Doktor Tchock sez, "Myspace and Boom! Studios teamed up to release each issue of the new comic North Wind simultaneously with the release date for brick and mortar stores. Issue 1 is up now and you'll be able to grab the .cbz of each issue of the 5 issue mini-series in the following months. An interesting approach to digital distribution."
I've been saying for years that comics publishers should -- at a minimum -- put up downloadable comics after they disappear from the stands, so that people who are coming to the serial after it starts can catch up. The trade paperbacks help here, but usually there's a 2-3 issue gap between the collection and the singles. That means that if you're not a Comics Person and you walk into a bookstore and buy the first collection of Thrilling Underwear Pervert Stories (issues 1-6) get hooked, and decide to brave a comics store for the first time to pick up issue 7, you'll generally find that they're up to issue 9 or 10, and that 7 and 8 aren't for sale and can't be ordered.
The result? You go back to the bookstore in a couple months and look for the collection -- maybe. If you remember. The alternative? The publisher could spend approximately $0.00 and post downloadable singles 30 days or even 60 days after they hit the stands. Now when you go to the store and say, "Have you got TUPS #7?" the Comic Book Guy can smile and say, "Nope, but you can get it free online, and when you've read it, come on back here and I'll sell you #8. By the way, did you know that new comics come out every Wednesday? We usually get a lot of people in on Weds, spruce up the store, set out some collections of other comics you might not have heard of. Also -- would you like me to set aside future TUPS issues for you? As well as collections?"
Yes, a few cheapskates might opt to substitute downloads for singles. But those cheapskates are likely either retired people, students, or other people of limited means -- and if they come into money (say, by graduating and getting a job), they'll be back with their wallets. In the meantime, it's not as if the people who buy their issues in Mylar bags are going to give up on collecting -- Action Comics #1 has been floating around online since the mid-Nineties and the value of the physical object hasn't dropped as a result.
And by optimizing the experience for spenders -- people who drop $25 on a collection in a bookstore that you might be able to convert to weekly comic-store customers -- you churn in fresh customers while still providing a good, low-cost way to get into the medium for kids and students.
(Thanks, Doktor Tchock!)