Digital Comics Apps Top The Charts
MediaBistro recently reported that, according to data from AppData (Inside Network’s data service that tracks both app and developer statistics), comic apps continue to lead all other book apps in their charts. Comixology’s app is number one on the list, followed by the publisher-specific apps for DC Comics (No.2) and Marvel Comics (No.3).
I’ve been following digital data more and more lately, starting when our household got its first iPad last month. “Digital data” is a bit of a misnomer at the moment for comics; there’s very little data to go around on what exactly digital sales are, who the company that’s making the sales is, and who’s buying them, not to mention why and when. That said, it’s incredibly interesting, I think, that comics are in the top three slots in AppData’s list. We can’t be sure about the specific numbers for these apps, but it’s incredibly heartening as a comic fan that the comic apps are selling better than apps for kids (4, 6, 9) and the Bible (7, 10). The Bible!
As I sit here and feel guilty for having a ton of comics on my iPad but no Bible (it’s alright, I’m Catholic, guilt comes naturally) here’s three more things happening in digital comics worth talking about:
1. DC is Doing Stuff Right
As I mentioned above, there is very little data about digital comic sales to go around right now. But if there was info available, I have a strong suspicion that DC Comics would be leading (if not lapping) the competition in terms of sales. DC has been fairly close to flawless with its digital content, especially since the DCnU started. The DCnU line is day-and-digital, which means that the digital editions are released concurrent with the traditional newsstand copies. This really helps keep everything equal, and expand the ability of people to sample a particular digital book the same day as they’d have normally bought it at their local store. Kudos, DC.
2. Marvel (So Far) is Not
You know how I mentioned that it’s really, really nice to know that a comic is going to come out digitally the same day as it comes out physically? Well, no one seems to have told Marvel. Or rather, someone seems to have just told Marvel; they’re moving to day-and-digital, but not until April. It’s a bit late, relative to DC, but it’s still a good sign that Marvel’s catching on. The other sticking point for Marvel right now is the way that they’re going about getting the word out about digital comics to their customers. They’ve not been making nice with retailers over their practices in this area and they’ll need to correct that moving forward. (If you’re drawing a blank about what I’m talking about, check out retailer Brain Hibbs’ scathing indictment; it’s the third item, “Digital Dilemma”)
3. Digital Can Only Be Good For Comics
I could be widely off-base here, but I see a lot to be optimistic about when I look at the digital embrace of comics. There are lots of potential readers out there, and they’re more reachable than they’ve been in years. (Really ever since the advent of the direct market, but that’s another article.) We know that the apps are moving, and every app sold then becomes a small, personalized comic store which can be shopped at anywhere, at any time. Comics suffer absolutely no deterioration in moving to the digital world, and the different options of how you can read are intriguing and ripe for experimentation (paging Scott McCloud!). I think that there’ll still be a place for brick-and-mortar comics stores. As less and less new comics (I just can’t bring myself to use the word pamphlet) are sold in comic stores, I think the stores will be able to stock more and more specialty items, like trades, art books, and the like. I could be wrong about that. I certainly hope I’m not, but I could be.
Comics are in an interesting place right now, and for an industry that can be insular and staunchly traditionalist, I’m encouraged to see the industry move further and further into the digital realm.