Just when I think different media industries are finally getting that they must adapt, I catch an interview or a story that tells me otherwise. Such a case happened today with IGN's interview with Hank Kanalz, DC's Senior Vice President of Digital.
It appears, that just like the music industry, Kanalz and DC don't get digital. Heck, they don't get evolution of the marketplace. Here's a tip, DC: PRINT IS DYING. Sure, guys like our own Nick Winstead will SWEAR that they won't read a digital comic. They HAVE to feel the pages in their hands. Have to smell the pages. No matter that digital copies will produce a higher quality copy, you can take it with you, you save paper, and it will be cheaper.
Oh wait. Hold up on that last part. Because while DC is releasing new digital comics the same day as print copies hit brick-and-mortar stores, the price is the same as the print versions. Let's hear from Kanalz on why that is. "Our goal is to provide choice, not lead readers to one format or the other based on price. Equal pricing leaves the choice up to our fans to pick the format they prefer."
There are two ways to translate that. One, DC doesn't want to tick off brick-and-mortar retailers. Two, DC is greedy. Regarding the former, WHO CARES? Brick-and-mortar comic shops know they have to adapt or they'll have to close. Regular book sellers are doing that. Heck, I was in a bookstore in Asheville, NC last month. They were selling digital copies in the store. If someone didn't want to buy the hardcover, they could buy a digital version. The employees provide the in-depth knowledge to help customers, but they allow CHOICE amongst price points with their titles. That bookstore is doing very well. Comic Book shops will have to adapt as well.
Besides, there will be plenty of readers that will want to buy print copies as long as it's an option. They'll still buy those versions from the stores.
Regarding DC being greedy, my reasoning is that it comes down to production costs. With digital copies, there is a ZERO MARGINAL COST. That means it doesn't cost any more to print the 2nd or 10th or 1 millionth copy as it does the first. That is absolutely not the case with print. Rather than cut the cost for digital, DC has decided to keep the extra cash for themselves.
But hey, DC reduces prices on digital comics a whole dollar a month after release! So if you don't want to overpay for a digital copy, you can wait a month! Meanwhile, all of your friends have talked about the issue and they've moved on. So you DO have a choice to buy digital. You just have to overpay for it.
Wanna know the best thing about the interview? Kanalz and DC take their viewpoint even further. "We've been testing digital comics for a year now, and have seen extremely positive responses in both markets (digital and the direct market). All evidence pointed to digital being additive to the overall business."
WOW. So at a time where readers are still complaining about the increase in cover price of the print edition, DC wants to keep the digital price high. Even though the folks they're finding that read digital comics ARE NEW CUSTOMERS. As in customers that don't buy comics. This industry is struggling. Kids today don't buy print books. They read things on a Kindle or iPad. Cut the price and bring more of them in.
But hey, that would be reasonable and forward thinking. DC wants to fight change. Kinda like how people fought the bulldozer. Why have a machine that can do the work when you can have 50 guys working with shovels? Screw progress.