I'm not sure I would say "smacks of Marvel trying to placate retailers", only because that sounds negative, but yes I think to make it work at all, you have to have the retailers not only support, but get something from it. So yes they have to give the retailers something also.Consumers who download the free copies will be able to identify the store where they purchased the print copy, which will entitle the retailer to a $.50 bounty, credited through Diamond Comic Distributors.
Marvel also plans to use the download program to support retailers in other ways, including e-mail blasts to consenting download consumers to let them know when the second issue is available in-store. Marvel is also developing several additional programs, including bounties for additional purchases made by customers that identify a retailer as the place they bought the initial book; couponing to digital customers to support in-store sales; and e-mails to digital customers to support in-store events.
As to retailers taking out the codes.... I agree with what lemurion said... I would be extremely annoyed at that retailer... The codes are for the person paying for the book. I would not buy from that person again. What Brian is doing, thats his choice, and I have no issue with him running his business the way he wants.
And again if the buyer decides to go all digital?? That would probably happen anyway. Its a significant enough change to how you read that it won't be a spur of the moment decision. Some people will move in this direction ANYWAY. Some won't until they are forced to, which probably won't happen in our lifetimes, unless marvel and dc find it economical to do. This isn't going to hasten the switch. Cheaper tablets would. marvel is probably banking on a certain percentage to redeem the codes. They don't make a lot of (any) money of the book if they are paying $.50 bounties.
I am sure the program will need work. But at least its something. Which brings us to...