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IDW’s Webber: Digital and print are different audiences

by  in Comic News Comment
IDW’s Webber: Digital and print are different audiences

“[O]ver 40% of our digital sales are international.”

That’s what IDW director of ePublishing Jeff Webber told an interviewer at the TFAW blog this weekend.

Digital sales are still a very small part of the mix for IDW, but the company has been very aggressive with its digital strategy, putting the bulk of its catalog online in a variety of formats. And since they publish comics based on properties like Star Trek, Transformers, and Silent Hill that are visible all over the world in the form of movies, television, and games, it’s natural that folks in other countries would want to read the comics. But U.S. books and comics continue to be either unavailable or phenomenally expensive overseas, and there is a lot of potential for digital to pick up the slack.

Even domestically, Webber is convinced that digital comics are primarily selling to people who never set foot in a comics store:

An example is that one of the senior directors from Apple was at our booth during San Diego Comic-Con. She wasn’t a comics fan but went nuts when she saw True Blood. She downloaded the app right there and went home reading the print book on the plane! I’m positive she’s never stepped foot in a comic shop before, but ended up enjoying both the digital and print formats.

IDW has an agressive digital program, with over 650 titles available on a variety of formats—iPad, iPod, Kindle, Blackberry, Nokia, Sony PSP—and Webber, who came to IDW from Uclick, is the guy who is making it happen, so the whole interview makes interesting reading. But for me, the big take-away was that for IDW, digital is expanding the market rather than cutting into print sales.

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