Occupy Digital

Disclaimer: iFanboy is owned by Graphicly, a digital comic book company.

 

Buying comics is as easy, and also as hard, as it has ever been. We fans are blessed (by technology) and cursed (by fear of technology). The Biz has both its meteoric ups and its catastrophic downs.

This week, I was pondering how much the world has changed for the better in the last six months as I downloaded a dozen comics onto ye olde iPad. I had wanted to drop in on my store that day, but it was late and that was not in the cards. New day job + 2 kids = home ASAP – weekly books = sorry, Charlie. Alas. Alack.

Digital comics are almost completely amazing. The Graphicly and comiXology interfaces highlight the art in a way my regular ol’ eyeballs and a magnifying glass never could. I’ve never been much of a Kindle person– or even an iTunes person– so, like your grandpa, my mind is still continually blown by the ability to go, “I wanted to read that thing… oh, I’ll just hit a button and have it appear in my house like elves made it in the night.”

Anyway. My inability to get to the shop Wednesday did not dissuade me or wreck my week, as it would have even a year ago. As I was now counting on, everything I wasn’t able to go over and buy was available online.

Except one book.

Specifically, a book by the name of Takio.

Unlike every other comic I was buying, from the Spider-Manniest Spider-Man to the indiest indy, Takio was not available online, only on paper in person at a physical store. No one involved was embarrassed by this oversight; indeed, they seemed to have done it on purpose for some unfathomable reason. Maybe they are allergic to money. The fact that my daughter, the target market for the book, was counting the days until it was available was irrelevant to everyone involved. Their main concern was not getting the content in front of the eyeballs that wanted to behold it. Their main concern seemed to be protecting comic shops, in the way one might protect the spotted owl.

Here’s the thing: I’m not interested in protecting your time-honored business model. I did not say, “Netflix? But what about the rude clerks at Blockbuster? Think of poor Viacom’s financials.” I just want to read my book, and now that I know how easy it should be to do that, the fact that it isn’t easy, for no real reason, drives me friggin’ bonkers. It’s one or two strikes against you before I even have the material in my hands.

There is a very specific kind of irritation that comes from knowing you’re going to have to schlep all the way across town to the store for one $3 thing. I almost can’t help but take it personally; the comics market is so small at this point, they basically are doing it to me.

I’m sure everyone involved thought they were doing retailers a favor, or doing the book a favor. In fact, everyone involved took something my daughter and I were looking forward to and imbued it with that nibbled-to-death-by-ducks quality of 21st century inconvenience and annoyance. It’s like if real life had pop-up ads.

I have a friend who is the Elusive New Reader. Literally the only reason she is the Elusive New Reader is because of comiXology. Before digital comics, she was an occasional library checker-outer at best. After digital comics, she is a Wednesday reader. A year ago, she was a dilettante; today, she’s more current than I am, and I work here. Her little daughter sees her doing all this and wants to join in, a Young Female Elusive New Reader in the making. She tells her daughter Takio is coming out. Wednesday arrives. No Takio. The brains of the operation were thinking about the stores.

Nice work, everybody. Reader lost. But, hey, the stores.

YES TO THIS.

While we’re on the subject, here’s an opinion that might not be the most popular in the history of iFanboy, even among some of the people who work here. Whenever a new book is coming out– like Takio, for example– the battle cry goes out: “Preorder! Remember to preorder! Drive to a store and declare your intention to buy a thing three months before it is available, or the store will not attempt to meet your needs! This is your responsibility somehow!”

Oh! Or, I could click a button.

Fuck preorders. Fuck them in their dirty little bottoms.

Imagine any other thing in your life working this way. Imagine that you need to tell Procter and Gamble how much Tide you’re going to need in August. A bunch of new TV shows will be on the air next fall; which ones are you going to feel like watching on a random Thursday in September? Be specific. Everyone you don’t mention will lose their jobs.

Are we all out of our minds? Why do we allow this to continue?  This is no way to run a railroad. We have lives to lead, people. I hear a song, I like it, I click, and it’s in my house. And you try to pull this hogwash on me? Enjoy the dustbin of history, granddad.

Transitional periods are never easy. If comics still exist when my kids have credit cards, they’ll never have to think about any of this. In the meantime, I’m living in the present and dreaming of a future I can almost reach from here.

 


Jim Mroczkowski literally fell asleep in the middle of writing this. He is something of a mess.

Comments

  1. gobo gobo says:

    PREACH!

  2. Kelly Kelly (@annaluna) says:

    The good thing about Young Female Elusive New Reader (we call her YFENR at home) is that her attention span is short enough right now, she hasn’t brought it up.

    Although, that could be because I’ve been playing D3 instead of reading comics this week.

  3. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I always feel for the digital-only readers, because it seems like every week is a crapshoot in terms of what Marvel decides to offer. We’ve crossed the threshold. If something’s is out, it should be available from that publisher’s digital store.

    • Kelly Kelly (@annaluna) says:

      Before I started reading weekly, I considered myself to be more of a Marvel fan than DC, but once the new 52 came out and DC was more or less all I read on a weekly basis, that needle definitely shifted. I’ve started picking up a few Marvel titles, but the “damage” has been done.

    • stuclach stuclach says:

      And that’s why I still don’t read any Marvel titles. Either go digital or don’t, but know that when you do go fully digital you’ll gain at least one customer.

    • a.j.howard09 says:

      I’m pretty sure Marvel (not including Icon) is same-date, same-day digital on everything except MAX titles and some licensed properties now.

    • JRBirkhead says:

      Totally agree. It’s incredibly annoying when Marvel will have gaps in their collection and you have no idea on when they are going to fill it. I don’t mind the price, in fact, I think 1.99 for most back issues is a fair price for books (when you think about how much you spend on the issue, plus shipping, gas, etc. it actually balances out), I just wish they would let me know when issues are going to be released from their back issue selection. It’s not hard. They do it for MDCU, why can’t they do it for regular digital comics?

      And I think digital is starting to become a bigger part of the pie than the Big 2 are letting on. There was a great interview with an Image distributor that says digital accounted for double digit percentage on some books.

      Most of the Icon same day digital is because of Millar. He’s taken a rather narrow-minded view towards digital equating them to the DVD release of a film that premiered on the big screen. Which sucks because when I switched to digital (just last month, and wow, so much easier and fun) I was disappointed because I was thoroughly enjoying Secret Service. And just like that, he misses out on my business. Suck it Millar!

    • iSteve iSteve says:

      Marvel is just about the only comics publisher that I still get physically at the store. I won’t buy Marvel digitally until they lower their prices – both current and back issue. I just don’t think that any digital comic is worth $3.99 (or more).

  4. ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

    Such language from the Andy Rooney of comics! Jim, we expect better. For shame!

    (Just kidding. I just wanted to say the “Andy Rooney of comics”.)

  5. uvayankee1 uvayankee1 says:

    I definitely agree with you Jim. I’ve gone all digital on the things I want to read, and now if a book doesn’t show up in the app, it’s like it doesn’t exist. I emailed the guys a few months back asking about how digital purchases affected a book’s continued life, and was sad to hear them say “not much.” I suspect digital readers will endure a lot of cancellations over the next few years unless they stick to the most mainstream of titles, but I’d rather have it this way than any other. Eventually their business model will catch up to our preferred methods.

  6. jgraff jgraff says:

    like your kids are ever going to have credit cards.

  7. I got back into comics about 18 months ago when the DC day/date digital change was coming. I live near a shop but it is a real hole and the staff was always way more interested in the teeny bopper kids buying POGs or Magic cards than helping me get back into the hobby.

    I would ask about recent developments in Green Lantern considering the last time I saw Hal Jordan he was Spectre. I get laughed at for my ignorance and told to read a real comic like iVampire or something. Needless to say, I love digital and I have very little love for the majority of brick and mortar shops that the publishers are so keen on preserving.

    I do feel for those stores that are staffed by competent people and provide a service to the comic reading community but I think that as the hobby has gotten smaller the insularity of the residual fanbase is very offputting. With Avengers, Spiderman and Batman all going to be big in theaters this summer, I shudder at the thought of sending a friend to our local LCS. The digital format allows the elusive new reader, such as myself, an avenue to get into the hobby without having to deal with the elements that only want to hold onto nostalgia.

    • pyynk pyynk says:

      Man, I’m really sorry to hear that. In all honesty, the clerk who did that either needs to be fired or if that was the store owner, they deserve to go out of business. As small as the industry is these days, insular thinking like that doesn’t do anyone good.

  8. Joshrector says:

    Very much THIS! Over the course of the year about 90% of the books I read went day and date. And now that digital buying has become a habit, I can’t imagine ever going back. My apartment is less cluttered now that there aren’t pounds and pounds of comics either lying around or crammed in longboxes. (and believe me, with New York apartments that makes a HUGE difference). And honestly I’ve always found most comic stores a genuinely unpleasant experience. Obviously there are exceptions, (Midtown Comics is great, Forbidden Planet, Isotope, Lone Star Comics etc.) but on the whole most stores I’ve ever been to make me want to take a shower afterwards. Now it’s just me and my Ipad in an uncluttered apartment.

  9. NodNolan NodNolan says:

    Since when do we have to drive to a store to pre-order a comic? I send an e-mail or a tweet, bingo, my interest is registered.

    The only person at fault is the person who told her daughter that Takio was going to be out but didn’t look to see if the information was correct first.

    Creators of ‘independent’ books can choose to put out books how they want, when they want.

    • sure that’s very true, but not making your product available or easy to purchase is pure business stupidity. There seems to be the prevailing thought in the industry that the consumer is never right, and there is only one way to do things and thats just foolish.

      even if Digital sales are only 5 or 10% of the total, that’s still money being left on the table in an industry with razor thin profit margins.

    • NodNolan NodNolan says:

      the problem is we live in an age of entitlement. for all we know BMB might have negotiated a massive exclusive deal to be serialised on some new website. He might not have done.

      if somethings not available and somethings not available. Tough, it’s the creator’s decision not the decision of the sea of the ‘entitled’ that populate the earth at the moment.

    • Jim Mroczkowski Jim Mroczkowski (@jimski) says:

      Yes, that is the real problem here. Too many customers thinking they’re right.

    • MisterShaw MisterShaw says:

      “if somethings not available and somethings not available. Tough, it’s the creator’s decision not the decision of the sea of the ‘entitled’ that populate the earth at the moment.” (sic)

      While that is correct (SCIENCE!), it is also the problem. If something’s not available, people’s money is not available for it, either. And then the creator(s) will complain to any and everyone about piracy/mainstream dedication/mindless readers killing the industry.

      You know why I use Gillette razors, or drink Diet Coke, or wear the boots I do? Because they’re good, and I don’t have to tell Wal-Mart or the mall to order me some so I can pick them up 3 months from now. It’s supply 1st, then demand.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      @NodNolan: I think entitlement is only a factor when the audience circumvents the creator’s intention and pirates the work. Pirates prefer the work in a specific format so badly, they’ll break the law to get it in that format. We hope they remunerate the creator in some other way, but who knows?

      What Jimski describes above is a content creator apparently choosing to ignore a valid and viable market for their content.

      I bought the first volume of Takio on Comixology when it was released (I can’t recall if it was day and date with print, but it was close) — does expecting to be able to buy the second volume in the exact same way make me entitled?

    • I worked retail at a video game store in college and that horrible experience convinced me that the “customer” is almost always wrong.

      However, an educated consumer of media is a very different animal to a mindless customer looking for a refund on an Xbox 360 suffering from the Red Ring of Death. Comic book readers are far more savvy than the average customer at another store. They usually know shipping dates, they follow industry news, and they participate in a lot of discussion on topics that would be considered inside baseball.

      It’s not entitlement to expect that content be available in as many formats as possible. What is entitlement is publishers expecting consumers to take what they are given and swallow their thoughts on the matter. Matters of pricing and numbers on digital units sold are kept secret in a misguided attempt to fit new technologies into old paradigms. That is far more entitled to me than expecting content to be widely available.

    • NodNolan NodNolan says:

      @KenOchalek: The Takio OGN was published at the beginning of March 2011, and first appeared on Comixology Mid August 2011. expecting to be able to buy in the same format does not make you entitled. Expecting it do be available at the time that you want it in that format does

      @Jimski: The customer always ‘thinks’ they’re right. A good salesman has them leaving still thinking they’re right. Thing is, it’s very rare that they are right.

      @Mistershaw: you can’t compared something that will be on the new on the marketplace. (and lets face it pre-orders really amounts to people showing an interest in) Groceries that are established have a well recorded ebb and flow, and shops reorder based on recent sales. Comic companies don’t have the funds for massive market research everytime they launch a title, so they have to use a register of interest – pre-orders)

    • wideangle81 wideangle81 says:

      Relevant to this conversation: Game of Thrones, piracy, and digital availability. http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

    • MisterShaw MisterShaw says:

      Sure you can equate to something that’s new on the marketplace. It happens all the time. No one pre-ordered Dorito tacos. And good thing, too, cuz tacos, let me tell you, are no good after 3 months.

      If the customer wants to give you money for a product, and you want to sell that product, but you don’t have that product available, the customer is right.

      As someone else said, the sense of entitlement argument just doesn’t apply here. We’re not talking about someone trying to return something outside of policy, or stealing it because they think the price is too high. We’re literally only discussing trying to give a comic publisher money and them not wanting to take it.

    • NodNolan NodNolan says:

      Its not as simple as that. Take Mark Millard argument, that comics releases should mirror film releases. Releasing on one format at a time in an attempt to maximise the revenue on each. So cinema to film pay channel or streaming service to DVD release to free to air tv, equalling issue to digital release to tpb to page per day on the web.

      The creator doesn’t necessarily not want you money just not at the time you want to pay it.

      And please stop with the groceries analogues. They don’t fit.

    • MisterShaw MisterShaw says:

      They do. And I won’t.

      But if you want to talk about analogies that don’t fit, let’s talk about movies. Comics sell, max average, what, 150k per issue? Movies have an audience of thousands of times that. So the model can’t be applied. When your audience is already limited, you have to get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

      If anything, LCSs are the DVD of comics. Apple has sold around 222.3 million iPads since launch as of April; and then there are all the Android, Blackberry, and Windows tablets out there, plus normal computers. Even just taking the iPad numbers vs the AvX numbers for April, a digital comic is 1400x the chance to be purchased (give or take).

    • JRBirkhead says:

      I totally disagree with Millar. Since he doesn’t offer digital on his current books? I’m probably not going to buy it. I’d rather spend my money on something else that I don’t have to wait however long it will take for Millar to put them on ComiXology. Which is a shame. He loses my 2.99 on an issue every month.

      Oh, and the movie industry that uses that model? Also losing money every year. Not exactly something I would want to emulate.

    • NodNolan NodNolan says:

      @mistershaw it doesn’t matter how many appliances are out there. Digital purchases seem to place between 7-13 ish percent if print sales (according rmto various publishers interviews)

      But anyway, we’re getting off topic. If a person chooses to not use one platform to release something (and that’s not to say they won’t down the line) its their choice, whether its a risk of losing sales or whether it may gain sales, they own it, its up to them.

    • MisterShaw MisterShaw says:

      It does matter how many appliances are out there, because every appliance is a potential customer.

      And no one’s saying it’s not the creators’ choice, we’re just saying it’s a dumb choice to make.

    • icn1983 icn1983 says:

      Yeah, how dare you lie to your daughter like that. For shame.

    • NodNolan NodNolan says:

      Since when dd I mention lies being told? I mention being ignorant to the facts!

    • muddi900 says:

      @jimski I think you need a dose of this: http://notalwaysright.com/

      @NiodNolan This was an editorial. A misguided one, but still. It was an expression of opinion on the creators choice. It doesn’t require any sort of entitlement.

  10. Great article Jim…totally agree with all your points.

    i have to be honest, whenever i hear a creator do an interview and they go into the usually scheduled pre-order pledge drive begging, it really turns me off to comics in general. It always feels like a really sad guilt trip, and like somehow the creators and publishers are pushing all their business problems on me. You keep telling me the ship is sinking, eventually you’ll convince me to bail.

    I hate how being a comic book fan means you are made to worry about the business and livelihood’s of the creators and publishers….i read these things for escapism and fun, not because i need something else to worry about.

    Isn’t it the business owners’ job to figure out a way to adapt their products and marketing strategies to the changing world? Why does it have to be a consumer level problem in the comics industry?

    You can’t sell whats not on the physical or virtual shelf.

  11. mrlogical mrlogical says:

    I enthusiastically agree with every word, especially “fuck preorders.” A few years ago, I felt guilted by creators banging the preorder drum, saying it was the only way to *truly* support their work and that it was necessary to ensure their books continued to exist. As someone who wants to support the things I like, I dove hard into pre-ordering everything all the time (via DCBS, which remains a great store). But I soon discovered that I hadn’t really appreciated all the problems with pre-ordering–I wasted so much money on pre-ordered books that, had I waited, I would not have purchased (either because you have to buy 3 issues of a new series before you can read the first issue, or because massive delays occurred between issues so that I’d lost interest, or because my interest in a title had dropped off while I still had issues paid for–especially dangerous in the world of Marvel double-shipping). And all the books that needed my help so badly? They seemed to continue to get canceled at more or less the same rate. I buy everything digital now, and it’s saved me so much time and money. I don’t regret the switch for a second.

  12. zombiemoses zombiemoses says:

    Thank you for this article. There are many of us who think the same way and I fully support digital over physical. I havent bought a physical comic in a year and I feel relieved to not have comic books cluttering up my desk. Why the fuck cant we get all the benefits that digital promises??

    The comic industry is currently coddling a failing direct market when they need to make a real leap of faith soon.

  13. Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

    “Fuck preorders.”

    Word.

    “Imagine any other thing in your life working this way. Imagine that you need to tell Procter and Gamble how much Tide you’re going to need in August. A bunch of new TV shows will be on the air next fall; which ones are you going to feel like watching on a random Thursday in September? Be specific. Everyone you don’t mention will lose their jobs.”

    Word.

    • here’s what’s funny about pre-orders to me. They want the consumer to make plans and purchasing decisions 3 months in advance whereas I bought a car, found a new job, moved across the country and planned my wedding in less than 3 months each. Its kind of funny to me that they’re asking for more lead time than major life decisions.

    • That’s why I have such a love/hate idea with Kickstarter. I love the idea of supporting smaller, niche projects that may not have a large enough audience to validate. But I worry that this will be an expectation going forward with a lot of things and I’m not sure where that ends. There was a rumor a month or so ago that DC was starting a Spoiler/Stephanie Brown comic via some Kickstarter like mechanism. It turned out to be untrue but given how executives make their decisions it seemed totally plausible. I don’t know if that’s a good thing but I feel like it’s not.

  14. a.j.howard09 says:

    Yeah, it seems like the publishers are saying the right things. But they act like they don’t realize that there’s a growing segment of readership who don’t see digital as an alternative to print, but as the only option. I quit reading comics when I was a kid because I moved to a town that didn’t have a store. And speaking personally, I think there’s something in the ritual of buying comic books from a store that has to be rooted in childhood tradition. As someone who never really experienced it, I have absolutely no interest in getting into it.

    Plus, I have no real interest in having a bunch of single issue books hanging around, trying to figure out where to store them. Reading digitally, when I want to breeze through the last few issues of Batwoman to refresh my memory before reading the new one, it’s just a few taps away.

    Another thing that bugged me is that the FCBD stuff wasn’t issued digitally. I know that it’s about attracting new customers more than existing ones, but I spent a good deal (probably way too much) on digital comics since September. Digital comics has to be more cost effective to the publisher, and it’s definitely more environmentally friendly. Not making the issues available to digital readers sends the message that they’re not consuming the product in the proper way. Which is somewhat, off-putting.

    • pyynk pyynk says:

      “Another thing that bugged me is that the FCBD stuff wasn’t issued digitally.”

      Wow, I wasn’t aware that they weren’t available digitally. That’s a serious screw up on the company’s fault since most comic shops limit the number of FCBD books you can get and because so many series are teased via FCBD books. You’d figure the more eyeballs, the better.

    • IroncladMerc says:

      Some of the FCBD stuff is available on comixology but not most of it, they just have a few titles in their Free section. Its a start but they need to put them all out.

  15. mrlogical mrlogical says:

    Also, while I really appreciate so many things about what Bendis and Oeming are trying to do with Takio, that “Collector’s Item!” stamp on the cover of Takio #1 is so, so gross. That they (or someone in charge) thinks that labeling issues “Collector’s Items” is the way to help this book sell is bad news for comics. The collector’s mentality has done way more harm than good for comics in the long term, and the idea of interesting new readers by telling them that their issue is “rare” (and, implicitly, potentially valuable) is attracting the wrong kinds of buyers, if it attracts anyone at all.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      In general, I am with you 100% that the reinforcing the collector’s mentality is bad for comics. But on the other hand… a lot of kids LOVE to collect things (silly bandz, webkins, beanie babies, GI Joes, etc, etc forever and ever). Hell, collectibility (at least in terms of collecting issues of comics as pieces in a larger puzzle) is probably why a lot of us started reading comics.

      So as long as the feeling they bought something containing a vague promise of future riches ultimately gives way to a love of stories and art, I don’t think it’s too big a deal. And Takio is a good book by talented creators, so it’s not like anyone’s getting burned on some piece of trash (I have more than a few #1 issues from Extreme Studios in the early 90s, so I know from getting burned on trash).

      And if Takio ever DOES get made into a TV Show or feature film or otherwise becomes a Tween phenomenon, then it will actually BE a collector’s item worth some money. Who knows?

      Now, if retailers and dealers take that blurb to heart and jack up prices on first prints to balance inadequate supply against unanticipated demand, then that’s unfortunate. Sell it to a kid at cover price and let them spend that other money on different comics and BAM! — a new reader is born.

  16. JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

    I fully support the digital initiative, I think all books should have the digital option for those who prefer it.

    My personal taste —I tried reading digital comics again this weekend. I try every so often because, like this article states, its more convenient then going to the store. but It’s just not for me. I find the experience of reading a real live book, and looking at something that isn’t my iPad screen, more enjoyable. (I stare at screens all day long, and its nice to take a break from that).
    I know that looking at screens for every single thing in life won’t matter much to future generations (god bless their eyes), but for this guy it matters.

  17. In the digital vs. print debate I have said before: Convenience will win out over effort.

    In the hope that digital will attract the so-called “elusive new reader” (be it male or female) my concern is that comic publishers keep in mind the importance of not creating dumb-down content in order to appease them.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      Why would digital printing lead to dumbed down content?

    • Because digital comics are made available, in part, to make things easier for the “elusive new reader”, so to might the need to make reading comics easier for these people. How many times have you heard people who can’t follow the pattern of sequential art say that is why they don’t read comics.
      Will this happen if digital brings more people to the medium? I don’t with any certainty, but it’s a concern.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      I’ve actually never heard someone say they can’t follow the pattern of sequential art. Is this an ongoing concern for new comics readers? I’d love to read an article about it if you could link me to one.

      Also, the digitization of music, television, film, books, newspapers, and magazines doesn’t seem to have “dumbed down” the overall content of these mediums. Just wondering why you think comics will be different.

    • If anything its more complex because now you’re introducing a digital interface, user gestures and an online store that doesn’t have anyone helping you. Your giving almost no credit to the intelligence of the vast majority of people around you who don’t read comics. The medium is really incredibly intuitive to anyone who’s functionally literate. So many of the devices that make comics work, are also used in everyday life…connect the dots from A to B to get information…you’re reading sequential storytelling.

    • @ uspunx: goodreads dot com is a website for avid readers (not comics for the most part) the few times comics are referred to there’s those will admit why they don’t read this is why they don’t read comics. Do ALL people every where think this way? Eye of the beholder. And if you think other mediums have not dumb things down just look at your local newspaper. Back in the day, articles would be printed for pages at length and now, mere columns. Music? Forget about it! These very business organizations fear people’s short attention span.

      @ wallytgm: It is NOT my obligation to give anyone credibility to the level of their intelligence, much like Jim M. and others who state that its not their obligation to keep anyone’s business model going.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      @treeofthestoneage: I have been a member of Goodreads for many years now. Citing personal opinions from one website is not really proof of anything. Is there an article somewhere you know of I could check out on the subject of people not being able to follow sequential art?

      I’m twenty-nine years old and have been reading print newspapers on a fairly regular basis (several times a week) for over fifteen years now. I made the switch to digital newspapers about a year ago when I bought an iPad and have to say I see very little difference between the digital papers I read now and the print papers I read back in the mid 90′s. I am assuming from you comments you are several years older than me and have been reading newspapers for well over 15 years. If we are talking about papers from decades ago, the reason why local papers printed longer columns is that they covered only local stories. As information became easier to obtain, local papers began printing more national news. The size of the paper remained the same but the total amount of articles increased. Therefore the overall length of individual articles was shortened in order to allow more total articles to be printed in the same paper. This change happened years if not decades before the ubiquitous availability of computers and is therefore rather impossible to blame on digital media.

      Also, in regards to music being dumbed down could you be more specific than “forget about it?”

  18. Cedric Cedric says:

    Finally someone makes a stand against that stupid pre-order system. It’s stressing checking things out so much time in advance, that you don’t even know for sure will be good or bad. No sense at all

  19. From what i’ve read the pre-order system was created in the early 70s. What other successful industry is using the same ideas and business model for that long?

    • MisterShaw MisterShaw says:

      TV, I guess? But over the Christmas break I cancelled my pre-orders for almost all of the shows I was watching.

    • Video games have a similar model at the retail level. Having worked at a store that aggressively coached its associates to get pre-orders for titles I can say it s a huge pain. We would typically only get enough of smaller to medium-sized titles to cover pre-orders but have a shit ton of Halo 3 or Modern Warfare.

      It may not be totally analogous as the design studios still have to spend a ton of time making titles but that system works for the retail end. But I’m sure that as the next gen consoles won’t have this situation as digital download will become more ubiquitous.

    • yeah but with Modern Warfare and most any other video game i’ve ever bought, i know that if i wait a few days to a week after it comes out, i’ll still be able to get it any store i want. There is never a “no game for you” penalty for not pre-ordering.

    • That logic holds true to titles like Halo or Grand Theft Auto but other smaller titles usually need to be ordered specially.
      I’m pretty safe walking into a store to get Batman or Green Lantern but if I want Manhattan Projects or Green Hornet I have to order it specially.

      Like I said it’s not a perfect comparison but that is what you get when you have a piece of physical media. Companies will always try to guess exactly how many have to go to which retail location. This has a system of inefficiences built in that digital transfer doesn’t.

      My son is 2 1/2 and he will never have to wait for media in his life. I am already at a loss as to how parents raised kids when they didn’t have access to Diego and Wonderpets on Netflix on streaming video.

  20. Adrian IceWing says:

    I am one who prefers physical media over digital. I still buy music CDs and DVDs/Blu-ray discs. I would rather hold a book in my hand than on a computer or tablet. I’m am on a computer screen on day and when I get home, I don’t want to have to stare at another screen to read my comics.

    In addition to that, I prefer to go to the comic book store for the experience. It’s fun to walk in and talk to the shop owner or other customers about what is going on in certain books.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      I agree about liking to walk into my LCS. I know the entire staff by name and we talk about everything from comics to books we are reading to events of the day. No exaggeration. It seems that most people complaining about having to go to their LCS have stores near them that are not very fun to be in. The more I read this thread the luckier I feel to have such a great comic store in my town!

  21. Super article Jim. Since I got the new iPad a couple months back I’ve really dived into digital comics. The screen is of such high quality that to my eyes the line work is better than print on monthlies, and just as good as tpb printing.

    The cost is also a huge factor for me. A $3.99 book sells for €2.99 digitally or €5.10 in print in Ireland. As sad as it is to admit, I’ve been moving away from single issues in print and my comic store is suffering a loss of my business as a result. I find the vast majority of money I spend in-store is now on comics merch rather than comics.

    • NodNolan NodNolan says:

      €5.10…? How on earth did your retailer get the price that high? my lcs sells a $3.99 comic for £3.15 (€3.50) and they are artificially inflating the price. Surely a retailer in Eire should be on a par or only slightly higher in price than a UK retailer.

    • I don’t want to name and shame here but it’s a pretty big UK retailer with a branch in Ireland. They’re the only ones with reliable stock, and as comic shops are very scarce on the ground choice is limited. The price combined with new staff who simply aren’t as good to ensure what you want pulled actually gets into the folder has put me off singles in a big way in the past year.

  22. daccampo daccampo says:

    As someone who is currently asking people to pre-order his comic book, I do feel like I have to say something here, Jim.

    I actually agree with you. I think books should be available the way people want to read them. In the case of my book, we were consulted, and we had some say in the matter, but we’ve ended up with something of a compromise — our book will be available in digital 1 month after the release of the print edition. That might bum some folks out, but given that we’re also a bimonthly book, it actually kinda works for us pretty well.

    However: on the subject of “pre-ordering” print copies — it’s the system I’m stuck with. I am contacting retail shops all over the US on a daily basis because I’m putting out a small indie book that many publishers are never going to see or look at in the catalog. Thus, many stores will never carry it, and you will be unable to drive to a shop and pick it up — IF YOU PREFER A PRINT COPY.

    If you are cool with digital — issue #1 of Sparrow & Crowe will be available in August. Not day/date digital, but with a date in sight.

    So, my only thing is: yes, IF YOU WANT A PRINT COPY, please pre-order my book. Because I’m not publishing through Marvel or DC, and I just don’t have the luxury of ensuring it will be in every store in the US. I’d be happy to share with you endorsements, previews, sample pages, etc. — all the things you’d normally look at in a bookstore before buying something off the shelf. Yes, I’m asking you to order it before it comes out. But I’m NOT asking you to make an uninformed decision. It’s the eco-system that I’ve decided to navigate with my book, and I’m doing the best I can.

    • MaxPower MaxPower says:

      I sympathize with what you’re saying, the independent publishers are really the ones getting screwed with this current system. For what it’s worth, I think your compromise of having the digital product available one month later is the best choice you can make and will be the way you receive my money in August. Out of curiosity, as a creator, how would you feel producing a comic that was available only digitally? Because it was originally intended to be printed, but was unable to be so, would this “lessen” the work in any way?Is this an option that smaller publishers are going to have to make one day? Lots of luck on Sparrow & Crowe!

    • daccampo daccampo says:

      Max, that’s actually a REALLY good question… as a storyteller, I’m not really concerned as to whether you read the story in print or on a screen. HOWEVER, the actual construction of the comics is a different matter. Jared’s art, in some instances, is really built as an entire page… so I can see where the whole “guided view” wouldn’t be optimal on certain pages (similar to maybe JH Williams’ BATWOMAN). So, in that sense, I’d like to know what FORMAT we’re writing and drawing for, so that we can create the perfect product. And I do think there’s some overlap — there’s a way to build it for both, we just need to know that going in. I will be thinking about that with future projects, for sure.

      And thank you! :)

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I just think that it’s a missed opportunity the book can’t be delivered by raven.

    • daccampo daccampo says:

      That should’ve been a Kickstarter reward! Dammit!

  23. MaxPower MaxPower says:

    Thanks to digital, I will never purchase another monthly floppy issue again. Do we live in an on-demand culture? Absolutely, often in a detrimental sense. However, when it comes to comic books, the onus of supporting brick and mortar stores (which, by the way, are simply not an option for many-if not the majority-of the consumers) through pre-ordering is ridiculous and non-existent in other industries. I don’t buy digital comics simply for the convenience, but it is a large part of it and I will never whine or complain if something I want isn’t available digitally. Instead, I simply won’t purchase it at all. And that is money left on the table for the publisher, which seems like a silly way to run a business.

  24. Luthor Luthor says:

    Really well said, Jim.

  25. ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

    I’m also frustrated with the pre-order system, and it’s a rare occasion when I actually do it. However (and this isn’t the point of the article but is the tone of a few comments) I don’t think it’s fair to blame creators for wanting to educate people about how the system works. Every consumer should make their personal choice, but if a new book needs pre-orders to survive, it’s only fair for that to be part of the educated decision.

  26. MaxPower MaxPower says:

    Imagine if you had to commit to purchasing a movie ticket three months in advance of that film’s release. Sure, you know that you’re going to love Dark Knight Rises, but what about a smaller indie film that you don’t know much about? Comics ask you to do this for about $4.00 an issue (with a 3 issue minimum). Even a movie ticket costs less than that 3 issue commitment sight unseen, which is pretty nuts.

    • daccampo daccampo says:

      Just to play devil’s advocate (and I know this isn’t directed at me, but since I have a personal stake, this is on my mind a LOT right now), would that advance sale make a difference if I showed you multiple trailers as well as quotes from your favorite directors and critics who saw it and liked it?

      As I said above, it’s not my ideal system, but it’s what I’m given, so I’m trying to make the best of it. So, in my case, I’m happy to share a preview, give you a taste of the story, the writing and the art — EVERYTHING that might sell you on the book while your’e IN the store. No, it’s not “in the moment,” but I feel like I’m doing what I can to ensure that I’m not asking folks to make a blind purchase.

    • MaxPower MaxPower says:

      And now, you have asked a great question. Of course, I can only provide insight on my purchasing habits here. The number one thing that gets me to try something is my feelings towards that creator. You could tell me BKV was writing a book on toilets and I’d sign up without seeing anything in advance. That’s great for established creators, sure, but for the lesser knows (no offense) I am really drawn to new works by creators who are interviewed about the new work because it givesme an idea of both the work to be coming out and more importantly a feel for the creator. Now in your very specific case, I’ve listened to enough Fuzzy Typewriter to know I like you and the way you approach/view the comic medium, so I’m sold on trying your work out. Previews help me get a feel on the art, but I’m probably only checking out the preview for something I’ve already heard about via podcasts (be it iFanboys “don’t miss” or the fuzzy typewriter). This is probably easier said than done as I suppose people approach you for interviews as opposed to the other way around. Again though, best of luck good sir.

  27. Rob3E Rob3E says:

    When I was a kid… [moves spectacles to the end of nose, tremulous waving of cane] we could buy our comics from two stores locally, the drug store and the convenience store. Each place stocked them as subset of the magazines, and if you could request that a title be ordered ahead of time, that’s news to me. By the time I graduated high school, buying comics meant either home delivery or convincing your one friend with a car to take a 20+ mile road trip to the nearest shop. Nowadays you not only have to have a local comic book shop handy, but you have to know a whole season ahead of time what you will want to read or hope that your store happens to order enough. Basically in my lifetime comics have gone from extremely convenient to ridiculously complicated. Even if there were no digital option, it would still seem like a broken system to me. But digital can and does do a lot to aid in the otherwise complex process of finding, buying, and reading a comic book. It’s frustrating to see reluctance to adopt it in favor of “the old way” especially when the old way was already broken.

    Of course no one is required to go digital, and it doesn’t sound like digital makes up a huge percentage of sales (yet?), but the idea that people can’t go digital because it hurts the brick & mortar stores seems poorly thought out for a number of reasons. The pre-order model is already cumbersome. If print really is preferable, then all a digital offering can do is increase readership. But if digital is really going to be a major slice of the market in the future, then physical shops will have to adapt eventually, and delaying that by hampering digital will make nothing better.

    When I was a kid, two stores in my small home town carried most (all?) titles from three publishers: Marvel, DC, and Archie. Today I can buy almost everything from those three publishers and many more besides without even going into a store. It’s a situation that’s so much better now than at any point it my past, that it makes those hold-outs stand out all the more.

  28. filippod filippod (@filippodee) says:

    The real advantage of digital is that you can buy when you actually have the time to read. No pile of shame = huge money saving. That said – even if I am a Kindle guy – I still prefer my comics on paper. My mail order service is making it easy for me as they pass a good discount, they are able to procure any issue up to a few months after release and allow to drop subs at any point (no 3 month window). If I had to suffer a strict pre-order system I’d probably switch to digital.

    • Rob3E Rob3E says:

      I don’t seem to be reaping that particular advantage of digital. While it’s great that most publishers are now releasing digital at the same time as print, I’m too cheap to pay full “cover price” for what basically amounts to digital rental. Result: I wait for sales, buy things I’d been wanting to read, and then leave them in a virtual pile of shame until I get around to reading them. I’m the pre-order system’s worst nightmare. Not only do I never pre-order. I don’t even buy new stuff until someone else reads it, raves about it, and they put out enough issues that I can get a complete storyline. Digital trade-waiting. But, while I’ve spent more money on comics digitally in the last year than I have on physical comics in several years, I don’t really look at my unread backlog as a “pile of shame.” It’s really good stuff that I simply never got around to seeking out in the store, and I will be reading all of it. Plus most of it wasn’t current when I bought it, so there’s none of the sense of urgency that comes with a pile of unread, new, monthly floppies. I don’t actually save any money this way, but I do think I’m getting more issues per dollar than if I had bought physical books.

    • mikegraham6 mikegraham6 says:

      i still have a digital “pile of shame” :S

  29. StoreGuy says:

    We’ve found that much of the “target audience” was not well suited to a 14 month wait between installments. Of the (very) few children who even come in the store, none seemed to really recall the initial book until their parent prodded them incessantly. “You remember that book? Right? You know the one. Look there it is! You don’t remember it? You sure? We read it. Well there’s a new one!” In one chuckle inducing incident, a kid of about 7 or 8 batted his father’s hand away declaring the book “Baby dootie.”

    That said, Marvel appears to be shooting themselves in the foot by not having it online. But then, Marvel’s been making mountainous problems out of the meager molehills with digital for a long time. Not surprised, really. But then again, did the initial book really do that well? There’s never been a firm comment either way and it never really moved on our shelves. (I think two books from our initial order still grace our shelves.)

  30. kennyg kennyg says:

    My main problem with digital can be boiled down to three small words:

    Two. Page. Splash.

  31. ghettojourno ghettojourno says:

    Takio doesn’t exist to me unless it’s in book form. I loved that digest hardcover and I was disappointed in the transition to issue releases. I’ll be disappointed again if the series is collected in paperback only like Bendis and Oeming’s Powers arcs.

    • This move by Bendis is the height of stupidity. The young kids he’s writing this for aren’t per-ordering their books months in advance.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      @davidtobin: I’m not sure the kids factor into the actual financial side of this too much. While they are not likely to be pre-ordering on their own, if they’re under 18, they can’t buy it digitally without assistance either. Even a kid walking on their own to a local bookstore is probably a rare sight (if such a thing store even exists in their town).

      I don’t have any facts, but my strong suspicion is the the majority of child’s reading material is purchased for them these days (or possibly through proxy with gift cards and the like).

      So by releasing this issues, Bendis has to be hoping that his young readers are paying attention and can bug their parents to help them find what they want, or their parents are savvy enough to figure out how to get the content their children enjoy.

      I’m not sure if I’d call it the height of stupidity, and I trust Bendis’ knowledge and experience in the comic business over my own any day, but it definitely appears a bit unwise.

  32. LucasEwalt says:

    Why does everyone look at me like I’m an idiot when I say I like having the physical copy? I like going to the store and picking stuff out. (Of course, my store doesn’t have a problem with me not preordering stuff, so I’m sure that makes a difference.) I just gave my ten year old cousin about 80 issues of Spider-Man to read and he thought it was the coolest thing ever. I can’t lend my books to friends if they’re all digital.

    I don’t begrudge anyone for wanting to read their comics digitally, and it’s rather stupid for any company to not provide their product to as many people through as many avenues as possible. But why must I consistently be called a “dinosaur” or “Gramps” whenever I say I don’t want to go digital?

    • Jim Mroczkowski Jim Mroczkowski (@jimski) says:

      I think you’re actually in good company; plenty of people still prefer their books to be books. I don’t think I would give anybody too much grief for not wanting to read digital books; writers not wanting to sell them that way is another matter.

    • I think a lot of resentment is the Jonathan Franzen argument that digital readers aren’t real readers. It is total horseshit and simply emanates from his superiority complex. Numbers clearly show that access to digital media increases its consumption by, like, a lot. What Franzen wants you to believe is that allowing greater, easier access leads to less quality material. I don’t see evidence of that.

      I don’t begrudge someone for reading only physical books or collecting records or for having a DVD collection. But what I do have trouble with is the romanticizing of physical objects versus their digital counterparts. I don’t like being told I’m “not a real comics reader” because I read comics for the stories not as collectibles. My experience is that digital readers are held as less pure than hard copy readers.

    • k5blazer k5blazer says:

      I think some of the resentment to digital comes from the unintended tone from statements like ” I read such and such digitally…” , it can come across that it’s more important to be reading digital than the content of what’s being read.

    • @k5blazer That’s a good point. I totally read the quote “I read such and such digitally…” in the tone of condescending Wonka.

  33. Mark_S says:

    Still can’t afford an iPad so the whole digital thing is moot to me. I’ve read comics online at my computer but it is not as comfortable leaning back on the couch or bed and reading them. Keep shouting about digital comics if you want. For myself I expect to have enough money saved up to buy an iPad in a year or two. Until then the old business model is ok with me.

  34. friendross says:

    i stopped buying comics when they where no longer sold in stores i went into

    i started again when i got an ipad and tripped comixology 1.5 years ago

    last week i tried to go to the store to buy physical books with digital codes. i walked into the store right when they opened, no AVX, VS., uncanny xmen, or fury max on the shelf.. hard to grow your market share when your primary point of sale is so lame

  35. k5blazer k5blazer says:

    I think there can be room for both, it doesn’t have to be “unless it’s Digital I refuse that company…”, nor does it have to be “Paper only…” There is a happy medium , it looks like a lot of the concern is in the manner the publishers are trying to reach the new reader. And a large number of current readers are spoiled buy the proliferation of Trade paperbacks, no one wants to seek out a back issue at a shop any more. The catering to the elusive new reader has led to the over-importance of re-numbering issues. Too many people are either too lazy to read a book or have this fear of picking something up and if they don’t know all of it then they freak out. I bet a number of us saw something and started reading and were completely content to backtrack the lineage or go from t where they started. I The digital vs paper debate shouldn’t be a debate, both can prosper. But the constant renumbering and reboots is just pandering to an audience that won’t appreciate it at the cost of the long standing reader

  36. Agreed there’s room for both, and digital definitely is the future. The pre-order thing is kind of another issue, but yeah I don’t partake in that (except for Savage Dragon). Ideally there are ways the direct market can update and improve things.

  37. Parri Parri (@pazzatron) says:

    Good article. Good debate.

    My main problem with digital as a UK reader? Time zones.
    Comics hit the shelves when the stores open at 9am.
    Comics are available online at around 7pm.
    I’m guessing this is because digital distributers are state side.

  38. muddi900 says:

    I like how everyone is so eager create another monopoly after years of enduring Diamond.

    Also, by my calculations, and indie creator gets nothing from a digital sale. If we have a former comixology rep not under NDA, please correct me.

    30% goes to Apple when you buy through your ios device.
    At least 30% goes to comixology, because it would zero sense to cede a larger margin to Apple, who have zero investment in the project.
    At least 30% goes to comixology, because it would zero sense to cede a larger margin to the other two parties.

    10% to the creator, at most. A typical indie comic is 3-3.5 USD, which means at best 35 cents per sale, which isn’t bad when you consider the abysmal royalties recording artists get. Walking Dead, the highest selling non-licensed comic book in April, sold around 30,000 copies. At 13%, the digital sales would be around 3900, meaning a net sales $1365. Digital sales aren’t large enough to warrant going after the market.

    I guess as a consumer, you can chose to buy comics through the comixology website, as it takes away Apple’s/Google’s cut, though I don’t know if that changes too much.

    And to the ‘Digital is future DERP!’ people; why do you think it’s the future? Can you give one sound argument where the current model can lead to a healthy market in the future? Suppose all comics are available through all vendors, but comics bought from one vendor does not work with other vendors format, they do not work on every device, they do not have a consistent quality across devices and they do not have any price advantage over print. It seems this future of yours does not have any comics in them.

    • Rob3E Rob3E says:

      I don’t know that anyone is anxious for another monopoly. But then if you actually consider digital to be an alternative to print, then digital actually breaks the Diamond monopoly.
      Who do you consider as having the monopoly? Apple? Google? Comixology?
      I will say that I don’t like the current digital model. I would very much like to see a more open, universal format (cbz?) that isn’t dependent on any one company’s publishing system or any one company’s hardware. It hasn’t happened yet. And I agree that a marketing model that gives the smallest slice of the pie to the creative force is not a good one, but I don’t know how it compares to the current, print model.
      But we’re not locked into the current model. “Digital” doesn’t mean “sold for publishers by Comixology to be read on an iPad.” That’s just what’s happening right now. And it’s not the only model. Some indy creators are selling cbz or pdf files. Dark Horse has its own app and has some bundles you can get on their web site that aren’t offered through Apple (because it wouldn’t be feasible with Apple’s cut, I imagine).
      I think it’s a misinterpretation to say that “digital is the future” means “we currently have the best digital model.” I also don’t think “digital is the future” means “print is dead.” It simply means that more and more media is becoming available digitally, and there doesn’t seem to be anything unique about comic books that would exempt them from this trend. More music is being sold digitally, more books. Movies and TV shows as well. I don’t know the numbers, but I have to assume these are profitable models for the industries involved, given that none of them are charities. Likewise comic publishers are selling their books digitally. I assume they’re making some money on the deal, or they wouldn’t be doing it. Is it enough to sustain the industry? Not likely, at least not yet, but it’s clearly a source of revenue for them.
      I can’t make an argument that the current model will lead to a healthy market in future. I don’t have the numbers. Do you? I also have no expectation that we’ve arrived at the digital model for all time. But I provide one bit of anecdotal data: In the past year of buying digital comics, I spent several times more than I spent on print comics in the previous years. You can argue that publishers made less by selling me digital copies then they would have if I had bought print. I have no idea if you would be right or not. But I do know that I would not have bought those comics in print, so even if the amount of money that found its way back to publisher is small, it’s money that they weren’t going to see otherwise. Digital isn’t the future. Digital is the present. Saying that the current model isn’t going to be profitable enough for the comics industry isn’t an argument that’s going to make digital disappear. Failing to find a digital model that generates enough revenue is simply going to make comics disappear or make them more of a niche market then they already are.

    • Digital comics are the future in the same way that digital content is the future in all forms of media. I’m sure they still produce music CDs but they have become the exception and not the rule of music distribution. Each year we see exponential growth in digital book sales through Barnes and Noble, Apple and Amazon. Digital transfers have almost totally transformed movie delivery with access to streaming Netflix, Amazon On Demand and iTunes. Comics are not special in this regard and to simply put your hands over your eyes and believe that comic readers will still have dozens of longboxes in closets in 10-20 does not match with the data.

      Comics are somewhat different in that it is a collectable medium. But I think that as technology improves, scale increases and digital prices decrease it is only a matter of time before digital comics surpass print ones. No one is saying comic printing will ultimately end but I can see that segment of the hobby becoming more akin to collecting records as opposed to downloading MP3s. It will be increasingly expensive and harder to find.

    • blackcanary blackcanary says:

      I work in royalties for a large music publisher, and I can assure you that royalties for recording artists truly are abysmal. Even royalties for more famous catalogs such as The Beatles and Lady Gaga are surprisingly low. What’s worse, is that they get even less for digital media. I can assume it’s the same for comics and digital books as well. So being that creators, writers and artists get so little income from sales, it’s important to have both.

      As for me, I’m on a middle ground. I get the majority of my comics from the store, but I’m certainly interested in adding more digital comics to my life. However, I don’t have an iPad, E-Reader, or even a computer right now. I can get comics on my phone, but even the Droid Razr’s screen is too small for my liking. I do have a certain amount of reluctance when it comes to digital media because I just had to deal with a hard drive crash and I lost a LOT of music, pictures, movies, etc. There’s a certain amount of comfort in knowing that no matter what happens, from hard drive crashes to the zombie apocalypse, that I can go and pull comics out of the box and read them.

      But maybe I’m just showing my age… ;)

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @blackcanary: With most digital comics you’re not downloading the files, you’re accessing them through a third party application so if your computer died, you would just log back into the application on your new device and all your books would be there. In the case of zombie apocalypse, however, you’re more concerned with like, food, and water, and shotgun shells, right?

    • blackcanary blackcanary says:

      I do understand how digital comics work. Just trying to explain why I prefer hard copies of things when they’re available. :)

    • iroberts007 iroberts007 says:

      I think Zombieland taught us what to me is the first rule of the zombie apocalypse. Good Cardio. A 6 minute mile is more valuable than a dozen shot gun shells Conor. Of course if your computer crashes.. you will need to spend some dinero on repairs or on new hardware before your even able to connect to the net again right? Problem not solved. Ill take my comics mail order at 35% off please (boo hoo preorder) and ill save my tech for music and movies and then when the zombie apocalypse comes ill have an entire room full of comics to use as kindling.

    • muddi900 says:

      @Andrew It has happened before, so it will happen again. Because Magic.

      @Rob3E As I pointed out, you can buy comics through comixology.com, and then download to your tablet to read. It is purely based on assumption that it increases the publishers cut.

    • @Muddi900 It has happened before, so it will happen again. Because logic.

    • muddi900 says:

      That’s not how logic works. There are like 5 logical fallacies in your statement.

  39. C Biro says:

    But what about the production schedules for these products? Why should the publishers order 12 issues of a new series if they don’t know whether it will be financially sustainable past issue one? Whether we like it or not, comic books are still a niche hobby. They don’t have the broad consumer support for Marvel or DC to just order that many issues and not have an audience to sell it to.

  40. flapjaxx flapjaxx says:

    Yeah, I support digital and read digital comics sometimes.

    But this is just another utopian article that doesn’t get into how reading things digitally almost guarantees that your engagement with and remembrance of the material will be SHALLOWER than if you read it in print. Many studies have shown this. Even people who insist that “I remember more when I read digital” end up performing at lower levels on reading comprehension tests.

    So all of this rhetoric about “good = technology” and “bad = FEAR of technology” is totally misplaced. Technology isn’t perfect, or even “nearly perfect”, and there are advantages and disadvantages to everything. Digital definitely does have a lot of advantages, but, really, for the last five years I’ve seen a million of these utopian pro-digital comics articles, and somehow the utopia never gets here.

    • First off, I don’t know what you are specifically referring to when you reference lower comprehension levels through digital reading. If I had to bet I would guess that is based on reading off a computer screen and it probably pulls data from a general population of media consumers. I know I have a much lower attention span when I am reading something boring at work and if I have the opportunity to divert myself click into links and such in articles my comprehension will suffer. But when I am reading a dedicated Kindle book or digital comic, then that is my focus. I think a lot of this drop in comprehension is from linking within text.

      Secondly, in that five year span you mention a lot has changed. Utopia is not how I’d describe things but the introduction of hand held devices, eg Kindles and iPads has revolutionized how people read and access media. To simply want greater access to content through digital doesn’t usher in utopia just as it’s denial isn’t Armageddon. All this article is saying is that the ability to deliver content digitally makes consumers expect it. They don’t expect Utopia, just easy access to content.

    • muddi900 says:

      Many studies have shown that I have the largest penis in the world.

  41. Baykid Baykid says:

    This is a super interesting discussion(s). Hearing people’s gripes about there comic shops makes me thankful for my own local shop. So big props to Escapist Comics: Chill staff and I never have had to pre-order anything to be sure it’ll be available when it comes out. Seems like they’re saving me from some of the downfalls of the industry.

    So if you’re in the East Bay, check out Escapist. http://www.escapistcomics.com/

  42. mrgraves mrgraves says:

    “A bunch of new TV shows will be on the air next fall; which ones are you going to feel like watching on a random Thursday in September? Be specific. Everyone you don’t mention will lose their jobs.”

    Sadly, networks DO work that way.

    • But even that is changing. You’re talking about broadcast and advertising upfronts. This is undergoing a massive rehaul due to cable, digital and streaming. The whole idea of paying upfront for a product down the line is called into question when new ways of consuming that content are available. Already studios and distributors play to the iTunes and Box set crowd in the same way that the comics industry writes for the trade.

      Just last week NBC and ABC called into question the utility of sweeps and Neilsen ratings when seasons are truncated or start at different times of years. The entire media landscape is changing as new ways of delivering content are reaching maturity. There are fits and stumbles and legacy systems will always try to retain their place in the market but eventually technology will disrupt all of these industries.

    • mrgraves mrgraves says:

      Glad that only took them a decade to catch on.

  43. boosebaster boosebaster says:

    Best ifanboy article in ages.

    I assumed you’ve waved it under Bendis’ nose for reaction?