What Do We Lose When We “Go Digital”?

images-4It’s a muggy Monday afternoon in the San Fernando Valley when I wander into what I would describe as one of Los Angeles’ truly great used bookstores. There aren’t a lot of these places left (fewer each year, it seems), but this particular oasis of books has appeared almost out of nowhere on a street I can’t remember ever being on before. It’s a bit like a dream. Los Angeles is a sprawling place, so even after twenty years living here, there are new streets to explore, new stores to stumble upon. And from the minute I step through the doors of this place, I now it’s more than just a dumping ground for unwanted reading material. There’s just something about a well-managed, well thought out used bookshop that reeks of possibility. Not sure what to call it, but good bookstores have an energy of sorts that permeates the stacks. There’s love for books in this place and that hits me dead-on the minute I step through the front door. These guys are doing something right. I believe it was Cicero who said, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” And this place has soul in spades.

With a sense that there are treasures to be had in this undeniably special place, my thoughts images-6immediately shift to comics. Now I don’t fool myself into thinking that this place is going to have actual comic books; it’s not that sort of deal. But I do start thinking about my mental list of books about comics. Perhaps I’ll be able to fill a few gaps in that particular sub-collection. It’s then that I turn a corner in the store and come face-to-face with a glorious series of shelves packed from floor to ceiling with used graphic novels and collected editions. Angels sing from somewhere in the store, as I behold the bounty of collected comic book goodness before me. It’s shelf porn of the highest order and it’s all very well organized (separated into DC and Marvel mostly). Lots of indie stuff, too. As if I’ve just unearthed some archeological discovery, I quickly realize that this is where I will be spending the next couple of hours. I think I was supposed to go somewhere with someone later, but my calendar suddenly seems far less important than my desire to tackle this Everest of books and get to searching for gems.

images-2As I begin a methodical examination of this embarrassment of comic book riches, I think to myself that whoever buys the books for this place isn’t just buying anything. There’s a method to all this. A fan perhaps? Again, this isn’t just a dumping ground for orphaned graphic novels that no one wants. This is the good stuff, and I could spend all day here, there’s no doubt. It’s a perfect storm of escapism in a lot of ways, as this is a place that invites you to sit down a while and read to you’re heart’s content. There are omnibus editions, collected editions, Marvel Essentials, DC Showcase collections, random Marvel misfires, large format one-shots, anthologies of all kinds. It’s all here in one form or another. There’s even a bunch of copies of those “Marvel Graphic Novels” from the 1980’s when the idea of a graphic novel wasn’t quite clear yet. The prices aren’t super cheap, truth be told, and in some cases I’m certain I could get a better deal on EBay or from a used bookseller on Amazon. But under the circumstances, I’m forgiving of the price points, as there’s value in what this store is offering, Call it tangibility of product or the “higher cost of the real,” but this place offers something against which the digital equivalent just can’t compete.

I end up buying one of those old Marvel Graphic Novel large format books and a slightly worn images-1volume the collected issues of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. I exit the store, knowing full well that I shall return and that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. And short time later, as I peruse my new purchases over a cup of coffee, I’m reminded that what I’ve just experienced, the simple act of browsing a wall of actual books, is in fact something that may cease to exist in my lifetime. With the death of the bookstore and the likelihood that used bookstores like the one I’ve just left will become less and less prevalent, I start to think about what it truly means to “go digital.” More specifically, I start to think what we lose when paper books are transformed into little more than ones and zeroes. What are we really sacrificing? If a used bookstore can act as a sort of literary time capsule (and I think it does so in a wonderful way), do we lose our personal history when things are distilled to a digital version? I try not to think about it too much, but one of the things we sacrifice when we embrace the digital version of something is the reality that we do don’t actually own it at all. Truth is, we’re just sort of borrowing digital comics when we buy them. No guarantee that the cloud where all your comics are being stored or the company that stores them will be around forever. Where will your precious comic collection be when the lights go out? I’m not saying the sky is falling, but it could happen.

imagesNow I’m the first to admit that the digital revolution in comic books has really been a good thing for me. I definitely read more comics than ever before thanks to digital versions. And as for re-reading books from the past, I’m far more inclined to read a spiffy new digital version than to read a poorly colored old copy of a comic book from way back when. True, I like to hold comic books in hand, and I like to possess them for the artifacts that they are, but very often the digital experiences is better in a lot of ways. Easier on my old eyes, if nothing else. Ultimately, my kids may eventually have no real choice in the matter. Digital may be their only option for books at some point. Not that hard to imagine a time when it’s just cheaper and easier to publish books exclusively as digital versions. Analog copies of anything will become a niche market. I don’t doubt that comics will always exist, but if they eventually exist solely in the ether as a digital file, do they really exist at all? The debate over print versus digital is likely to go on for some time, and I can certainly see both sides, but on this particular day, as I soak in a bit of southern California sun and thumb through my copy of The Incredible Hulk and Thing Marvel Graphic Novel and enjoy the words by Jim Starlin and the beautifully tangible art by Bernie Wrightson, I’m happy that this version doesn’t need to be plugged in, doesn’t need to be stored offsite on any sort of server and doesn’t require anything more than available light to be enjoyed. Simply stated, this version just seems to have a bit more soul.


Gabe Roth is a TV writer willing to sell his soul for the right price. He’s @gaberoth on Twitter.

 

 

Comments

  1. The main thing digital loses for me is when there is a 2-page splash. On my iPad, I can fit almost an entire comic page on the screen at one time at a size that is easily readable. Barring tiny fonts or pages with a lot of stuff. But a 2-page spread loses its grandeur and glory on the tablet. Not to mention the fonts get so small I can’t read without zooming in. My use case is seeing the whole page at once rather than a “guided” flow, but even that wouldn’t buy me anything on a 2-page splash other than zooming for me on the text.

    I also like the experience of reading a paper comic: the smell, the feel. You don’t get that with digital. And I love going to bookstores and comic stores, looking at the cases full of books, flipping through boxes of comics. It’s much more exciting to find a gem in the 25-cent box than to buy it digitally.

    I will say that for a few titles, I’ve gone digital. Walking Dead is a book that works great on the tablet (barring the rare 2-page spread which drives me crazy).

    • The two page spread is a huge issue. Bendis in particular, really needs to pare back the amount he uses.

    • I feel the opposite about double-page spreads. I LOVE them digitally. Sometimes (usually with a Bendis book) when I’m reading a paper copy I won’t realize that I’m supposed to be reading across both pages but that is impossible with digital because the orientation changes so I know right away that it’s double-page spread time. It takes away all the bad storytelling/user error from the process. Also, it takes away the line down the middle and gives us the art as one piece, which is great.

    • that’s an interesting take on the spreads Conor. I kinda like them as well, and i don’t’ really mind rotating the iPad. I think i do that to, but wasn’t as aware of it.

    • I’m not trying to imply that I am so lazy I can’t rotate my tablet (although I am pretty lazy, just ask my wife). And it is nice to see one big picture. But reading text on it, zoomed out to fit two pages on a 10-inch tablet screen at the same time, is often too much for my old eyes, even with reading glasses (“Hey you kids, get off my lawn!”).

    • I love zooming into the two page spreads and really digging into the artwork too.

    • If there were designed as a single page sideways I’d enjoy them more. I always feel I zoom out and lose definition by doing so.

  2. Illiad is an amazing book store. I go in there thinking “okay, this time, spend under 100.” Never happens… : /. But I have found many out of print or just book I’ve never heard of. And not just having a ton of comics, but also in the art section are books by Chykin, Miller and so on. Also a signed Mike Mignola Hellboy poster.

    • It really is a special place. I was floored by the selection of graphic novels and the like. Usually you go into a used bookstore and the comics area is essentially non-existent, but the gang at Iliad clearly gets it. No real bargains to speak, admittedly, but the prices are definitely fair and a rarities abound. Getting out of there with money still in my wallet was indeed difficult.

  3. Great article Gabe. I think these type of shops will never leave us though. They’re going continue in a similiar manner to the independent record stores that specialise in vinyl. There’s always going to be a tangible element to books and graphic novels. It can even be seen now in how highly anticipated the Marvel Omnibus editions are.

  4. All I know is that the current Marvel paperstock doesn’t smell very good, so I’m glad I read more of then digitally.

  5. The only thing that worries me about digital is the lack of ownership – I don’t want my “purchases” stored in the cloud. I want them local, on my storage device or my “media player.”

    Maybe that makes me old-timey, but to me files and data are very tangible things, and I don’t want to be dependent on a third-party in order to access them.

    But realistically, printed media is anachronistic – it’s time is up and will soon go the way of Pocket watches, whale-bone bustiers, communism, VHS and CD’s.

  6. One thing I worry about is what if Comixology becomes the “Myspace” of digital comic sites? What happens if a bigger, better site emerges and new readers start using it instead? If Comixology goes out of business in 5, 10, 20 years, all your comics (and the thousands of dollars spent) go with it. You don’t actually own your comics, and there is no resale value as there is with physical copies. It happened with JManga. I can’t help but think it is just a matter of time before the same happens with Comixology.

    • Myspace’s users didn’t have a monetary investment in continuing to use it. A new product came along, and bam, everyone switched. Other than giving all of the product away for free (or at least honouring existing purchases), the only possible way to topple that existing investment users have is to have a new product that is so astoundingly good that it’s worth spending all that money over again. Its why you don’t see many iPhone users that have purchased a lot of apps switching to Android or Blackberry (but you see even long-time Blackberry users ditching that platform in droves).

    • Exactly. That’s why I’m waiting for DRM free, device-independent formats that the end-user takes ownership of without requiring active license.

    • @jxc: I’m just speculating of course, and playing devil’s advocate. There are many possible scenarios, and the one you mention is certainly valid.

      The scenario I envisioned involved “new readers” and not ones who had the previous monetary investment you mentioned. However, I would add that readers who already own Comixology comics could also start using the “new” site without losing their Comixology comics (I use both iTunes and Amazon for MP3s for instance). There would not necessarily be a realization on the part of the consumer that “if I start using this better new app to read comics, it means that Comixology will eventually go out of business and I will lose my old comics.”

      Hope that makes sense. Anyway, as I say, it is just something that I worry about, but obviously not something I can predict with absolute certainty.

    • myspace had bigger issues as to why it failed. It was a giant pop culture thing.

      ComiXology is integrally tied to the business of comics. There is A LOT invested in keeping it health. Remember in order for something “new” to come out, the publishers have to get in bed with it.

    • @wally: yeah, that’s true. I don’t have any knowledge whether or not certain publishers have some kind of exclusivity deal with Comixology. I would have thought not, but what do I know.

      It just seems to me that if, let’s say Amazon, came up with a shiny new comic reader app with the ability to purchase comics–I would think they would make a big splash, possibly to the detriment of Comixology, possibly to the degree Comixology eventually goes down for the count. And the publishers might be willing to get on board considering Amazon’s past successes with selling vast quantities of digital media. It might also not irk the publishers too much if you have to buy your media all over again (how many different versions of the Star Wars trilogy have I bought now? Ugh!).

      It’s all speculation, and a bunch of us could get together and posit scenarios all day that either supports the demise or longevity of Comixology. And really, like you mention below in another comment, for the many who view comics largely as disposable media, it hardly matters. But for me, personally, it is something that concerns me a little.

      My Myspace analogy is certainly not a 1 to 1 comparison. I was just trying to make the point (not very well, granted) that it is possible for one-popular companies, products, or services to become obsolete in the face of innovation and competition (and the competition doesn’t need to be a mega-corp like Amazon, innovation often comes from upstarts with a novel business model).

      Anyway, apologies for the ramble.

  7. The worst part of digital is the impossibility of sharing a book with a friend. No more, “hey check this out.” We will lose so many potential comic book lovers without the opportunity to stumble upon or have some uncle toss them an old X-men comic.

    • I agree. As someone has often borrows & lends books, I think that this is a major disadvantage to the new media. Plus, it may lead to unnecessary double-buying. My girlfriend just finished reading an e-book that she recommended to me. I don’t read e-books, so we’ll end up buying a physical copy anyway.

    • This was one of the things Graphicly did pretty well. I liked the comments page for each issue as well and the easy social sharing but it seems like the publisher’s choice is Comixology is the big winner. Still early days though. Comixology is good at what it does but I do wish they would work on expanding the features set. The only thing that makes them stand out is they have solid apps and all the right content deals. As a “digital comic shop”, they don’t do much in terms of all the stuff you get out of a “real comic shop” like social interaction, news, etc. Unfortunately, its not users that drive innovation in these things but competition and right now, the competition is really just regular digital book stores and they don’t seem to be doing much to target comic readers.

    • Actually you can share, just log in using your userid on their tablet. I have my, my wife and daughter’s iPads set up to all use the same Comixology account. Works great, and it even tells me when my wife or daughter have left off at a certain page when I download a book that they are reading.

  8. i view Digital Comics as disposable “periodicals”..for reading and enjoying now. But i view printed books as the things that i’ll curate and keep in a collection. Floppy comics I don’t regard very highly, as they are printed on such low grade periodical paper (same stuff they use for coupons and direct mail) i don’t feel that they are worth keeping. I’m not a bag and board, long box collector, so for me that’s not a thing for me. Plus, I don’t think they’ll last as long as newsprint anyways since its dumpster pulp held together with a plastic coating, that’s not meant to be archival or last very long. I don’t care if my digital comics are stored in a cloud, because once they’ve been read, its highly doubtful i’ll ever go back to them. That’s when i buy a trade or HC.

    I looooove finding TPBs and comic collections at used book stores esp if its cheap. Big hobby of mine seeking those. The one thing, is sometimes the paper is already yellowing and warping on pretty recent stuff which is kinda sad. Those books are going to fall apart in a few years. Comic publishers don’t consider longevity when printing these books unfortunately.

  9. It’ll be interesting to see the net result of increasing isolation and growing virtual community. Like, we’re paying for things with money you don’t see to get something you can’t actually hold. You want that album, you click that button that’s not even a real button, and you have the album – even though you can’t see it or feel it. Going out and buying a physical album was an investment of not just money, but of time and experience, and when you got home with that album, it was evidence of something you’d gone through. There is now, except for maybe on a server somewhere, little evidence of anything that we’re doing. — JJ Abrams

  10. I refuse to pay more than 2.99 for a digital copy I don’t really own. But then I have to pay 3.99 for a physical Marvel comic which now has crappy paper stock. A bad situation to say the least.

    • That really bugs me. I get a 20% discount from my LCS by having a subscription. I’d much rather buy my titles digitally then buy a nice hardcover or trade for stuff that I really like. If I’m going to have a physical artifact, I’d rather it be a really nice one.

      Most everyone but Marvel discounts after a month which makes me way more likely to take chances on titles after I’ve read some reviews when I can pick up a couple of issues at a discount. I really want someone to introduce a subscription or “season pass” option that gives me some kind of break for regular purchasing. Marvel Unlimited seems to be moving in an interesting direction, though. Until then, buying floppies is cheaper for anything new. The vast majority of comics I own and being produced aren’t going to be ones I’m going to ever read again (though if they’re easily accessible via my iPad, I’d be a lot more likely to than if I have to rummage through the dozens of long boxes in my basement).

  11. I have a large nostalgic attachment to owning the physical object, be it CDs, books, or in this case comics. Reading something digitally, isn’t the same for me. E-comics are tempting as a way to free up space in the closet,, yet, I’m hesitant. I may be old-fashioned, but I have trouble imagining the watercolors of Mind MGMT looking as good on a tablet screen.

    Plus, I do love the hunt, the searching through long box after long box at a convention in search of the final few issues of that run I’m completing. (I’m out on the East Coast, but that store in Los Angeles sounds simply fabulous). There is a satisfaction that, for me, is not the same as finding the same missing issues on line, or in a marked-down trade. The day may come when I don’t have a choice about buying new issues, and when it comes I’ll accept it, as I have learned to accept digital film projection, HD and so on. But, still, I’ll enjoy shopping for those old floppies in the dusty discount bins . . .

    To each their own . . .

    • the one thing i’ve always hated about long box diving is the dirt and grime. I can practically feel the germs crawling up my arms and the paper mites coming out of those musky boxes. haha kind of a germ-a-phobe i guess.

    • The thing I hate about long box diving – is actually having to search for something I want. I already know what I want – why can’t I just find it? Alphabetize, categorize, whatever you need to do to get me to what I want!

    • @Gabe Roth: Cicero was right. Enjoy it until it’s no more.

      And just saying, but your copy of IH&TMGN can still be signed by Starlin and Wrighton if you work at it. A digital copy can’t. And that’s an after-purchase bonus that can’t be beat! (…And it goes without saying: make contact with your favorite creators this convention season! You won’t regret it in the long run!)

      @cosmo: e-comics ain’t the same, but backlit watercolors under the right conditions is sometimes OK.

      @wallythegreenmonster: I hear ya! Just buy some latex gloves, and all will be well.

      @Grandturk: Long box diving is it’s own pleasure. Part of the ‘hobby’ one would say. Learn to love it or go online. It’s just one of those things you have to live with until the day comes when you can’t touch it until you own it. Personally, I hope I’m long dead before that’s the norm.

  12. i will say, that i have pretty awesome memories of skipping school to go into the city and get new CDs at Tower Records, and shopping at Comic stores. A digital download or a live stream is no way the same. But y’know we’re in a new age, the world changes. I do wonder how my kid will experience pop culture and media since this technology stuff is all he’ll know.

    • I guess I just sort of wonder if digital versions of things will be able to elicit the same kind of nostalgia that I feel when I peruse a stack of old books/graphic novels. Hard to imagine anyone getting excited about an old MP3 the same way you do when you hold an old album. Maybe nostalgia transcends media itself. I hope so.

    • ultimately, the art will transcend the object. I mean if its a great song or book or movie or comic, who cares what the delivery system was? You’re going to remember that experience, song, or story hopefully. Sometimes i think we think the objects are more important than the art, and I don’t really agree with that.

    • As someone that’s been hoarding MP3s since before Napster, I can say you can totally get nostalgic for things you’ve only experienced digitally. Hell, I now get nostalgic over poorly encoded 128k MP3s with their swishy cymbals. Plus, you know, webcomics.

  13. I’m right there with you Gabe. Hunting down a printed comic (whether its new or old) is a glorious thing. Unlike music that you can’t hold in your hands, when you have a comic book in your hands its special. I also have a comixology account, but have not committed it fully yet. Someday, when the last printed comic is sold, it’ll be something to lament.

    I have that same Hulk & Thing in the Big Change GN. I just read it the other day. A fun story that almost makes no sense, but well worth the $5.95 cover price. How much does the average comic go for these days?

    • Three or four bucks, generally speaking. I got the Hulk/Thing GN for $4.50, which seemed quite fair considering it was in great shape and was something I’d have to go online to find otherwise. The artwork in that thing is brilliant..and yes, the story doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense.

    • You are right sir. The artwork is brilliant and should stated. And with the story its like those two (Starlin & Wrightson) just started jamming and this was the end result. Great article. Cheers.

    • Hmmmm. Now I’m on the lookout for that book. Sounds like fun.

    • @JeffReid: There’s a freaking OCTOPUS in the book. ‘Nuff Said.

  14. MadCowDzz MadCowDzz (@DarylFritz) says:

    Both big publishers are doing far too many cross-overs and tie-ins. What I really need is a digital “all-you-can-eat” service like Rdio, Spotify, or Netflix Instant. I would still purchase trades or hard-covers as a collector for a series I truly love.

    • Marvel is sort of doing what you’re talking about with their “Digital Comics Unlimited” service, but my trial run with is left me sort of empty. Even with the IPad app that they now have, it’s not truly an all-you-can-eat subscription model. New books aren’t available day-and-date and the app experience isn’t particularly smooth either.

    • @Gabe: I’m with you that Marvel Unlimited has some flaws, but for the price I think it’s totally worth it. Especially if you weren’t reading Marvel Comics between 2004-2011 and want to catch up (that’s where I feel the current offerings really shine).

      And I think we’re still in the very early days of Marvel Unlimited. An apples to apples comparison isn’t fair (since Marvel doesn’t have to license its content from other companies), but people forget that when Nexflix Instant started in 2007, you were limited to one hour of streaming content for every dollar you spend on your regular DVD subscription (and it only worked on Windows PCs).

  15. I by paper comics and digital manga. The $10-15 pricing on the manga makes exploring new titles cost prohibitive, and I just like my comics printed.
    It seems reasonable to expect publishers will be shrinking print runs as more folks consume media on tablets and smartphones- that’s just where the new customers are at.

  16. I just recently bought an iPad just before going on a trip overseas. Before I left, I loaded all of my unread Marvel books with the free downloads into the device for the long flights and to read while going to sleep. I really enjoyed reading them in that way. The art really pops out when it’s back-lit, and I tend to read them faster somehow.

    But I still wouldn’t want to buy them online. I feel more like I’m getting my money’s worth by buying the physical book and having the digital as a back-up.

  17. Great article as always, Gabe. And damn, that truly is an embarrassment of riches on those shelves. What I always wonder when I run into a store this well stocked is, “Who’s buying this stuff initially and how can they part with it so easily?”, especially when the stuff is relatively new…

  18. My wife is from overseas, so naturally, I do a lot of traveling. For a few months last year, I stopped reading comics because of financial concerns, and since going back, I’ve gone digital purely for the convenience of it. Have to say that I prefer it quite a bit. Doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally go into shops to buy action figures, or variants, or whatever, but.. it’s nothing but good for me to go digital. It also helps the fact that the guys in all the comic shops near me are kinda huge assholes.

  19. I love finding back issues by digging through old dirty long boxes. I love going to the LCS and perusing the covers for the monthly comics. I love sifting through my own long boxes and pulling out something I haven’t read in years. I love the nerdiness of knowing the number of a series by the cover, holding it in my hand and taking it in. I love flipping through the pages randomly. I love reading a comic I can easily flip back and forth through, actually own, and don’t have to charge. The digital experience just doesn’t do it for me, on so many levels. But that’s just me and the way I see things. I feel like we lose a lot of the experience and fun. You write some great articles. Thanks.

  20. saying you can “share” through comixcology only applies to people in same household….where’s the grabbing something from your shelf and letting a friend take it with them?

  21. Not sure if its a “when” we go digital. Ebooks have been around for years. There are plenty of people like me who don’t like digital and only buy print.

  22. I feel like I read digital books more often but I take far more time when reading physical comics and I feel like I’m taking more from physical books than the digital ones.

  23. I don’t think digital will be replacing print outright for a long time. Unless people have an economic incentive to do so, print will continue to be strong i.e. the price of mp3 vs CDs. Until the cost of paper, ink or distribution causes the printed edition to become cost prohibitive and assuming there is a parallel cost drop on the digital side, the paradigm will not shift.

    @jwt6577: there are some interesting reasons for that phenom. Some theorists believe the process of reading has a physical dimension to it. When people read the process itself may be similar to making a map. The physical printed book lends itself to being more closely read and also remembered in this way. Studies show that digital, possibly because it does not have a physical dimension, is read more quickly read and more poorly retained. Apparently, the mapping process is important to making a meaningful connection. I have read many digital comics myself and while I did enjoy reading them I can’t shake the feeling that reading the physical object is somehow a deeper experience. We can tell ourselves that digital is more convenient or that storage is easier with digital but at the end of the day our reading must be about the quality of the experience.

    • Thanks for the reply and the explanation. That sounds like what’s happening. I think there’s an emotional connection that you miss with the digital books.

  24. It boils down very simply for me. I love comics. I don’t love clutter. Buying comics digitally satisfied my every need. 🙂

    I just wish we got accurate numbers on digital sales. I feel like it’s a real growing part of the market, so when we see the diminishing Diamond charts, I have to wonder how accurate of a picture they’re painting.

  25. I still prefer the print version. And I’m sure I will continue to get them until I can’t anymore. Someday I want to pass my comic book collection down to my Nephew. I would never be able to do that with my digital library. Plus eventually technology is going to increase again. Just like cassette tapes to DVDs to Blue Ray. Would I be able to upgrade my entire digital library to the next best thing eventually? Like someone said before, what if the company I get my digital comics from goes out of business? I just lose everything? No thanks, I prefer my comics bagged and borded, in my comic book long boxes, in my house. Plus I do lend out comics a lot too. I recently got one of my co-workers into comics by lending him recent Batman issues. Now he is going to start buying them too. If I only had digital copies I would never be able to do that. Plus, is there really anything better than opening a brand new comic book and smelling the scent of the paper? Gives me a buzz just thinking about it. 😉

    • On a side note of this too, one think I love to do is re-organize my comics in my long boxes. Like when I start to get a new title I need to make room for it so I have to do some re-arranging. I think I would miss doing this if I had digital copies. I’m a freak I know. 😉

  26. I would never pay full price for something unless I could own it. With digital comics such as Comixology makes available, you are renting access indefinitely rather than buying. We say what would happen if Comixology goes under because something better comes along. Well, one day it will. It is an economic certainty that either the business will be bought by another company and morphed into something else or it will die because of competition. Its not a question of “will” this happen. You have to be willing to watch all that money disappear. If you are not, don’t do digital.