In the world of digital comics, all things are basically equal to the consumer since nearly everything is available to them. However, if you’re still into paper comics — and most comic book fans are — then Image’s 9% slice of the retail comic book market matters because it means that their titles can be harder to find sometimes. Unlike digital, retail shelf space is finite. The top sellers/publishers get placement and “critical faves” don’t always get the same privilege if they aren’t selling.
It’s because of this that Image Comics has embraced an old idea and created a mail-away subscription service that will offer their titles to fans who may have a hard time finding them at their local comic shop.
Image Comics is pleased to announce Image Direct, a newly launched mail-order subscription service that allows fans to purchase 12-issue subscriptions to their favorite Image comics and have them delivered straight to their doorstep. Image Direct serves continental U.S. customers only. Subscribe here: http://subscriptions.imagecomics.com/.
Image Direct will allow subscribing readers to receive the latest issues of over 35 titles, including THE WALKING DEAD, SAGA, SEX CRIMINALS, WYTCHES, BLACK SCIENCE, VELVET, RAT QUEENS and more, immediately upon release. Subscribers will receive discounts of up to 30% off and will have the option to subscribe to every available title and receive 35% off.
Sounds interesting, but let’s dig a little deeper.
Here are the discounts, as explained on the FAQ on the Image site.
At checkout you’ll be charged for 12 issues at the current cover price.
If you subscribe to 2 or more titles at checkout, you’ll receive 10% off the cover price for all of those subscriptions.
If you subscribe to 4 or more titles at checkout, you’ll receive 20% off the cover price for all of those subscriptions.
If you subscribe to 10 or more titles at checkout, you’ll receive 30% off the cover price for all of those subscriptions.
If you subscribe to ALL of the titles offered (via the “ALL OF IT!” product), you’ll receive 35% off the cover price for all of the titles included.
In addition, there is a shipping and service charge (depending on your preferences) that starts at as little as $1 per issue.
Those shipping charges can grow significantly if you’re looking to get your books shipped priority.
Priority Mail 2-Day™ Delivery – $5.50 per issue for one subscription, $0.75 per issue for each additional subscription*, i.e $66 for one 12 issue subscription, $75 for two 12 issue subscriptions, $84 for three 12 issue subscriptions, etc.
Patience is also required if you use the service.
When do I get my comics?
All of your subscriptions are packaged and sent in one shipment in the last week of the month. Yes, that means you have to wait a bit for comics that come out during the earlier part of the month—so tell your friends “No Spoilers!”—but by shipping this way, we minimize costs, and are able to pass that savings on to you in the form of the cover price discount and low shipping charge.
I know plenty of people who adore paper and this might work for them. But to me, the cost seems a bit prohibitive. That’s not necessarily a knock on Image. Shipping costs what it costs and they can’t be expected to take a loss on the cover price or undermine their relationships with brick and mortar by offering deeper discounts. At the end of the day, they’re just trying to put comic books into the hands of people who want them but can’t get them. But there are other ways.
If you’re considering this because your local shop doesn’t carry obscure Image books and you don’t want to go digital, maybe ask the shop if they’d consider ordering the titles for you. Most shops will bend over backwards to keep you coming into their shop where your eye might turn you on to the myriad of other books and products that they have on display and you might also be able to get at your books sooner without having to pay a shipping cost.
Again, the most important thing is that people are able to get the chance to buy the comics that they want.