DC and Marvel's new digital releases available ahead of print editions [Updated]

Digital editions of this week's DC Comics titles were available as early as last night on some platforms, hours before their traditional release -- and before most brick-and-mortar stores open for New Comics Day.

Less than a week after the publisher announced it would offer its full line of periodicals across all major e-bookstore platforms, visitors last night to the Barnes & Noble Nook Store could access new issues of Batman, Batgirl, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Saucer Country, among others. A check early this morning showed the same availability on comiXology, Amazon's Kindle Store and Apple's iBookstore. We've verified the issues are downloadable and readable.

Previously, DC's new comics debuted Wednesdays at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on comiXology, giving direct-market retailers a leg up on sales. We're awaiting comment from DC to learn whether this signals an official change in its digital-release policy.

Meanwhile, a glance this morning at comiXology's Same Day As Print page revealed some new issues from other publishers -- notably, the debuts of Marvel's All-New X-Men, Fantastic Four and Thor: God of Thunder, and Image's Saga #7 and The Walking Dead #103 -- are already on sale; the statuses of some titles changed from "Pre-Order" to "Buy Comic" even as this paragraph was being written. According to the comiXology blog, non-DC new releases previously went live "around 10 a.m."

We've also reached out to Marvel for clarification. We'll update as more information becomes available.

Update (6:52 a.m. PT): comiXology announced on Twitter, "Perhaps you've heard … but in case you didn't ... ALL of this week's new comics are live!"

Update (7:31 a.m. PT): A Marvel spokesman told Robot 6 that comics went on sale at 8:35 a.m. ET (5:35 PT) due to "a minor technical error." New releases typically go live Wednesdays between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. However, it should be noted that DC titles were available much earlier; I purchased Batman #14 from comiXology at 5:49 ET (2:49 PT).

Update (11:15 a.m. PT): A DC spokeswoman told Robot 6 that," The digital comics release timing today was not a glitch. Our goal is to provide parity across all platforms, including release times." She added that release times are established by the individual platforms, with the publisher's digital partners offering all new content -- not simply comics -- in one fell swoop.

In book, video and music channels, Tuesdays are traditionally when new releases go on sale, something that's continued even as the number of retail chains has shrunk. The direct market, meanwhile, has held to Wednesday as New Comics Day, with Diamond Comic Distributors enforcing on-sale dates even as it's offered Tuesday shipping.

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