Friday, February 23, 2007

Death of Comic Books as we know it?

As I am spending time alone today besides the occasional customer I wandered over to Newsarama to check out coverage of the New York Comic Con. What do I see as the headline when the page opens: Marvel to pursue digital publishing of Comics. Now this has been a hot topic for the last couple of years. Dan Buckley in a panel at the NY Con came out and said that Marvel will be publishing their comics digitally for download sometime in the future. As a comic book retailer there is a couple of ways to look at this. First: "This is the death of Comic Book stores they are all going to dry up and go away." Second: "Cool, more exposure, more people reading, better for the industry." Of course these are the 2 extremes of the argument. Where do I fall? I guess somewhere in middle. While I do believe that more exposure is good and hopefully bring in new readers. I do believe that we would lose some of those weekly customers to the download. All you have to do is look at the newspaper industry. When was the last time you actually bought a newspaper for the purpose of reading the news? I know I just go to the web and read the articles I want to read for free. As far as the exposure argument goes look back to the 70's-80's when you had comic books at Drug stores, Food Markets, and other shopping outlets. Because of this "exposure" you have men who grew up back then still reading, collecting, and enjoying comic books. I should know I am one of them.

Marvel and DC need to get those books back in those places to get those 8-12 year boys make Mom buy them a comic to keep them quite while Mom shops. I think the downloading of comics might kill a lot of shops like mine because of the 24-35 year old downloading all the new books. They are the life blood of shops like mine, due to the fact they are the ones with money. They can support their hobby because they have full time jobs. Taking off the retailer hat for a moment I can say that I personally like holding the book reading it in my favorite chair or couch. I hate trying to read stuff on a monitor. Whenever I get a long joke via email sent to me I don't read it I just delete it. So hopefully a lot of people agree with me and believe that having the book is better than downloading and keeping it on your computer.


Shelly said...

People have been predicting the closing of bookstores and the end of print books for a few years now since ebooks came along and we're nowhere near that happening yet.

I read very little online if I can get it in print. I read blogs. I might read the occasional news item if it catches my eye on Yahoo when I'm checking my mail, or on AOL when I go check a message board.

I read a couple of webcomics and I read a few comic strips online because my newspaper dropped them.

I buy a newspaper every day to read the comics and sports pages and some of the news. I read Newsweek for news, too.

Reading too long online bothers my eyes and I doubt I would read more comics online than I do now. If the print comics disappeared, I guess I would end up saving a lot of money and get back a lot of time for other things.

Comic book stores might suffer, especially if the big chain bookstores pick up more and subscription services end up being more economical. But I think we still have many years before this will be a problem. At least until we dinosaurs of the print age die off. ;)

Scott King said...

blog hijacker? You only made two posts!

I think whether it’s digital or print... I'll still be waiting for the trade. LOL

But seriously now, I don't think digi-comics would affect me much. I would still want graphic novels to go on my book shelf. The only real difference is that I'd be more willing to try out indy-stuff or books I wouldn't normally get. If I could spend 4 bucks to buy a digi-trade from Image and then really liked it, I wouldn’t mind paying the normal amount for a trade.

But where I would REALLLLLLLLLLLLYYYY like digital comics is with back issues. I know Marvel is selling like CDs with every issue of Spider-man and X-men… but those things don’t contain complete stories for cross overs. It would be really cool to maybe get a subscription and be able to read EVERY back issue of Uncanny-Xmen with crossovers included or something along those lines.