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The digital revolution is upon us. In an interview with Wired.com, Comixology CEO David Sternberger casually mentioned that customers had downloaded 25 million comics from the digital comic platform had this year. While various analysts and commentators have speculated on Comixology's role in the comics industry and exactly how much impact the company was having on sales, this is the strongest confirmation that digital media is reshaping the industry and breathing new life into the industry.
Perhaps the most shocking part of Comixology's disclosure of sales is how it compares to Diamond Comics Distributor, the sole distributor of comic books. According to Comichron.com, Diamond Comics Distributors has sold approximately 31 million comics through May of this year. While these are speculative estimates and don't reflect international sales, it's still gives some insight to Diamond's approximate performance this year.
Based on these two figures, Comixology's digital comic downloads are only approximately 20% less than Diamond's estimated sales, showing that digital downloads are catching up to hard unit sales far quicker than previously believed. While Comixology boasts a larger stock due to its massive backissue selection, it's still a telling sign that the company is moving almost as many issues as the only distributor of comic books in North America and the leading comic book distributor in the world.
As long as Comichron's figures are even remotely accurate, this is the strongest proof that there is a major shift towards digital comics and that comic book sales are moving more and more towards a modern era. Of course, this doesn't mean that Comixology will be driving Diamond out of business any time soon. Based on a previous business report, Comixology estimates that its sales will reach $70 million this year, which only equals 15% of Diamond's estimated $466 million sales (based off of current sales trends in comparison to last year's sales figures). This is in part due to Comixology's significantly lower price points and the fact that a large portions of its sales are driven by its $0.99 sales of various runs.
With major publishers continuing to look at "digital first" comics and smaller publishers like Monkeybrain realizing that the digital format is as effective of a way to distribute comics as attempting to appeal to customers in-store, the industry is continuing to move towards a digital era in which online distribution is as viable as selling to fans in-store.
Written or Contributed by: ThanosCopter