Where To Buy Physical Comics Online Extra Quality
As we talked about everything Marvel on this website. So I think this one deserves to be on the list. And if you are a Marvel fan looking for Marvel comics this is the best place to buy them online and should come as a no-brainer.
where to buy physical comics online
Note: I have not listed Amazon, because most people know you can almost anything from there, and I wanted to present some other options. A lot of these online comic book stores have physical locations as well, so in some way, you are helping out a local comic book shop. Below are a few of the best online comic book stores that, after some research, have been most highly recommended to me.
Things from Another World, or TFAW, has several physical locations (Milwaukie, Portland, Beaverton, Oregon, Los Angeles) along with their website. The first thing I noticed on their site was that other merchandise such as toys, statues, and POPs were noticeably advertised. Most online comic book stores offer these items, but not all market them as noticeably as TFAW. I have to mention, out of all the sites, I personally enjoyed the design of TFAW the most.
I hope this is useful as a starting point for those who are curious about buying comics online, and I hope it makes it clear that there are so many options out there to make sure you can always get your pull list.
Both physical and digital comics have their pros and cons, so it can be tough to pick which direction you want to lean. This gets especially tough if you've got a local comic shop and picking up new singles on day one is easy.
When it comes to comics, there are more decisions to make than whether you're buying physical or digital comics. If you're just getting into comics or you're looking to get more into them, there is plenty to consider.
Digital comics are comic books which can be read both online and offline, using an electronic device. Digital comics include the same content as physical (paper) comics, but are available in a digital format.
Sometimes, but new releases tend to be the same price. While this is good for maintaining a healthy balance between bricks and mortar stores and online platforms, it does mean that physical copies holds more value, as you own the book and therefore you can resell it at a later date (more about that below).
Yes. Many publishers (including Marvel & DC) provide readers with a two-for-one deal whereby you buy a physical copy of a comic and you are given a digital copy of the same comic for free. Physical comics contain a unique code, which give readers the opportunity to access a digital edition. Not every publisher offers this deal, so check before you buy.
When digital comics were first introduced to the superhero comics industry over a decade ago, they were meant to be the future of comics. But has it worked out that way? As of 2019, seemingly not. Physical comic book sales still vastly outstrip digital sales, and digital comics have failed to live up to the potential of exponential growth that we see with digital reading outside of the superhero industry, where webcomics have far more readers than even the highest selling Marvel or DC books. As we head into 2020, it's time to rethink the strategy on digital and how it can help comics readership grow.
Sure, you say, making digital comics cheaper might get more people to read them, but it doesn't solve the issue of cannibalization of the direct market. Well, what if that fear is completely unfounded, and, in fact, the refusal to lower digital prices is actually hurting the direct market? The fact is that new comic book readers aren't coming to specialty shops in big numbers, and for the most part, superhero comics aren't tearing up the bookstore market either, where comics geared toward young readers by the likes of Raina Telgemeier and Dav Pilvey rule the roost and make Marvel and DC look like chumps. The reason is that there's no entry point for new readers, and that's exactly what digital comics could provide if they weren't prohibitively expensive to anyone who hasn't already been indoctrinated with superhero comics industry propaganda into believing that four bucks for one chapter of a story is somehow a fair and reasonable price. But don't take it from us. Just listen to Mile High Comics founder Chuck Rozanski, who wrote about the failed newsstand market years ago:
Going back to the newsstand market isn't an option in 2020. But digital comics could serve that same purpose of being an entry point for new readers if not for the artificial-inflated prices designed to protect the direct market. And physical comic books aren't likely to go away, because unlike digital comics, they have value after they're read as collector's items. Sure, publishers and retailers might need to make some kind of effort to make sure that physical comics provide additional value, but with potentially millions of comic book readers, a not-unreasonable number considering the sales of stuff like Dog-Man or the readership of webcomics, they only need to convert a fraction of those digital readers to physical collectors to sell even more physical comics than they do now. Additionally, it seems unlikely that the current comics readership, which has been systematically reduced to the most hardcore fans over decades of price-gouging, sales gimmickry, and decompression will ever stop buying physical comics. If they've stuck around this long, they aren't going anywhere.
But that doesn't mean digital comics can't serve those readers too. In 2020, it's time to begin offering a hybrid subscription model. The pullbox is an antiquated concept that often causes more harm than good. How many times has Bleeding Cool run an article where some comic shop is begging readers to come in and pick up their full pullbox of comics, which has put the shop in financial peril? Pre-orders are even worse, a complicated system that offers discounts but requires an extraordinary effort for consumers to participate in. Mail order comics, either through pre-orders or subscriptions, are definitely the way to go for the frugal comic book reader, offering up to 50% off the cover price. But getting your comics that way hurts your ability to participate in one of the primary draws of collecting new comics each Wednesday, which is the ability to participate in conversations about the comics when they're released in the close-knit online comics community. By the time you get your weekly comics days after they're released (or weeks, depending on how much you're willing to pay for shipping), everyone has moved onto the next thing to talk about. If you're a trade-waiter? Forget about it.
The obvious solution to this problem is to offer a subscription model where readers can pre-purchase six or twelve issues of a physical comic, to be shipped to their house or picked up at their local store at their leisure, but at the same time, be provided with digital download codes that allow them to download and read a digital copy of the comic on the day it's released. There's no reason this can't be accomplished in 2020, and of all places, Diamond has the infrastructure to make it happen. Their upcoming pullbox service works with local stores to let readers order copies of a book online and have it shipped to their local retailer. This requires an account on Diamond's website, which means Diamond could just easily email digital download codes to all of those customers on release day. Comic readers could eat their cake and have it too. Pristine physical copies (you don't even have to remove that sticker to get the digital code), along with a convenient and timely digital copy to read.
Another company with the infrastructure to get that done is Amazon, which just so happens to own the largest digital distribution service, ComiXology. Amazon selling physical comics with digital download codes (a model, by the way, already in place for products like DVDs, Blu-Rays, and Albums) would probably work great for readers, though it would also likely truly kill the direct market. So it would behoove Diamond and retailers to start thinking about a solution they can control. If Diamond were to try to get into the digital market, they might need to consider an alternative method to ComiXology for distribution, which brings up the last point we want to make about what needs to change in digital comics: it's time to get rid of the DRM.
DRM is ostensibly there to prevent piracy, but as recent online conversations have shown, every single comic book currently released gets pirated on release day already anyway. So what's the point of the DRM then? Sure, it makes it harder for people to make copies of the comics they buy and do whatever nefarious things corporations are afraid they'll do with them, but since those DRM-free copies already exist on piracy sites, instead it serves only to make those piracy sites more attractive and legitimately paying for digital comics seem like an inconvenient burden. Compared to physically printing and shipping comics around the country, hosting a server with storage and bandwidth to deliver DRM-free copies of comics is essentially free.
So we've been ranting for over 1500 words about this so far (not counting the quote from Rozanski), and we could probably go on for another 1500, as there's other models that could revolutionize digital comics. For example, imagine if Marvel offered a higher tier of Marvel Unlimited that let you read the new comics the day they're released rather than six months later? We'd personally gladly pay an extra ten bucks a month for that and still buy the forty to fifty physical comics we currently purchase monthly. It would actually make things more convenient, as we could leave them in the bags and boards as delivered by DCBS and put them right in their boxes when they arrive, having already read the digital copy on Wednesday.
According to Bleeding Cool (and corroborated by retailer Ryan Higgins of Comics Conspiracy in Sunnyvale, California), "Within the next two weeks, you'll be able to buy a physical comic from your LCS--anywhere on Earth--online. You'll be able to read a digital copy the minute you buy it. Your LCS will get a free physical copy to give to you later." 041b061a72