of the Carter administration, the amount of people who have enough cash to buy iPods and iPads is less than some estimated. At any rate, Wayne and Rood are hoping to keep the creative level of DC Comics fresh for subsequent issues in their launch. This may be a problem as some creative teams had barely 2-4 months notice of The New 52, and fill-in’s have already been announced for some artists.