Brace yourself, this may be hard to hear. According to iFanboy, DC Comics is doing something innovative. Shocking, right? A company that I’ve often labeled as the poster child of old media has a pretty awesome new digital distribution scheme. Let me break it down with bullet points:
- Two new books set in the Batman Beyond universe, Batman Beyond and Justice League Beyond, are being launched as digital products. None of this “buy it in the store for $3, get it on your iPad for $2” nonsense.
- The stories will be released in weekly chapters, not issues. I’m not really sure what that means, but I’m envisioning micro-stories of sort, amounting to six pages or so. Which is perfect for a digital product.
- At the end of every month the chapters from both Batman Beyond and Justice League Beyond will be collected into a 48 page print product called Batman Beyond Unlimited.
This is really interesting to me because it’s basically taking the trade paperback model and giving it a monthly turnover. It’s still a somewhat broken system, in that DC is trying to funnel people from digital products into print products, instead of the other way around (FYI, DC! Less overhead on digital products means you make more money on those sales if you’re doing it right), but it’s a really exciting prospect nonetheless. People who buy monthly comics will still be able to do that without issue, but the emerging market of people who have an iPad and are willing to pay for weekly stories now actually have something available to them.
In ten years I could see this being the norm… cheap digital stories every week with only the “big” comics (Batman, Action Comics, Barack the Barbarian) getting monthly trades. I think I’d like that.