It's three months now since DC Comics launched their Digital Comics Universe. The selling point here is that you can now buy your DC Comics either in a store in print edition or on the same day online as a digital edition.
As you can imagine, retailers are not thrilled with this idea, although Diamond Distributors-- the nation (the world's) leading distributor of comic books has partnered with iVerse to provide exclusive digital content to retailers who choose to participate.
Digital sales have been extremely strong-- and at this point you can't get DC Comics on the Nook yet, although starting next week you'll be able to get 100 of their top graphic novels on the Kindle Fire.
I bought several books from their digital store and found reading them on my iPod Touch easy and a suitable alternative. I'm not crazy that the price for print and digital remains exactly the same since the cost on digital is so much less-- and I think that might be the deciding factor in the long run. Why pay $3 for a virtual comic book when you can actually own a print copy for the same money-- and said print copy could potentially go up in value (although not likely-- more in tomorrow's post).
What's going to hook me is the writing-- I'm dying to read Christos Gage's AVENGERS ACADEMY because of the reviews I'm seeing on TWITTER, but it's not available digitally and I'm too lazy to drive myself down to the comic book shop, maybe I found one in Austin-- we'll see.
I've always been in the camp that print is going to follow music and movies in terms of delivery. CDs continue to sell but iTunes makes inroads with MP3s. Personally, I just like the idea that I can hear a song on the radio or on TV and within a minute have a copy of it right in my iTunes account.
Back to DC's new strategy-- the writing on some of the DC books is stronger than others. DC right now is doing a pretty good impression of Marvel Comics circa 1990 when the art was the thing and writers took a back seat-- that strategy led to Marvel's bankruptcy so I'd probably not advocate for that path right now, but hopefully writing gets put back in the front sometime soon. And some of the books are very well written, so there is potential.
Whether digital saves the comic book industry is anyone's guess, whether it puts retailers out of business seems likely, unless they figure out a way to make themselves relevant to the delivery process.