Michael Murphey heads up iVerse, the digital comics company who has teamed up with Diamond Distributors to bring the world of digital distribution to the traditional local comics shop. Over at Robot 6 Murphey explains a little bit more about Diamond Digital, how it will work and what you should expect.

Brigid: I’m still trying to get a handle on how this works. I understand that customers who buy the digital copies will be handed a printed code, which they then redeem. How? Through iVerse’s digital storefront?
Michael: That is one way a retailer can sell a digital comic to a customer, yes. The retailer can also sell digital comics on their website. Codes can be redeemed on the retailer’s website or inside the Comics Plus application from iVerse.
Brigid: Will the sale go through the iTunes store?
Michael: No, these sales will be going through the retailers, both online and in-store.
Brigid: Where is the digital storefront? On the internet?
Michael: That’s right—the digital storefronts will be set up for retailers for their websites. The customer will stay on the retailer’s site, which could be theirdomain.com/digital or digital.theirsite.com—however they want to set it up. The customer can then read the comics right on their site, or download the comics to Comics Plus apps for a variety of platforms beyond iOS—which will all be coming throughout the year. A key for us in 2011 is getting the applications on as many popular platforms as we can.

Brigid: There has been a lot of negative reaction to this on the internet, most of which boils down to “Why should I go to my comics store to buy a digital comic?” What is your answer to that?
Michael: My answer to “why should I go to my comics store to buy a digital comic” is that you don’t have to. You can buy a digital comic online. You can already do that now without a retailer making anything at all off of it, or being able to let customers know about other products that they could by that you can’t get digitally like t-shirts, action figures, statues, prop replicas, and so on. What this program is doing is enabling retailers to be able to market to digital customers. If they come into the store and get the print version as well, they can get the digital at a cheaper price.

One of the things we strongly believe is that there are new readers out there who are finding comics for the first time digitally. We’re doing everything we can to incentivize them to explore the larger world of comics and comic retail shops. I found my first comic on a newsstand, and discovered the direct market later. We’re trying to help new readers who start digitally do that same thing. At the same time, retailers can sell digital comics to their customers. Many retailers we spoke to over the weekend at ComicsPRO thought this was a great way to sell back issues to their customers. An example we heard more than once was – say a customer is missing Issue #3 of a title. Issue #4 has come out on the shelf this week, but the retailer doesn’t have issue #3. The retailer could sell the customer a digital copy of issue #3 so the customer can complete the story and grab #4 today. They could even sell the customer the print copy of #3 and order that from Diamond, then give the customer a digital copy to read today. The customer could then come back into the shop to get their physical copy of #3 when it comes in.

That’s just one way we heard retailers talk about how they might use this program.

For the full interview click HERE.

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