When Webcomics.com went to a subscription model in January, one of the possible benefits editor Brad Guigar mentioned was that subscribers might get special deals on products and services. Indeed, when we checked in with Brad at C2E2 last week, he was surrounded by subscribers who had gotten a $60 discount on their booths.
This morning he announced another partnership, with Transcontinental printers, which will offer Webcomics.com members a 10% discount on their printing costs. Transcontinental is an offset printer, so it does large print runs of hundreds of books, as opposed to print-on-demand outfits that do one copy at a time. Offset printers generally offer better quality and lower unit costs, so this could push a cartoonist on the edge from one model to the other.
Beyond that, it's an example of what it takes to make a subscription website work. At this point, Webcomics.com is looking a bit like a professional association, as opposed to simply a place where you go to read articles. It's a move that makes sense, given the tightly targeted audience.