DC Comics, home to popular series such as Batman, Superman and Green Lantern, is offering digital editions of new comic books the same day as print editions hit retail – a move that has yet to be adopted by the comics publishing industry in general, even as digital versions are sometimes offered after the print date. Courtesy of the program, new installments in the recent reboots of all 52 featured comic books it produces are now being provided in both digital and physical formats simultaneously. Part of an initiative targeted at turning around slumping readership numbers, the storied publisher hopes to boost comics’ declining fan base while drumming up support for its new story arcs.
New digital comics will cost $2.99, dropping to just $1.99 after a month, while oversized and giant issues are priced at $3.99. Available for Apple iOS platforms such as the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad via dedicated apps and digital comics distributor ComiXology, Android and Windows Phone 7 device owners can also access fresh issues every Wednesday. Free previews will further be offered, and purchases will be readable offline so fans can enjoy the publisher’s entire “New 52” line, which resets all featured characters’ series to issue #1, at their leisure.
While apps offer few features beyond interactive browsing, and other publishers like Marvel have dabbled with virtual distribution before, the push marks a major comic manufacturer’s first attempt to fully embrace same-day digital outreach. Described by technology commentators as a watershed moment for online retail, if the venture is successful, it could pave the way for comics and graphic novels’ switch to the Internet as a primary distribution platform.