Why the comics business had such a great year

Gigaom

This weekend in San Diego, hundreds of thousands of geeks, nerds and pop culture maniacs descended on the Convention Center for the event that has become a consumer show mecca — Comic Con. Attendees were paying tribute to hit TV shows and movies, but it could just as easily have been a celebration for the comics industry as a whole: 2012 was one of its best years in a long time, and a lot of that has to do with digital strategy.

New York Times report this weekend spotlighted Comixology, the digital comics distributor that was the third-highest grossing iPad app of 2012. It also had hit its 50-millionth and 100-millionth downloaded comic, last year, and is now closing in on 200 million downloads.

But the broader industry has also grown sharply. Digital sales tripled last year, to $70 million. The print side, meanwhile, saw sales gains of…

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