DC Price Parity

Another letter to retailers has been sent this afternoon from Bob Wayne detailing digital pricing.

[quote]As a follow-up to my first letter, we wanted to provide some immediate specifics on September:


We know that you want more details on the creative teams and their title-by-title assignments for the launch. . (And by the way, let me just reiterate this point: this is the launch of the New DCU. It is not a “reboot.” I think you will soon discover why that is.) We will send you an e-mail with more creative details next week, as a teaser in advance of the solicitation copy for Previews going live on the 13th. Once solicit copy is released, we will be sending you a short introductory video, starring our creators and our content. We will also be taking this act on the road, for a series of retailer meetings in markets including New York, Dallas/Fort Worth, Baltimore, Chicago, and Los Angeles, during the days leading up to the release of the physical Previews catalog. Stay tuned for more details, and send us a note to make sure you’re on the invite list.


To clarify from my last note, we will be at “price-parity” for same-day digital. No DC digital comic will be cheaper than its physical counterpart at launch. Same-day (a.k.a. “Day/ Date”) parity pricing is for the first four weeks of release; thereafter, the digital titles will follow our standard pricing, with $2.99 comics dropping in price to $1.99, $3.99 comics dropping in price to $2.99, and so forth. Keep in mind that our goal with our 52 new #1s will be to ensure that the physical comic book is more compelling than ever!

Additionally, we will be offering you an additional special “combo pack” for Justice League. This is a Diamond-exclusive $4.99 physical polybagged JUSTICE LEAGUE comic which will contain a redemption code for a digital copy on the inside cover. So consumers will have three main ways to read Justice League beginning August 31st – $3.99 physical, the $4.99 combo pack, and $3.99 digital. As mentioned above, after four weeks the digital-only price drops to $2.99, per our standard price for oversized digital titles.


For optimal sales impact, each of our 52 titles will have one of three distinct incentives:

a) Variants

For variants, we chose our core iconic titles, the ones that you tell us your consumers want most. And of course, we sought out those titles with the most compelling visuals. At a minimum, this variant plan will be offered for September, October, and November. We will be offering variants on five different titles, with at least one each week.

· 1:25 variant

JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 – 8/31 in-store. This cover will have a 1:25 ordering incentive.

· Weekly targeted variant

FLASH #1 – 9/28 in-store. Retailers may order at FOC up to as many copies of the FLASH #1 variant as were ordered at FOC of their lowest-ordered DCU title for the 9/28 in-store week. (This is an example; each week will feature a title with a variant following this incentive pattern.)

b) Deep Discounting

For deeper discounts, we chose to spotlight potential break-out titles which can help you focus your staff and your customers. Books that have a compelling creator, an obvious jumping-on point for your readers, etc. We will be offering an additional 15% discount on six different titles for orders placed by FOC, effectively giving you a 50% to 72% discount spread, instead of our normal 35% to 57% spread. At a minimum, this deep discounting will be offered for September, October, and November. The lead title is WONDER WOMAN with five others that will be announced next week.

c) Returnability

We are backing up our commitment to you and this launch, by putting our copies where are mouths are. We will be offering 100% Returnability on all of the remaining 41 titles. Returnability across the rest of the 52 allows the breadth of these titles to get their fair chance with your consumers. This comes with a qualifier – your total post-FOC September orders in dollars for DC periodicals must be 125% or more of your May post-FOC orders for DC periodicals.

As with prior returnable programs, qualifying retailers will be required to return stripped covers from the returnable issues along with an affidavit of destruction to Diamond Comic Distributors at a date to be named later. Retailers will then be issued credit for each copy, minus 10% of the cover price. At a minimum, this returnability program will be offered for September, October, and November.

Call or e-mail me or my team with any questions.

Thank you for your enthusiasm, your patience, and your partnership. Come make history with us!

Bob Wayne[/quote]

I can’t believe DC thinks variant covers are going to promote physical comics sales over digital.  Price parity for the first four weeks after a new comic release should give some confidence to comic store owners and add some extra profit to DC’s bottom line since the digital version has cut out the additional expense of the printer, printing and shipping.

June 13th is the big day with DC releasing it’s September 2011 solicitations and full details about the launch.  Stay tuned!

Scott VanderPloeg
Scott VanderPloeg

Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at AE Index and eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans.

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