Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


4-color fallout

In recent years, movie studios and exhibitors (movie theatres) have been at war over when it’s appropriate to release a movie for digital distribution. Exhibitors, obviously, want people to go out to the movies; if the same movie is available within weeks  — or, worse for them, day-and-date of release — they fear that people will stay home and watch them there.

Now the same drama is playing out in comics. DC’s “New 52” line is available day-and-date for digital reading, with comics store owners still unsure how that’s going to play out; my own local comics shop owner told me he’s hopeful that if people buy their DC titles electronically, they’ll buy them from his online store, where he’ll get a one-third cut.  Retailers I met at this summer’s San Diego Comics Con felt like angry villagers ready to storm DC’s castle.

Now this:  Barnes & Noble is pulling all the DC graphic novels because DC’s parent, Warner Brothers, has entered into an exclusive digital deal with Amazon, meaning that, say, “Watchmen,” will be made available for the new Kindle Fire — but not for the B&N Nook.

Where will all this wind up? No one knows. Digital delivery — of music, of books, of movies, of information, of mail, and more — has already destabilized countless industries (including the post office). Expect more of that.

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