Potential read-of-the-day: Mark Millar explaining why he’s against simultaneous day-and-date print and digital releases for comics:
I really think day and date release is a disastrous idea and makes no economic sense at all to comics as a business. It’s potentially ruinous for comic stores, and in the long term it’s not going to do publishers any favors either. I see the attraction on a very superficial level. They think they’re cutting out the middle men and all the guys taking a piece of their gross, but there’s an equivalent number of hidden costs in digital too, and it’s short term thinking to obliterate the life-blood of the medium.
There’s a lot, lot more in the piece itself, which I highly recommend checking out.
I can see where Millar’s coming from, but I think he’s wrong in a number of places; if nothing else, I think the experience of DC’s New 52 launch has pushed back significantly against the idea of simultaneous print/digital releases as “potentially ruinous” for comic stores, considering print sales rose dramatically across the line (in the short-term, at least. Long-term, of course, it remains to be seen what’ll happen), and I think he’s ignoring a sizable new audience by writing off digital as a tertiary market akin to movies playing on television years after release – Haven’t both Marvel and DC indicated that digital audiences seem to be in addition to, and not replacing, the direct market readership in their experience?
That said, I kind of love his commentary about the importance of good direct market retailers:
Retailers are as big a part of comics now as the characters or the creators. They’re not just an outlet. These are carefully crafted communities and owned and staffed by people with a genuine passion for what they’re doing in a way that the ‘Amazon Also Recommends’ box isn’t quite going to match.
Seriously, go read the piece. Agree or disagree with him, I think this might be the kind of thing we need more of to have a real conversation about where digital fits in with the current comic industry, and where it should fit in going forwards.