comScore Digital Sales of Justice League | The Mary Sue
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Jim Lee Says Justice League #1 Is “Setting Records” Digitally… but Won’t Quote Actual Records

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It’s also setting records digitally. I can’t give numbers, but on the first day it set a record for us.

So sayeth Jim Lee, Co-Publisher of DC Comics and illustrator of Justice League #1, in an interview with Salon. Actual numbers would, indeed, be quite the jumping off point for a great deal of analysis, and could even say quite a lot about the future of digital distribution. Lets take a moment and look at all the ways having actual numbers on the reboot’s sales might turn out: Could DC have sold more digital copies than hard copies of Justice League? Would we see digital numbers fall over time, as newer readers entranced by the reboot’s publicity either lose interest or move to buying from comics stores just like everybody keeps hoping they will? Would we see digital numbers grow over time, as DCnU titles reach the one-month/dollar-cheaper mark?

Whether DC is unwilling to release real statistics on their sales at this point because those numbers are in some way embarrassing or simply because they like to play this sort of thing close to the vest is impossible to tell.

Another interesting tidbit from the Salon article is that Lee seems refreshingly blasé about piracy:

Obviously there are going to be some people who convert from print to digital. They may already have done that or are doing that. When Justice League came out [in digital form], there was already a pirated digital version that had been out for six hours. For me it’s all about giving people who want digital comics a legal alternative. And I think that’s an important decision for the health of our business.

Would it be nitpicky to say that maybe then those digital comics should become available at midnight, or 8am, or 10am (the opening time of pretty much every comic book store I’ve ever regularly patronized) the morning of the release date? Or is a window of at the least four hours inconsequential in the lives of comic book readers?

Judging from my experiences watching digital distribution in the video game industry, a four hour difference between the release of the hard copy of a game and the availability of a digital download would at the very least be seen as completely illogical and unnecessary. At worst, there would be a fan outcry about the video game industry acquiescing to the unreasonable demands of a vestigial retail distribution method.

That said, even though I think those that say digital distribution will be good for brick and mortar stores are being absurdly optimistic, a good comic shop is still a much more than vestigial part of the industry.

(via The Comics Reporter.)

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