Digital Comics Frequently Cost More Than Print

Did you ever notice it’s more expensive to buy new digital comics, than it is to buy new print ones?  The big trend from DC and Marvel is to put the same cover price on both the digital and print editions when they come out.  DC will knock it down $1 when the next issue comes out.  Marvel… not so much.

I don’t know where you live, but most of the places I’ve lived, the local comic shop has given a discount.  Discounts come in different formats.  Sometimes it’s contingent on having pull-list or in-store subscription account.  Sometimes (particularly in New York City), it’s a rebate: every time you accumulate $100 worth of purchases, you get $20 credit.  Sometimes the shop gives a discount with no strings attached.

Not every store has them, but a lot (if not most) will end up giving you 10%-20% off.

What does this mean?  If your local comic shop gives a discount, you’re actually spending MORE money on your new comics if you’re buying them digitally. *

Just food for thought.

*Yes, some indies do knock the price down right off the bat, but the Big Two aren’t doing that.

Comments

  1. Rick Hood says:

    What about the download codes that Marvel is putting in their new print releases like “Avenging Spider-man” No.1? Supposedly, if people actually download them Marvel is quoted that they will continue this practice.

    DC is only charging a dollar more for their Justice League New 52 combo packs.

    I think just like print, that back issue down loads will be reduced in price.

    Just thinking..

  2. Hal Shipman says:

    Though, the discount is also balanced by the sales tax, which in Chicago is about 10%, bringing the prices closer to equal.

  3. toddallen says:

    Magazines are not taxed in the state of Illinois. Books, yes. Magazines, no.

  4. It’s an absolutely ridiculous situation. Not unique to comics, though–last time I bought a CD, I found having the disc delivered (internationally!) was cheaper than downloading it as mp3′s, and ebook prices remain based on the most expensive print edition.

  5. Eddie says:

    I’ve gone exclusively to digital and find I’m spending much less for the same comics I would buy in print. First, there is no state sales tax on any of the purchases (in California). Second, Dark Horse titles that cost $3.50 in print cost $1.99 in digital. So according to my experiences, the headline should read “Digital Comics Occasionally Cost More Than Print”

  6. I recall making a post about this very issue on one of the digital threads a month or two ago.

  7. Earth-2 Chad says:

    It’s worth the occasional extra expense to avoid drowning in physical comics.

  8. You’re also avoiding the adverts with digital, which improves the reading experience tremendously.

    But we’ve only just reached widespread simultaneous release in digital – price drops will come with time, I suspect.

  9. Charles Knight says:

    You’ve also forgot other costs that some people may incur (but not, if you store actually is local) – for most people, internet is a fixed cost, so the download doesn’t cost anything additional – to get to a local store, I’d have to travel an hour each way (fuel cost), then I’d have parking costs.

    Then there is the time saving by not having to travel, that itself is worth a slight premium to me.

    However, as Paul says this is only the start so these costs should shift.

  10. You don’t mention that some digital comics stores are now offering discounts too.

  11. Wally Strong says:

    Weakest argument EVER. Take into account the cost of gas, the distance to your LCS, potential multiple trips to your LCS, plus the number of titles you purchase and you may or may not be paying more for digital.

  12. And if you add in the carbon footprint of the printing and transport process, the whole world is better off with digital.

    You can factor in a lot of things, but the actual on sale price of digital is often higher than that of print.

  13. “It’s worth the occasional extra expense to avoid drowning in physical comics.”

    @ Earth-2 Chad
    Really? Why not just get rid of the comics you don’t want anymore?

  14. Earth-2 Chad says:

    Rich, they’re not comics I don’t want. I want all my comics — I’m a re-reader. But this way, instead of winding up with longboxes full of hard-to-access comics, they’re all stored in my Comixology account.

    And gradually, through 99¢ sales, I’m getting rid of a fair number of my physical copies.

  15. Earth-2 Chad says:

    And by 99¢ sales, I mean through Comixology and the Dark Horse app.

  16. The way I think of it, is in phases. It was a great feat to get digital out there. That was the first phase. Then it was a great feat to get all the same-day-as-print comics out there. The next phase (I hope) will be to get same-day-as-print comics, CHEAPER than print. It sounds silly, but it would convert me to a lot more comic books than I would normally try.

    And no, Chicago does not tax for periodicals. I have never been taxed for my floppies here. ComiXology says my purchases are “tax eligible,” but I don’t get charged tax there either. Can anyone shed light on this?

  17. Michael says:

    “It’s worth the occasional extra expense to avoid drowning in physical comics.”

    Or, in my case, the savings with digital isn’t enough to be worth not owning anything.

    Right now, the only price point that’d get me to switch to digital would be free (and not pirated).

  18. AfterHours Al™ says:

    “hi comic fans. remember comic books? well, we will now let you read a digital file instead, for only slightly more money.”

  19. Earth-2 Chad says:

    “Or, in my case, the savings with digital isn’t enough to be worth not owning anything.”

    And the beauty of today’s world is that we both have the options that suit us.

  20. jbrasco says:

    But, you can’t get digital comics signed by the creative people that created them. I collect autographed comics and frame a lot of my collectible comics, so why would I pay the same, more, or even close, for something I can’t get signed, frame or re-sell? I get what a lot of the points being made are getting at, but I feel the same about digital games. Until there is no re-sell market, I will continue to by print. Just because you want and love it today, doesn’t mean you always will. What happens when that App company goes out of business or the “next” generation doesn’t have these same apps or tech, how will you look at those comics then? You all are banking on a new way to read comics without looking at the entire picture of business and how companies can fail. If Marvel and DC were to go out of business and stop all support, how would you manage your digital comics? Versus, my prints are still in my control. But, I will say, I want to purchase digital comics for the ones I can’t take out of their protective covers. But, I don’t want to pay full print retail. Now, if it’s one of my Batman comics from the 70′s that’s worth hundred’s, then yeah, paying $3-$7 is cool. But, not for brand new items. Just my opinion.

  21. Hudson says:

    Digital comics are way cheaper and the 99 cent Mondays rock

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