Decision by publishers to suspend digital new releases...

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Decision by publishers to suspend digital new releases...

Post by BugsySig »

So a lot of publishers have announced they will not release new comics digitally until the floppies can also be released to stores.

I, personally, think this is a terrible decision. While I understand not wanting to undercut retailers, most of whom are small businesses dependent on their products, that is the only valid reason I can think of...

1. As someone who only reads comics digitally, I am getting screwed. Why can’t I enjoy my hobby while in self-quarantine/social isolation?

2. They are completely eliminating a revenue stream when most (all?) publishers are desperate for revenue to the point of shutting down operations. VALIANT has even told artists and writers who can work from home, “pencils down,” for the foreseeable future because they are lacking in revenue.

3. Floppy readers/collectors will still buy the floppies when they eventually are released. We know this already based on various promotions, publishing strategies, and the book market. Print in terms of collection and reading is not dead.

4. Are there a few readers who might buy the new issue digitally and not buy the floppy down the line? Sure. We have no way to know how many, but I can’t imagine it would be a significant amount. LCS’s might lose some business...and I am sympathetic to that...but their business has been declining for decades. Digital has already played a role in that, but it won’t be the ultimate reason for the failure of the LCS.

5. Maybe, just maybe, at a time when hundreds of millions of people are stuck at home, searching for entertainment, publishers might be able to GROW their readership by offering new digital comics. The extensive catalogue of back issues available digitally is great, but can be overwhelming to new readers. Allowing new readers to come in on the ground floor with a brand new book, or showing them that a series isn’t just going to pause for months on end, could be advantageous.

There’s also creative ways to not let digital release cut into floppy sales. We often see codes for free digital copies when you buy a floppy. How about the reverse? Buy a new issue digitally, get a coupon for 50% off the floppy when it’s released! Buy all 4-5 issues of a story arc, get a discount on the TPB!

I’m sure some old school people will slam me for this, but whatever...


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Re: Decision by publishers to suspend digital new releases...

Post by armlessphelan »

I'm a digital only reader (no LCS), and I am just using this time to catch up on the books I haven't read. I feel like directing digital readers to the back catalog is better business just because of how small (I think 10%) the digital market is compared to print. Valiant and Dynamite seem to be the only ones doing this based on what I've observed. I have no idea what Marvel or DC is doing.
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Re: Decision by publishers to suspend digital new releases...

Post by BugsySig »

armlessphelan wrote:I'm a digital only reader (no LCS), and I am just using this time to catch up on the books I haven't read. I feel like directing digital readers to the back catalog is better business just because of how small (I think 10%) the digital market is compared to print. Valiant and Dynamite seem to be the only ones doing this based on what I've observed. I have no idea what Marvel or DC is doing.
Boom, IDW and Image have all done the same or similar. Marvel is “reducing” their new releases.

With digital at only 10%, as you said, then why. Or just put it out there and get the revenue? Most of that revenue has to be from new releases vs. back issues.


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Decision by publishers to suspend digital new releases...

Post by GGSAE »

It probably has a lot to do with cost cutting measures. To operate digitally they would still have to pay creative talent which I assume would be a large operating expense, but they wouldn’t have the print revenue coming in right away.


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Re: Decision by publishers to suspend digital new releases...

Post by BugsySig »

I would counter with:

1. If you’re not printing it, then it’s less overhead and more profit at a time when you aren’t making any money.

2. A lot of these books are already done, they’re just not releasing them.


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Re: Decision by publishers to suspend digital new releases...

Post by IMJ »

I've always viewed the term "floppies" as a pejorative that came around during the "wait for the trade!" era of BS. When you correlate the term with that era that it started being used, it's pretty clear that was pejorative marketing so as to leave a small queue in the minds of collectors during that time where the industry swore up and down that monthlies weren't the way of the future and that comics were going to follow more of a manga format with larger anthology releases or tpb releases less frequently.

The marketing failed and it never caught on, but it was serious conversation back in '08 - '10 or so when it was being pushed. "Floppies" as a slightly frowned upon, old, archaic format when publishers like Marvel where pushing a bit for a format change. This was the same era that a mouth breather who bought into the marketing would say this sentence to you with the proper intonation:

-said with a tone that frowns upon the action - "You buying the floppies or...."
-said with a tone that's falsely positive as if you work in an office and trying to create buy-in for the worst idea ever "....you waitin' for the trade?"

"Floppies". Monthlies.

I feel like I remember that it was mostly Quesada who was pushing that agenda.

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Re: Decision by publishers to suspend digital new releases...

Post by nycjadie »

I think there are many reasons not to publish digitally first.

People buy print comics. They create and attract more buzz, collectibility, eyeballs, and dollars than digital. Very, very rarely does a digital release attract so much buzz that a print monthly follow.

Releasing digital before print will *SQUEE* sales of the print copies, especially if the quarantines last through the summer, which I have a feeling is very possible to happen.

Print books pay for the creation of the books, and pay for salaries, etc.

Print books support comic stores, which keep comic publishers in business. If shops get stuck with sales of books that have already been released and are not returnable, that's not good for the stores where 90% of their revenue on books come from.

I liken it to releasing movies in the theater. If they releases digitally first, most people won't end of up going to the theater at all, opting instead to watch it on streaming. It's much more convenient and economical if you are a family.

Sure, if Bloodshot goes back to the big screen, there are a number of folks who will go out to see it, but they will be the anomaly hard-core die-hard fans.

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Re: Decision by publishers to suspend digital new releases...

Post by armlessphelan »

nycjadie wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:03:04 pm
People buy print comics. They create and attract more buzz, collectibility, eyeballs, and dollars than digital. Very, very rarely does a digital release attract so much buzz that a print monthly follow.
I know that sometimes digital comics do get print collections, but floppies of digital first series almost never happen. I think Valiant did that with Valiant High and the physical release sold HORRIBLY.
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Re: Decision by publishers to suspend digital new releases...

Post by grendeljd »

I was looking forward to buying digital copies of any of my top current favourite new releases, to get by during this pandemic & have *something* new to look forward to.

I would have still bought print copies later of anything I bought digitally - I already do that with a few series (Lazarus & Immortal Hulk) that I just can’t even wait for a trip to the lcs.
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Re: Decision by publishers to suspend digital new releases...

Post by BugsySig »

grendeljd wrote:I was looking forward to buying digital copies of any of my top current favourite new releases, to get by during this pandemic & have *something* new to look forward to.

I would have still bought print copies later of anything I bought digitally - I already do that with a few series (Lazarus & Immortal Hulk) that I just can’t even wait for a trip to the lcs.
See I think this is more of the norm than not, and companies might actually be able to double up on sales in some aspects. I really only think it would help, not hurt the publishers’ bottom line. The LCS on the other hand might lose some business, but there are already plans for more return ability, and my idea for a print discount (with the difference made up for by the publisher?) would help eliminate some of that until (if) the market returns to normal.

I’m also not talking digital firsts...just releasing completed books scheduled for delivery digitally on their original date while the “monthlies” sit in boxes somewhere or haven’t even been printed yet. Stuff that’s already in the can and creators have been paid for.

I would also think the creator owned series would WANT to release digitally and keep their revenue going. Those books already make so little profit, cutting the physical publication and selling digital in the meantime seems like a sound strategy.


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Re: Decision by publishers to suspend digital new releases...

Post by GGSAE »

BugsySig wrote:
grendeljd wrote:I was looking forward to buying digital copies of any of my top current favourite new releases, to get by during this pandemic & have *something* new to look forward to.

I would have still bought print copies later of anything I bought digitally - I already do that with a few series (Lazarus & Immortal Hulk) that I just can’t even wait for a trip to the lcs.
See I think this is more of the norm than not, and companies might actually be able to double up on sales in some aspects. I really only think it would help, not hurt the publishers’ bottom line. The LCS on the other hand might lose some business, but there are already plans for more return ability, and my idea for a print discount (with the difference made up for by the publisher?) would help eliminate some of that until (if) the market returns to normal.

I’m also not talking digital firsts...just releasing completed books scheduled for delivery digitally on their original date while the “monthlies” sit in boxes somewhere or haven’t even been printed yet. Stuff that’s already in the can and creators have been paid for.

I would also think the creator owned series would WANT to release digitally and keep their revenue going. Those books already make so little profit, cutting the physical publication and selling digital in the meantime seems like a sound strategy.


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I don’t think it’s as simple as these companies just focusing on digital. We don’t know their capital structure; I can tell you from working in a medium-sized company that for publishers to operate in any capacity there will be large divisions of the company (operations, finance, etc etc) that would need to be operating resulting in very high operating costs in an environment with little revenues - as opposed to shutting everything down and minimizing costs.

I’m not familiar with the US subsidies for corporations, but if a company doesn’t completely shut down in an effort to try to operate at a very-reduced scale, wouldn’t it hinder their chance at funding?


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Re: Decision by publishers to suspend digital new releases...

Post by BugsySig »

GGSAE wrote:
BugsySig wrote:
grendeljd wrote:I was looking forward to buying digital copies of any of my top current favourite new releases, to get by during this pandemic & have *something* new to look forward to.

I would have still bought print copies later of anything I bought digitally - I already do that with a few series (Lazarus & Immortal Hulk) that I just can’t even wait for a trip to the lcs.
See I think this is more of the norm than not, and companies might actually be able to double up on sales in some aspects. I really only think it would help, not hurt the publishers’ bottom line. The LCS on the other hand might lose some business, but there are already plans for more return ability, and my idea for a print discount (with the difference made up for by the publisher?) would help eliminate some of that until (if) the market returns to normal.

I’m also not talking digital firsts...just releasing completed books scheduled for delivery digitally on their original date while the “monthlies” sit in boxes somewhere or haven’t even been printed yet. Stuff that’s already in the can and creators have been paid for.

I would also think the creator owned series would WANT to release digitally and keep their revenue going. Those books already make so little profit, cutting the physical publication and selling digital in the meantime seems like a sound strategy.


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I don’t think it’s as simple as these companies just focusing on digital. We don’t know their capital structure; I can tell you from working in a medium-sized company that for publishers to operate in any capacity there will be large divisions of the company (operations, finance, etc etc) that would need to be operating resulting in very high operating costs in an environment with little revenues - as opposed to shutting everything down and minimizing costs.

I’m not familiar with the US subsidies for corporations, but if a company doesn’t completely shut down in an effort to try to operate at a very-reduced scale, wouldn’t it hinder their chance at funding?


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Now that’s a good question. I hadn’t considered the possibility of economic relief funds playing a role.


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