Talking Digital Comics With ComiXology’s David Steinberger

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You’re about to celebrate the release of your first print comic, right?

Yes! Yes, it comes out this Wednesday, Box 13. We got our comp copies last Friday. It’s published by Red5, but co-published by us, we have our logo on the cover and our names are on the inside, and it’s great. It looks amazing, they got some beautiful paper, and the printers did a great job. It’s very cool, you know?

The reason we made this was, I don’t know if you remember but Apple used to require that App purchases had to be sold, you couldn’t give them away for free. We released right when they did in-app purchases, mid-July last year, so we had to sell it for 99 cents. We were looking for two things, one was a way to get people to buy the app – which turned out not to be so hard, because there was so much free content in it – but the second thing was, to get people to open it up every week to see what was new and to shop. And the reason we thought of Box 13 was a comic that was (a) made for the device size and worked with the technology properly, and (b) was something for people to look forward to every week and get them to open the app. So when Apple changed the apps to be free, all the comic book apps moved to be free, but it had a great response, and was part of our experiment to be part of one holistic experience. We thought, we’ve built an audience for it in digital, let’s see how it does in print.

I don’t think we’re going to be a big producer of our own comic content. You will see some more Box 13 for sure, but it’s not really going to be our position in the market. We’re much more about empowering the market, and the industry, to get into digital and become more accessible in print as well. This just happened to be a fun project by a couple of great creators. It’ll be really fun to see our names in the comic stores.

What are you working on right now that people should be looking for in the future?

We’re launching the store portion of our website, which should be opening shortly, so you’ll be able to buy comics on That’s a huge deal for us, because it allows creators and publishers to link directly to the product. It’s a really great opportunity to make it more sharable, and the fact that you won’t need to have an iPhone or an iPad to buy comics will be a big deal. We’ve got a couple of good publisher announcements over the next few weeks, and San Diego Comic-Con should see some more things being announced.

The website, I think, puts a big stake in the ground to show that we’re not a one-trick-pony about buying things on the iPhone, we are literally the only company where you can buy on the iPhone or the web and read either place. All the other stores, you can’t transfer your purchases to any other device. We’re going to keep adding extentions to platforms, you’re going to see us working diligently on that, and more ways to make the industry more cohesive in terms of digital and print. Considering we just added our fourth employee, that’s probably enough [Laughs].

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