Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

January 2, 2014

100 Comics Positives For 2013: Marvel's "Accidental" Digital Strategy


Marvel's bookstore policy has long been an industry focal point of complaint in that what they publish, when they publish, what they keep in print and how they emphasize all of these things doesn't seem to pass any sort of sit-down-and-think-rationally test. This is frustrating primarily in that they have partners to achieve these goals, and those partners are sometimes left holding the bag. I'm not sure the company's digital comics policy is any more thought out, but whereas a lot of my comics reading friends have expressed frustration in my direction over not being able to find this work or that work in book form, no one really complains to me about the digital policy. In fact, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I have a number of friends who read a lot of books from Marvel this way, either through their constant discounting of major event-driven storylines at various times or through their "unlimited" package that gives you massive chunks of material all at once. What they may have stumbled into -- like a stumbling smart-ass fox or just stumbling, who can say? -- is that the new comics reader and his cousin the recidivist comics reader may be so elusive at this point that multiple entry points of all sizes and shapes may be more important on-line than any rational strategy. Call it the balancing truth of the "customers want to be told what to buy" school. In the end, it may be impossible to out-think a collective pool of appetites. It may be best just to leave plates of food around and see what gets nibbled. At any rate, I see more happy readers of this material than I would have bet $100,000 I'd ever see again from my pool of friends and acquaintances, so I'll push this into the positives for the year.
posted 12:55 pm PST | Permalink

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