The internet has become a market for all types of content consumption, and comic books are no exception. According to a study published by the French observatory Le Motif, comics are “the most pirated editorial category on the Internet,” with an overall supply of between 35,000 and 40,000 titles in the network, with 8,000 and 10,000 volumes are easily accessible. The report also shows that there are “teams” of pirates who publish on the Net “packages” with the complete collection of Asterix or Tintin, for example. While not alarming, it is a growing concern.
The availability of pirated comic books has never been higher. Of course, while it may be true that not every pirated comic equals a lost sale when these means of piracy begin to profit from their endeavors, pirates can no longer claim that they aren’t stealing.
One of the many reasons that lead to piracy, especially among young people, are the high prices of comics. That are still some people that don’t see that piracy is the self-destruction of a market and download everything in PDF illegally. It’s a fact that the cost of printing, distribution, marketing and licensing is higher than digital. So perhaps digital legal versions are one of the solutions for publishers, who face the aging of their readership, which is not renewed.
Marvel Unlimited, Comixology Unlimited and the whispers of an upcoming Amazon Prime – DC deal are some examples of how the industry is fighting back and reinventing themselves. They are all an attempt to adapt the industry to consumers’ demands, on subscription models which have of course seen success in the music and movie industries.