Survey Says that 60% of Digital Comics Buyers want a Deep Discount

A recent survey is showing that readers of digital comics are even more price sensitive than those who read eBooks.

The survey was conducted by Mia Wiesner of the University of Applied Sciences in Liepzig in April and May of this year. She offered an open poll to buyers and readers of comics and graphic novels, and when all was said and done she had 572 responses.

First, digital comics appear to have a greater market penetration than eBooks as a whole. A full two fifth of the respondents had bought digital comics, while other polls have shown that somewhere under 20% of book buyers have bought eBooks. What’s even better is that a significant majority (86%) are open to the idea of reading digital comics.

Unfortunately they’re not quite so willing to pay for them. The respondents who were interested in reading digital comics  were asked how much they were willing to pay. As you can see they’re a stingy bunch:

  • Up to 20% (of the cover price of paper edition): 35.8%
  • Up to 40% of cover: 24.2%
  • Up to 60% of cover: 29.1%
  • Up to 80% of cover: 8.5%
  • Up to 100% of cover: 2.4%

A full third of respondents won’t pay more than 20% of the cover price when buying a digital comic, and 60% refuse to pay more than half the retail. That doesn’t leave much of a margin for the retailer and publisher, does it?

There are other stumbling blocks, and they look to be insurmountable at the moment. The survey asked readers for the least appealing part of digital comics and the responses come as no surprise to me. Half didn’t like the fact that they didn’t own the comic, and nearly as many (41%) don’t appreciate the restrictions of DRM.