Announced, via press release, DC Comics will be raising the prices of 15 of their monthly comic books from $2.99 to $3.99. The increase of a dollar includes "download codes for a matching digital copy in the affected comic books." For now, all of DC's bi-monthly comics will remain $2.99.
In the press release, John Cunningham, SVP, Sales & Trade Marketing states that DC has "heard from many fans that they like to read and collect our books in both digital and print formats so this new offering gives DC readers the convenience and value pricing they asked for."
In other words: Some customers asked for "value" pricing when purchasing both physical and digital comics and DC insiders decided to "spread the wealth" by passing the cost of providing comic book coverage on to the majority – single format – readers in the form of a $1 increase.
By raising the price of 15 monthly comics by a dollar we get a large majority of our of our customers to pay for "free" digital downloads for a few double dippers.
Here's the full-list of series which will see a price increase and/or added digital codes starting in April: "All Star Batman," "Batgirl," "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey," "Batman Beyond," "Batwoman," "Blue Beetle," "Cyborg," "The Hellblazer," "New Super-Man," "Red Hood and the Outlaws," "Super Sons," "Supergirl," "Superwoman," "Teen Titans," "Titans" and "Trinity."
A single bright spot outlier is Scott Snyder's et al's All Star Batman. The book "has had a $4.99 cover price since its launch in August, and CBR has confirmed with DC Comics it will maintain that price under the new structure, with the addition of digital download codes."
Now, you may be asking yourself "Self, what about people who only buy digital comics? Are they going to continue to pay physical cover prices for new books? The price increase is to include a free code for what they are already buying. That's just inherently unfair."
Yeah, they're probably going to get screwed. One might say that by charging digital readers for the free digital codes for the books they already bought is a form of "double dip" pricing. If digital prices continue to mirror, for some time, the cover price of physical issues, those customers are, practically, buying the book twice while a minority takes advantage of the free codes they didn't want or need.
Still talking to yourself: "Why not just add a code that allows the reader to download a digital version for a dollar more?"
Because the people who work and live inside the DC Comics "bubble" are out of touch with just how far they can push regular readers before those readers push back. To be fair, these same DC insiders have remained employed even after years of sex scandals, poor fiduciary management, and a complete lack of respect for their constituency customers so it is understandable that they do not expect to be held accountable for their actions.
This price increase comes almost a year after DC used the $2.99 price point - along with a slew of new #1s, more flexibility for retailers, and a focus on optimism and legacy characters - to launch the company's "Rebirth" era wich has been both a commercial and critical success. The numbers will show in the next few months if readers will consider a $1 increase is worth a free digital download instead of extra content.