The Cheapskate Comic Reader
Another problem with the American comic book industry is the issue of price. If you haven’t purchased a comic book lately, stop and check out the pricing next time you see one. Your average book will cost you three to four dollars. For about 23 pages. It only takes about 15 minutes to read a comic. That’s 15 minutes of enjoyment for the same price as an On-Demand movie. That’s a hard purchase to justify month after month, especially if you read multiple titles.
But comic fans, we’re a different breed. Where some of you might watch soap operas or weekly tv shows to find your escape, we use comic books, and we’re more than willing to pay for the fun we get out of them. Except…
We used to actually get something from them. Comic book stores have been disappearing, grocery and convenience stores have stopped carrying them, and we’re even losing the book stores that used to carry graphic novels and trade paperbacks. Increasing numbers of comics and fans have been moving online, converting to a digital market that can easily meet the demands of both long-time and new fans. Except…
We’re still paying the same prices for the digital comics. We are paying the same price for a digital product as we are for one that we used to covet as a collectible item. Four dollars for a product that cost Marvel Comics literally nothing to print.
Now, just so you know: I have virtually no problem with DC Comics’ digital pricing structure. It’s about as perfect as possible. Three dollars for a brand new comic, but if you wait a month, until the newest issue comes out, you pay two dollars for last month’s issue. I think that’s a completely fair pricing structure.
Marvel, on the other hand, seems to be doing its best to take every dime from your pockets. New issues of “hot” titles (Avengers, X-Books, Spider-Man) all sell for four dollars. I’m not sure why. I can only assume the paper they’re printed on is higher quality. What irritates me, though, is they rarely drop their prices. I’ve been trying to catch up on two titles lately, The Invincible Iron Man and Uncanny X-Force. Both books are high quality. I’ve enjoyed them immensely. When I started reading them, the issues cost two dollars each. I assumed the price would increase as I got closer to the current issues, and I was right. As I went to buy issues from OVER A YEAR AGO, the price increased. If I wanted to continue to read issues that probably weren’t even relevant to the Marvel Universe anymore, I had to pay the same price as I would to buy a book releasing this week.
The comic industry wants everyone to thing that they’re open and inviting to brand-new readers, but this is just one more reason why they could care less, as long as you’ve got the cash.