Are Comics a Dead-End?

I ask this question somewhat facetiously… because I obviously work in comics (and have two books in production).  Everyone wants to lament how the business is dying and complain about how hard it is to make money. The latter may be all too true, but the statistics don’t actually back the former up.

In fact, 2012 was the best comics sales year of the millenium.

  • Overall, sales of digital comics are growing nicely.  Digital sales tripled last year, to $70 million.
  • The print side saw sales gains of 15%, to $750 million.

One of the reasons comics are doing well is because of digital distribution. In the world of ebooks, there are only a few players in the game: Amazon, Apple, and (barely) Barnes & Noble. The diverse range of comics distributors — both third-party organizations and publishers themselves — mean that users can pick and choose where they shop without sacrificing title availability. This fragmentation also allows for comics companies to pick and choose the way their comics are sold.

Comixology is leading the charge for digital comic distributors. The digital comics distributor was the third-highest grossing iPad app of 2012 and is closing in on 200 million downloads.

Exciting things are happening in digital comics and users get markedly different experiences between print and their devices — creating a separate realm for digital comics that doesn’t cannibalize print. So don’t give up the fight.

Comixology-A

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