DC Comics (s TWX) is making all of its periodical comic books, like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, available in digital format at Amazon (s amzn), Barnes & Noble (s bks) and Apple (s aapl). The company previously only sold its graphic novels, like the bestselling Watchmen, in those digital bookstores.
Digital has been a key part of DC’s strategy for awhile: DC’s comics can already be read digitally on DC’s website and through its iOS and Android (s GOOG) apps, and they are all available through digital comics platform comiXology. But as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple all launch new tablets, DC clearly sees them as a new platform for reading comics.
“As e-readers and tablets continue to explode in popularity, it’s important for us to offer consumers convenience and choice in how they download digital comics and graphic novels,” DC Entertainment co-publisher Jim Lee said in the release, “and these new distribution deals with the top three e-bookstores do just that.”
The deal also means that comic book readers who read text-based books on a specific retailer platform can now keep their illustrated books in the same place. “If you devoted your library to being collected in your Kindle, now you have the option to add to your comics to that,” DC, SVP digital Hank Kanalz told the AP.
DC’s titles won’t all be available in digital bookstores right away. “It’s obviously a bandwidth issue. We’re starting with day-and-date digital, then move to the backlist,” Kanalz told CNET. CNET reports that “[Wednesday] will see 70 titles available in the e-bookstores, including the week’s New 52 superhero books, some Vertigo issues, some ‘digital-first’ titles that publish online before print, and some back issues, [Kanalz] said. A combination of same-day new titles and backlist titles will be added in the coming months.”
DC ran into some controversy last year when it gave Amazon a four-month Kindle exclusive on its graphic novels. Barnes & Noble pulled the corresponding physical versions from its bricks-and-mortar stores. Now, though, it seems as if everything has been worked out.
DC competitor Marvel does not sell its comic books through digital bookstores, only through its own apps and comiXology.