The short answer is no, but that’s not how one retailer felt after a tweet Kurtz put out into the internets inquiring about Justice League #1. The webcomic creator told the story on his Google+ account, seeming not to be picking a fight, but just genuinely baffled.
“”So wait, can I just buy Justice League #1 on my iPad now? Do I even need to go to a shop?”
Immediately my followers let me know the facts. Yes. I can purchase it via the comixology app. For the exact cost of the print version (no discount). If you want to skip the store today. Fair enough.
And the truth is, I do. I want to skip the store today. I do not want to drive to Lynnwood to purchase a $3.99 comic out of curiosity. I don’t collect floppies. I don’t polybag. I don’t fill longboxes. I’m fine reading this digitally with the idea that I’m kinda only “renting” the comic anyway.
Then, I got a twitter reply from a retailer who said:
“@pvponline with the disdain you seem to have for us brick and mortars, it makes me wonder why I carry PVP books in my shop”
Which I found unsettling and very telling. He followed up to let me know that “the tone of [my] post made it seem as though comic shops don’t provide any value-add or service.”"
Kurtz goes on to analyze the retailer’s statement, and finds that in some cases, the answer is unfortunately, “no, they don’t.”
He told about how personally he makes more money selling PVP books directly than he does selling them through Diamond. He talked about the simple ease of getting books digitally or from an online store.
So it does beg the question: What do retailers need to do to continue providing “value-add” to customers who have an increasing ability to pick up their wares more easily?