For as long as we can remember, the comic book industry has tried to warn readers of the dangers of digital comics. Digital comics will kill print sales. Digital comics will cause local comic shops to go out of business. Digital comics will promote piracy. Digital comics will cause the comic book industry to implode. Despite these warnings, however, publishers continue to come up with new ways to release digital comics and make them available to millions of readers who would never be caught dead entering a comic book specialty store. Those bastards.
Today, Top Shelf announced a new digital model. Not only will Top Shelf graphic novels now be available DRM-free on their website (in addition to the various digital platforms they are already available on), but these comics will come at a reduced "add-on" price if purchased along with a print edition.
Sounds great, right? WRONG!
"I'm going to kill a puppy every hour until Top Shelf stops selling reasonably priced DRM-free digital comics," explained Diamond Comics Distrubutors CEO Snidely Whiplash.
Despite the fact that Top Shelf's new program would seem to promote the sales of both digital and print editions, offering the cheaper digital edition ad a reduced rate so that readers can take their favorite graphic novels on the go, on the platform of their choice, while still displaying the print edition on their bookshelf, Whiplash still feels that the digital offerings are a slap in the face of the direct market, which has dutifully served comic book fans with a sprawling monopoly and unaffordable prices for two decades.
"I don't want to kill this puppy," Whiplash warned, holding a cute, floppy-eared puppy by the scruff of its neck, "but Top Shelf is giving me no choice."
Whiplash then snapped the puppy's neck and tossed it into a pile of dead puppies in the corner of his office. "I hope Top Shelf makes the right decision."
Despite the senseless puppy genocide being committed by Diamond Comics Distributors, The Outhouse still can't help but think this is a pretty cool idea from Top Shelf. Here's a list of the books available, with more to be added in the future:
Top Shelf’s new DRM-free ebook program launches with the following titles:
-- March: Book One by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell ($7.99 digital, $1.99 with print purchase)
-- Heck by Zander Cannon ($9.99 digital, $2.99 with print purchase)
-- Crater XV by Kevin Cannon ($9.99 digital, $2.99 with print purchase)
-- The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire ($6.99 digital, $2.99 with print purchase)
-- God Is Disappointed in You by Mark Russell & Shannon Wheeler ($9.99 digital, $1.99 with print purchase)
-- Chester 5000 by Jess Fink ($5.99 digital, $1.99 with print purchase)
-- We Can Fix It by Jess Fink ($6.99 digital, $1.99 with print purchase)
-- The Surrogates (Vol. 1) by Robert Venditti & Brett Weldele ($5.99 digital, $1.99 with print purchase)
-- The Surrogates (Vol. 2): Flesh and Bone by Robert Venditti & Brett Weldele ($5.99 digital, $1.99 with print purchase)
-- Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell ($9.99 digital, $2.99 with print purchase)
-- Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed? by Liz Prince ($3.99 digital, $0.99 with print purchase)
Also, the following digital-exclusive titles are now available DRM-free:
-- Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer (Vol. 1) by Dusty Higgins & Van Jensen ($4.99 digital)
-- Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer (vol. 2): The Great Puppet Theater by Dusty Higgins & Van Jensen ($4.99 digital)