To say that the comics industry is a bit behind the times when it comes to digital comics would be an understatement. As a whole, the industry has largely followed a digital rental scheme, with buyers "buying" the rights to view a DRM copy of a comic at full price, which then can only be viewed on specific applications and can be pulled at any moment. Digital comics readers don't own the content they're purchasing nor can they share it with other fans, all in the name of preventing vague piracy concerns.
Well, that's about to change. Image, long known as the largest comic publisher without its head up its ass, will now make digital comics available for download. That's right, you can buy an Image comic through their website and actually download it onto your hard drive, to keep forever and ever, or at least until the apocalypse.
Why the change? Well, Image has seen the future, and the future is digital. According to a Wired article, digital sales make up 15% of Image's total sales, and equates to 27% of the publisher's revenue excluding bookstore sales. Eric Stephenson, Image's publisher, said the shift in policy will help Image comics reach even more casual fans than before and could help push the industry into a more modern approach to digital comics.
While they'll still have DRM copies available on Comixology, Image is releasing new DRM free comics through their website starting today. They'll start by releasing popular comic runs and new comics on their site, and grow their back catalog over the coming months.