Hermes Press LogoWithout my noticing Hermes Press has begun offering their newspaper strip reprints as digital comics through Comixology. This is a positive offshoot of the reprint business, although these books already reach an audience far outside that of the comic shop circle. What struck me was the price tag: $12.99 – $24.99 for material that is $40 – $60 in print.

That is a huge difference, and one that in light of all the publishing arguments already put forth seems dangerous. Putting together a newspaper reprint book takes time, and a good amount of it, for scanning and corrections. With this very low digital price point it’s as if Hermes Press is saying “we’re already covered production costs through the print version, let’s see what digital gets us”.

Brenda Starr, Reporter Vol 1 cover

The volume that caught my eye was Brenda Starr, Reporter Volume 1. Print edition $60, digital $13.99. I then took a look at Buck Rogers Volume 1: print $40, digital $12.99, and The Phantom Volume 1: print $60, digital $24.99. These are older volumes: Brenda Starr is the newest, in print since January 2012.

Oddly, all the digital editions have a different number of pages versus the print editions. Brenda Starr has 288 print pages but 210 digital pages. Buck Rogers has 336 print pages but 322 digital pages. The Phantom has 272 print pages versus 274 digital pages. Descriptions of the books show the same content for both editions. It’s a mystery.