The Now 52

Flash speeding at reader head-on surrounded by lightning and motion lines
Art © 2011 DC Comics. Pencils, Inks: Francis
Manapul. Colors: Brian Buccellato.

I guess the new “52” initiative from DC, which rewrites the continuity of its main superhero universe (again) together with setting up a comprehensive digital-release plan for its comics, gives another meaning to “downloading the latest version of

Your friendly neighborhood comics shop — if one exists — faces a tougher marketplace than ever. New comics readers don’t tend to jump on the periodical train, while the trend among even dedicated longtime readers has been to give up the single-issue habit in favor of collected editions; unfortunately for comics shops, Amazon discounts almost all in-print hardcovers and softcovers deeply as a matter of course, while Borders (not without its own troubles) routinely offers coupons for at least 30% off a single item in-store or online to members of its free rewards program. And now single-issue readers who don’t want to wait for collected editions but are willing to wait just one month for prices on the digital version to drop from $2.99 to $1.99 on standard issues — likely not a big deal for those who already don’t visit the comics shop weekly and, of course, prefer or at least don’t mind owning a digital copy rather than a physical one — have a compelling alternative to what had been one of the comics shop’s main selling points. I have lots more to say about the DC plan, the retail conundrum, and digital vs. print in upcoming posts.

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1 comment:

  1. I recently wrote a couple of posts reacting to the whole DC reboot/relaunch/business model, but one of the things I didn't get into was the likely effect of the whole thing on comic shops.

    I don't think DC's online initiative in and of itself is enough to sound the death knell of comic shops, but if its even marginally successful and, more importantly, other companies follow suit, it could definitely cut into the business of shops the same way digital music has hurt physical record sales.