Dark Horse Digital Comics to Sell at $2.99 for First Month

DARK HORSE Goes Same-Day Digital

Last week, Dark Horse Comics announced same-day digital release across their publishing line as of Dec. 14. Since recent releases sell for $1.99 on Dark Horse's digital platform, it was assumed by many that the pricing would extend to the same-day digital releases — a move perceived by some comic book retailers as undercutting physical, direct market shops.

To that end, Larry's Comics in Lowell, Massachusetts and Jetpack Comics in Rochester, New Hampshire both announced that they would no longer be carrying shelf copies of Dark Horse releases, only fulfilling special orders made by customers.

Dark Horse has responded by clarifying that the initial announcement contained no information on specific pricing for same-day digital releases (Newsarama reached out to Dark Horse for clarification on pricing upon receipt of the press release, and received no response). In a letter from Dark Horse founder and president Mike Richardson, the publisher states that new single-issue comics will be $2.99 for the first month of release — most new Dark Horse single issue comics are $2.99 or $3.50 — and $1.99 after that.

This is nearly identical to the strategy employed by DC for its digital comics, which offers them for cover price the first four weeks of release, then $1 less after that. "We have considered the retail community in all of our digital decisions and look at direct-market shops as crucial to our continued success," Richardson writes in the letter. "With that in mind, Dark Horse will make every effort to keep our comics retailers strong in a changing market."

The letter from Richardson follows in full:

"December 5th, 2012

Dark Horse retail partners and fans,

You may have been surprised by our recent announcement regarding digital pricing.

We apologize for the confusion and concern surrounding Dark Horse's recent announcement of simultaneous release in print and digital. We want to make it clear that nowhere in our announcement (see below) did we indicate that our same-day digital pricing would be less than that of our physical books. Due to some miscommunication, there has been widespread speculation based on our current pricing model.

To clarify: We have chosen to release all new single-issue comics digitally for the price of $2.99 for the first month, dropping to our standard digital pricing of $1.99 after that.

Dark Horse values our retail partners and is grateful for the twenty-five years of business we've done together. We have considered the retail community in all of our digital decisions and look at direct-market shops as crucial to our continued success. With that in mind, Dark Horse will make every effort to keep our comics retailers strong in a changing market.

We continue to value everyone who both buys and sells Dark Horse products, and thank you for your support. All of you are the reason we are here today.

Mike Richardson"

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