“Buy Physical Get Digital” Codes Return With Secret Empire


Only months after phasing out digital codes being included with physical comics readers bought, Marvel has changed their mind with Secret Empire.

For years, Marvel promoted and used a system where if you purchased a physical copy of a comic, you also received a digital code to download that comic for free. It was seen as a win/win for readers and retailers. Readers got a digital version of the book they just bought for free and retailers didn’t have to worry about losing more customers to ComiXology.

The suddenly, a few months ago Marvel decided to stop the practice. Instead of a digital copy of the comic they just bought, readers got two or three digital codes for free comics related to recent trade paperback releases or storylines.

And the response from just about everyone was quick and direct.

More from News

No one thought it was a good idea. Readers were upset because they were paying sometimes $5 for a comic and looked at the digital code as a nice bonus that made it worth the asking price. Retailers lost sales because many comic readers decided to simply go digital and not buy the physical comics anymore.

To put it another way, everyone thought the idea sucked.

Well, never let it be said that Marvel doesn’t listen to their readers. At least when it comes to digital comics.

On Friday Marvel announced that they are bringing back the “Buy Physical Get Digital” codes starting with Secret Empire #1. In addition, readers will also still get a bonus digital code for another book related to a current trade paperback release.

David Gabriel, SVP of Sales & Marketing for Marvel, says backtracking on the idea was a no-brainer.

"“We heard the message loud and clear on Digital same issue codes. We heard how folks across the world were using them, relying on them, loving them. We are always looking to do what’s best for fans and the comics industry so we’re pleased to make this program even better.  Now, print comics readers will receive a code for the issue they purchased, and also an additional bonus comic giving customers even more value for their purchase.”"

The fact Marvel made the decision to remove the digital codes in the first place made zero sense. More and more readers are going exclusively digital and the “Buy Physical Get Digital” codes was one of the only reasons many readers even set foot in their local comic shop anymore.

Must Read: Preview: Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1 From Marvel

Digital is the future of comic books, whether Marvel or any other publisher likes it or not. The sooner they realize that and get with the program, the better.

Secret Empire #1 goes on sale in comic shops and digitally this May.