Marvel Comics is about to test the potential strength of its digital audience by releasing both print and digital versions of the same comic on the same day for the first time. Marvel announced today that June 30th will see the release of Invincible Iron Man Annual #1 as both one 80-page comic book in direct market stores across the US and three digital chapters through Marvel’s own iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch app, finally pitting each format against each other in a fair contest… well, almost.
The print version of Invincible Iron Man Annual costs $4.99, according to Marvel’s own solicitations. However, Marvel generally sells its digital releases for $1.99 each, and if they consider each of the three chapters of the Annual as three separate releases, then the digital Annual will end up costing 98 cents more than the print version, potentially skewing the results (When asked about pricing of the digital releases, Marvel declined to comment). Is this a move to appease direct market retailers who’ll undoubtedly be upset about losing business to Marvel’s own app, or simply an attempt to maximize profits? And will a higher price even impact digital sales?
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