And I am absolutely willing to order copies of this title for any customer who specifically requests it -- I am simply not willing to spend MY money in promoting it.
I definitely admire the stand. I know if I were in your shoes I would just suck it up and order the book (as I think most customers will tend toward #1 on momaw's list) while being seriously irked at Marvel, but I truly do admire your willingness to not stand for Marvel's tactics.
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According to Steve Whacker at NYCC's Spider-Man panel this is an experiment. If people actively use the codes they'll be more apt to do this more. Otherwise you'll have to pay for the print and the digital separate. I view this as the same as when you go to Best Buy and purchase Thor on Blu-Ray and you get the digital download. Best Buy isn't ripping copies off the shelf so that they don't compete with digital. It's a value add to their customers. It's all in how you can sell it. As a good retailer Brian should be able to turn this into a positive for his customers. Again, if someone told me I'm getting more value for my $3.99 then I'm more apt to make a purchase I otherwise wouldn't.
Maybe everyone should be encouraged not to buy this particular title.
I'd like to see Marvel take a hit, or at least a nudge.
Whether it's snotty Twitter comments about the Distinguished Competition, or obvious double-speak about how certain storylines and initiatives (such as the .1 comics) are working super-successfully, so much that comes out of Marvel's mouth(s) seems like a never-ending flood of PR. They treat us all like idiots.
Brian says Marvel told him that ALL versions of the Avenging Spidey #1 issue had to have the digital code on it because all of their advertising said so? That's just a blatant lie. It's obviously not true. But Marvel seems to be in the habit of just instantly making up any lie that will do.
Similarly, they say that the .1 comics were supposed to bring in new readers.
When people point out that most of those comics aren't good jumping-on points at all--Marvel just spins and says that they were an enormous success. Yet if you look at the sales figures, the .1 issues are right in line with the usual numbers for their respective series--and sometimes the .1 issues sold fewer copies. So it stands to reason that very few new readers are jumping on board, but Marvel will not admit any fallibility at all. Personally, I've actually liked the .1 comics I've read--but Marvel feels the need to play this game of lying about what is really going on just so they can keep up appearances and pretend that what they've said in their initial PR campaign was correct.
When some of these guys get done working at Marvel, they really should go work for FoxNews, or MSNBC, or either political party. Because these guys just lie right to our faces and are completely shameless about toeing the company lie no matter how blatantly fallacious it gets.
Second of all, does what he say even make sense? If the print + digital-for-free initiative is successful then they WON'T offer digital and print separately--i.e., they'll keep giving us digital copies for free? THE WHOLE POINT IS TO CREATE AN AUDIENCE FOR DIGITAL. So you actually trust them when they say that they hope to create an audience for digital comics...but they aren't going to make people pay for digital comics? Don't you see the PR spin here? They've already gotten people to see this as a print/digital package--which makes them think that they're paying for digital already--when that's really a bonus digital copy. They only want to package things this way until they can get a sizable portion of the audience used to buying comics digitally, so they can cut out the middle man and make higher profits that way. It's obvious.
I've no doubt that this Avenging Spidey issue is an "experiment", but Whacker frames things in ways meant to quiet people down and get them to stop looking at the big picture. "It's only an experiment. No big deal. If it's successful, then we'll just bundle digital and print together forever." Why would MARVEL even want to keep doing that? Why would they WANT to keep giving out freebees that they could charge for? They wouldn't. They don't. They're only giving it away in order to create a reliable digital audience that can be catered to and profited off of more than they can profit off of the regular audience.
But people don't see this. They act like everything is just so innocent and that Marvel really just wants to help them.
Then you have the digital utopians who wonder why Marvel isn't already charging $0.99 digitally for every Marvel comic when it comes out. The answer is simple: because there isn't an audience for that. There isn't even a big enough audience for Marvel to sell $2.99 same-day digital comics. The only reason why they do things like this digital/print bundle deal is BECAUSE there isn't a big enough digital audience. The facts of what is really going on are all there if people just want to observe them.
Last edited by DarkBeast; 10-21-2011 at 12:21 PM.
Movie studios have started including digital copies (partly) because they think one of the main reasons people torrent/pirate movies is for the convenience of being able to play them on all of their devices (iPad, smart-phone, netbook, Xbox, etc.) They're basically saying "Look, we'll GIVE you a digital copy if you just stop downloading and start buying, ok?" Like you said, it's also a value-add for the customer, so maybe they'll think the physical purchase is worth it and not just rent or download the movie.
Best Buy has nothing to lose - it's not like Sony (or whoever) is trying to sell movies out from under them (by selling them digitally, direct to the customer).
Marvel, like Darkbeast said, is looking to build an audience for digital. Marvel's free digital copy is also an ad for their own digital storefront. If you try this free copy, maybe you'll say "hey, reading comics on my PC / phone isn't so bad after all! What else do they have on here?".
Unlike Best Buy, comic shops have an entire customer to lose if Marvel successfully converts them into a digital-only customer (not that that's necessarily their goal). Sure, the free digital copy adds value to the print version, but it's mainly an opportunity to shatter some barriers between digital comics and potential customers (try this and see if you like it - the first one's free!).
Marvel (and DC, via comixology), as I understand it require you to set up an account, and to use their service to get your digital item.
And the sad thing is, Brian, when this does all happen and Marvel does start trying to steal customers away to digital, they'll claim that it's really just the evolution of their "subscription" program, and that these customers were really theirs all along...
on another note:
I do find it some what paranoid that people look at this as Marvel trying to move people into the digital realm. They already advertise in the books anyway about their app. People are going to buy what they want.
I was more interested in what Brian would have to say about the potential retailer incentives that were part of the program, and less about alleged shady business practices, and anti-polybagging stuff.
Last edited by mwigg1; 10-21-2011 at 03:14 PM.
And though this part is a little off topic, what you say here has me thinking about what happens if it's NOT successful. Seeing as how this was marketed as a way to bring more "value" to their $3.99 books, what happens if most readers don't find the value and redeem the code? Are they going to give us something else, or just say screw it we tried to make you happy, enjoy your 20 page $3.99 comic?Originally Posted by DarkBeast
Before I start, I should mention that I'm currently almost entirely digital, so I'm coming at this in part as a general consumer, and in part as someone who buys comics in digital format.
On the other hand, if they simply choose not to sell it on the racks, that's their decision and I'm fine with that. It's their store, and they get to choose what they carry. Just don't sell me something that's not as advertised because you took the bonus content out.
As for Marvel's inclusion of "free" digital codes with the standard price comic; as a digital customer, I'm p****d. I've spent over $120 on digital comics since the start of September, and here's Marvel telling me they're not worth anything. At least DC's combo pack is explicitly stating that the digital copy has value by making it clear that the combination of print+digital is worth more than either alone.
I still think that price-matching digital to print is overcharging for digital (though I can see the arguments for it even though I don't agree with them entirely) but that's not the same as saying they should be free.
As for poly-bags - I hate them with a passion.
Anyone who thinks DC is bringing back the Silver Age doesn't know what the Silver Age is.
There is no such word as "persay," it's per se, two words, from the Latin.
I started going 100% digital this month too. I don't think the Avenging Spider-Man combo is a rip-off for customers like myself. I just see the digital copy as a freebie extra for folks who like to buy physical books.
I do think that Marvel is overcharging their digital books by price matching them with physical copies.
I can totally understand why Mr. Hibbs is doing what he's doing in regards to Avenging Spider-Man and why he feels Marvel is being underhanded with the way they do solicits and especially the Avenging Spidey solicitation.
On the one hand I want give Marvel kudos for improving their digital offerings (more day-and-date stuff, more collected material at a discount, more 99cent sales). But on the other hand, I am very unhappy with how they are treating brick and mortar retailers. It seems Marvel continuously gives a mixed message in regards to how they treat shop owners.
Shop owners and readers are put in a hard place in these types of situations. Shop owners want to sell a hot book and readers want to read it. If owners refuse to stock it and readers opt out of getting it, it may just create increased demand for a book that "no one would sell" and "should not be read!"
But really, the only way we can send a message to Marvel that we care about our shops is if we do pass on this book and explicitly tell them why we passed on it. I know I'll be doing this.