Shawn Pryor, the mastermind behind PKD Media (and the Noisy Award nominated podcast PKD Media Black Box) asked on Twitter what on the surface seems to be a very simple question: “If you were able to buy a digital comic book that came with a PDF/eBook/CBZ/CBR/Kindle version (all DRM free) would you buy it for 2.99?”
My immediate answer was “ It depends on the comic book.”
However, as I thought about it more, I was dissatisfied with my answer. Yes, it depends on the comic book, but since Shawn is the Founder of Action Lab Entertainment, I’m pretty sure this isn’t just a random question, but rather a harbinger of his company’s plans and it should be answered with a little more consideration.
So here it is my little more consideration:
The $2.99 price point is a decent one for the big comic book companies releasing dozens of comic books a month to a mainstream audience. Personally, I think $2.50 is a much sweeter spot and anything lower than that is ridiculous if the companies want to make a profit on their overall line. However, $2.99 is too much for a digital comic book because I believe that most comic book buyers see digital as something that is in addition to and not as a replacement for comic books. I think that if a comic book were ordered from an online retailer (either an publisher’s site, a regular online store or from the website of their LCS ) and a digital version were offered to for immediate download while the physical copy was in transit, most people wouldn’t bat an eye at getting both.
[Notice that I said comic book BUYERS. There are a lot of comic book readers out there who download digital comics with no intention of ever buying it, whether it is a physical or digital copy. Those people shouldn’t even factor into any future digital plans, so don’t sweat them.]
Since PKD Media is a small but up and coming publisher, they don’t have a track record with most of the comic book buyers. This can work in their favor because a lot of their probable digital comic book consumers will be familiar with their work and would be more inclined to take a chance on their titles.
I am glad that Shawn isn’t even considering DRM because that helps no one except for the companies that sell DRM “solutions” and their employees.
I know this isn’t really all that coherent or well researched, but if it was, it really wouldn’t be a Derek Coward production, you know? I hope this helps a little, Shawn. And whatever PKD decides to do, do it for the long-term and don’t change your mind after a few months