After getting their New Comic Book Day stack home this week, many DC fans might have been surprised to find something missing. Effective with the May 2 crop of books, the publisher is no longer offering complimentary codes for digital versions of their $3.99 books.
Beginning back in April 2017, seemingly as a response to Marvel temporarily dropping their own code program they have since restored, the code program allowed fans to gain a digital copy of some of DC’s select series. Those select books with the codes also saw their price increase from the standard DC Rebirth $2.99 price to $3.99.
While the codes are gone, the price increases on those select books will not go away.
According to Newsarama, a DC Entertainment spokesperson confirmed the codes are no longer going to appear on the physical books regularly but that the publisher instead will offer digital codes on a much smaller select group of books. Those codes are said to likely appear on physical copies of #1 issues of big titles (possibly the upcoming Justice League relaunches or Bendis Superman relaunch), select event books, annuals and some other special books.
As a counter to this, Marvel’s program offers digital download codes on all of their main publishing line books from Avengers to X-Men to Ms. Marvel and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.
There appeared to be no warning of this change in policy, DC seemingly just carrying it out for this latest batch of comics.
Much of the opinion online skewed towards the negative side, much as it did when Marvel briefly changed their program last year for a few months where they only offered a code that gave a bunch of random back issues instead of a digital copy of the physical issue purchased. As fans pointed out then, with how high prices of comic books currently are having the benefit of getting a digital version of the actual comic you purchased is a type of value that can lead to people buying more physical issues.
Alongside this, Newsarama also reports that the recent DC Nation #0 issue, which kicks off some big storylines to come this summer from the publisher, is being offered totally for free digitally through Comixology while brick and mortar retailers are being encouraged to sell it to customers for 25 cents. Reportedly, because of the low cost, they paid for the issue, many retailers will be giving it away for free on Free Comic Book Day this coming weekend to encourage other sales.