by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
business models, comic books, economics, free

boom studios

Giving Comic Book Away For Free Helped Boost Sales

from the leave-it-to-the-smaller-publishers-to-figure-this-out dept

Paddy Dwyer writes "The comic book publisher Boom Studios announced about 2 weeks back that they were going to release the full first issue of a new comic called North Wind online free the exact same day as it was released in shops. They also plan to do this with the remaining 4 issues in the mini series. There was some retailer outcry when this was announced but it didn't last long. As the book quickly sold out with Diamond Comics Distributors. Then even though the book is still available online for free they are planning on doing a second printing to fulfill remaining back orders for the book. Also the book was released in CBZ format which is to comics what the mp3 is to music. There is no DRM and it is of very high quality."

This comes just a couple months after Tim Lee pointed out why comic book publishers should free up their content. He also discussed how the big comic book publisher, Marvel and DC have, instead, chosen to lock up their content and threaten people for sharing their books online. Yet, here we are, once again, with an example where the companies who embrace the ability to use free content as a promotion are finding that it actually helps them sell more.

Reader Comments

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  1. identicon
    Aaron *Brother Head* Moss, 22 Jan 2008 @ 2:01pm

    About time

    It's about time a publisher realizes that sometimes, giving stuff away will only help advertise your books.

    Don't get me wrong, I realize that there are people involved that need to get paid for their work, but when on the average, you're paying over 3 bucks for a 22 page comic, something needs to change.

    Plus, in my opinion (as humble as it's not) alot of people would rather pay out the money for a paper copy of a book.

    Snuggling up to read your monitor doesn't hold the same appeal to me as holding a book (whether novel or comic) in my hand.
    The feel of the paper, the smell of the ink... ahh joy.

    Alright.. I think I've said enough.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2008 @ 2:05pm

    Re: About time


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    zcat, 22 Jan 2008 @ 2:06pm

    self-solving problem...

    I've given up on p2p (all ISPs in NZ shape it heavily now, it can take days to download a single 90M album) and started downloading music from sites like Jamendo.

    Eventually the MAFIAA are going to get with the program or go out of business. In the meantime I'm listening to some pretty good music, and renting the occasional DVD. The MAFIAA comapnies get very little of my money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Brian Walsh, 22 Jan 2008 @ 2:06pm


    You should definitely check out ComicMix ( is publishing comic books on the web for free. They are getting great traffic already and fans seem to enjoy it. Bring down all the walls!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    RIAA, 22 Jan 2008 @ 2:07pm

    This can not be right. We need to protect this poor company from more people stealing thier content online.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2008 @ 2:14pm

    Actually, for the past several years, all the big name comic book companies, Marvel and DC included, have taken part in a yearly Free Comic Book Day, where they all produce a special book to be given away for free. May 3 is the next one. It's been a big success for the industry, and has apparently brought in new readers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2008 @ 2:25pm

    Webcomics been doing it forever.




    They all sell books, merchandise, or something else and give out their comics for free.

    In order word, this article is old news.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    PirateWithAWallet, 22 Jan 2008 @ 2:27pm

    IF I hadn't read scanned/torrented copies of 'Pride of Baghdad', 'Mouse Guard' or 'Rocketo', I would never even have thought of buying comics. So there you go. 20+ issues and a graphic novel that wouldn't have been bought if it weren't for comics torrents.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, 22 Jan 2008 @ 3:18pm


    They haven't gotten information up for this year yet but you can see the past offerings at the web site. My local shop took it as an opportunity to clear out the back room from things that they overbought.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Morgan, 22 Jan 2008 @ 4:35pm

    sounds great

    It sounds like they've got something-- those people that support that kind of business should support them and buy their stuff. And they should decide not to buy things they don't agree with. But that won't ever, in a million years, justify stealing from the old school vendors.

    Anyway it's nice these guys have the freedom to try other business models. I don't know how their success necessarily means everyone else has to do the same thing now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    PaulT (profile), 22 Jan 2008 @ 10:19pm

    Re: Re:

    Something that's worth mentioning on top of this - Free Comic Book Day is a regional thing that advertises comics to potential US (and Canadian? I'm not sure) readers. This online giveaway in international, so it has a wider reach as long as people can find a suitable source for the physical copy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    McLovin, 23 Jan 2008 @ 4:02pm

    One of my favs

    One of my favorite Super Hero books isn't Spiderman or Batman, it's Hero By Night. They have a whole bunch of comics online and in print that sort of work back and forth with each other building it's own continuity and universe. I highly recommend it. I think the web address is

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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