It seems my post on Monday about getting rid of single-issue print comics touched off quite a bit of discussion (some of it very passionate). Our pal Jamal Igle shared the story on his Facebook page, and that’s where things really blossomed.
If you’ve read the comments on any article posted on the internet, then you know that many don’t even read the article before posting. That was the case here as well, as quite a few people thought I was proposing the end of print comics, which created two camps of commenters--the pro and anti-digital crowds. The discussion, which included both fans and creators, was very appropriate overall, which was really nice to see.
I pulled some of the comments to share with you, but first I just want to reiterate what the focus of Monday’s post was. I was suggesting a format change, from single-issue comics to monthly collected editions. All of your favorite comics would still exist in print, just not in single-issue format. I was agreeing with a post that Jimmy Palmiotti made, which I thought made a great deal of sense. What I added to Jimmy’s idea was the concept that single issues could still exist in digital form, so that those who wanted their stories in smaller bites could still experience them that way.
Below are a handful of the comments people posted. Granted, most of them are about the all-or-nothing print versus digital debate, but I think there are some interesting points put out there. My goal was to generate discussion, and on that level, the post had its intended effect. Without further ado:
"The tech will make the determination. the current crop of teens, tweens and young adults will not bother with print comics at all in the very near future. Make your investments and start your businesses accordingly."--Geoffrey T.
"I'm 41 years old and I never thought we would draw comics on computers. Guess what? We now do. Technology is accelerating so much faster now. The years and vision are close to lining up."--Sean S.
"I don't see the jump to just digital being really enticing until we figure out a way to cut out all the middleman costs. 30% right off the top to Apple/Amazon/Google, followed by an additional split to Comixology/Graphicly/ComicsPlus. The digital books, with no seeming real ownership of them, cost the same as the print ones, which can be kept indefinitely, traded, sold, with possibility (although rare these days) of value increase."--Corey S.
"My philosophy on print is that I'll run a Kickstarter to tap into the audience that wants a printed trade and I'll have extra money to print out more copies for conventions. That way the book is only available through that Kickstarter project and certain cons. Whether the books become more valuable or collectible as a result remains to be seen. But I also made PDFs available for the digitally inclined as well, everyone wins."--Michael S.
“Digital might be great, HD and all, BUT if the power goes out and you have a lantern or a flashlight you can't pull a digital comic out of your longboxes and read it.”--Scott H.
“Digital in addition to print is fine. Digital instead of print? I hope we never get there. And it's selfish to insist that the industry stops printing comics just because it's not the format you, personally, prefer. I don't buy records. I seldom buy CDs. I buy most everything from iTunes--but I sure don't want to deprive others from buying music in a format that they prefer.”--Erik L.
“As long as it doesn't cause companies to hemorrhage money and go under all together (which would, of course, screw EVERYONE involved) I see no reason to get rid of print issues.
But, as digital reading catches on (as it is, unless someone forcefully opposes it, somehow) there will be less demand for those issues. Less demand, I would think, equals smaller print runs. I think that means higher cost per issue, but I could be mistaken.
If that trend continues, what is the foreseen impact on the comics publishers? Has anybody put forward any optimistic scenarios as to where that might lead? Maybe lower print runs and higher cost to print even out? Does it open the publishers up to cheaper methods of printing? Does increases in digital sales provide more income to offset the printing costs?
How would folks respond to a "rewind" back to the days of pulpier paper? Cheaper printing for the floppies? Less archival SHOULD equal more collectible...save the good stuff for the collections?”--Van D.
“I am sure that one day it will happen but today aint that day. Just like we don't see mass electric cars or flying cars--weren't they supposed to be the future too. A piece of advice The market is supply and demand. People only pay for what they want, and it seems that they don't totally want digital comics yet.”--Mark D.
I’m encouraged by the discussion and people’s ability to keep things civil, especially when talking about something they're passionate about. I’d like to see more brainstorming about how print and digital could complement each other better, as opposed to being seen as an “either/or” choice to be made. Let's keep the conversation going!