Mini-Crisis: Digital Codes are NOT free

Batman #20

There are lots of things that drive me crazy hearing online, as you may have surmised over months of reading this column, but none raise my blood pressure like the claim that DC charges a dollar more for the digital code that accompanies a print edition than Marvel does. This is like “yelling at the car radio” or “furiously typing in 140-character bits” level madness here. Because honestly, it all comes down to simple math.

Both companies charge the same extra dollar for a digital code.

Batman_20_Combo-666x1024For instance,

Marvel sells Captain Marvel (20 pages, no digital code) for $2.99.
DC sells Green Lantern (20 pages, no digital code) for $2.99.

Marvel sells Superior Spider-Man (20 pages with digital code) for $3.99.
DC sells the Green Lantern Combo Pack (20 pages with digital code) for $3.99.

DC sells Batman (28 pages, no digital code) also for $3.99.
DC sells the Batman Combo Pack (28 pages with digital code) for $4.99.

It’s the extra 8 story pages (usually a back-up story) that are $1 more at DC, and only for the 8 monthlies out of 52 that have those:

  • Justice League
  • Justice League of America
  • Action Comics
  • Batman
  • Detective Comics
  • All-Star Western
  • Sword of Sorcery
  • Threshold

The reason Marvel’s $3.99 books are “a buck cheaper” is because they only have 20 pages, not because DC charges more for a digital copy.

DC has still “held the line at $2.99” for the 40-odd New 52 titles that remain at 20 story pages, but do not include a digital copy with most of their books.

This isn’t a case where I even have an opinion about which methodology (DC or Marvel’s) is better. We can argue that and I see both sides. But what just isn’t true, AT ALL, is that either company charges more for a full package — print book and digital code — on the date of release.

It’s exactly the same.



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