Print Comics Challenges & Digital DistributionPosted by buddyscalera on November 16, 2021 at 4:53 am
I was having an offline conversation with a friend regarding digital distribution. I see digital distribution becoming a more viable channel than in previous years. Between paper shortages and other distribution issues, people are starting to turn to their digital devices for their comics.
Take a look at these two articles:
I’m not saying that I have a position that this is “good” or “bad.” I’m curious about what you think. Do you think that external factors in distribution, costs, and the pandemic in general will speed adoption of digital distribution? Do you think that it doesn’t really matter and that people will still buy print books?
ModeratorNovember 16, 2021 at 5:10 am
honestly for me, I’ve tried reading comics digitally before and I couldn’t do it. I tried on both my iPhone and iPad and i couldn’t make it happen but print comics somehow worked perfectly for my brain to comprehend. I think it really depends on the reader and what they are more comfortable reading.
MemberNovember 18, 2021 at 4:31 amMakes 025 Forum Points
I’ve seen some really awesome digital comics that were animated, which brings a whole new layer of entertainment to readers. The problem, however for many digital comics is the fact that they can easily be duplicated and sent to hundreds of people at a time. While it is more convenient for the seller and the buyer, because it avoids shipping costs and printing costs, you have to take into account if said buyer will redistribute the digital copy to others, which in the end may hurt the seller by losing those potential sales.
MemberNovember 18, 2021 at 5:14 am
I agree, it would be cool to see digital formats explored in more creative ways. I think the thing holding comics back from really breaking out is that they can be so time intensive to produce.
I do feel like the concerns around redistributive digital stories are a bit overblown (though not unfounded). It has me recalling the story of an Image comic that got uploaded to 4chan some years back.
Just to be clear, I’m NOT excusing or otherwise advocating file swapping, but the results don’t seem to be easily categorized as good or bad necessarily either.
MemberNovember 18, 2021 at 5:07 am
I feel like the big challenge for digital comics is interface, more than anything else. Finding something that’s still pleasant to look at, readable, and accessible in a format that folks are already using. For reading on a phone I would say that Manga has the edge over American comics, being produced at a smaller size allows them to be scaled to a cellphone screen easily, which doesn’t hurt if scaled up to a tablet.
For the years when my publisher had a table to sell comics at the Emerald City con here in Washington, we found that older consumers were actually more keen to digital comics than the younger readers, so think Baby Boomers vs. Millennials. Younger folks enjoyed the tactile aspect of picking up a book, flipping through it, etc, whereas the older ones frequently remarked that they already had boxes and boxes of books accumulated over the years, so digital was nice because they didn’t need to worry about where to put the books when they were done reading them, and they felt guilty throwing them away.
I hope that digital picks up steam at some point, I certainly don’t mind reading a comic that way.
AdministratorNovember 19, 2021 at 6:16 am
That’s an interesting point about age groups @philipspace – I am at the age where I would like to read more, but accumulate less paper in the house. I love print, but I just can’t fit it all.
I have a large-screen iPad. It’s pretty great for reading comics.
ModeratorNovember 19, 2021 at 7:03 pm
Honestly, I think it’s mostly a generational thing. As long as older and middle-aged readers are buying comics, they will want print. I am on the borderline age-wise, and I prefer print. I think that two things will happen: 1. As younger readers get to the age where they dominate the market (and become old enough to have more purchasing power) digital will grow; as people my age continue to buy comics, trades will continue to grow as well. I’ve heard anecdotally from many peers who table at a lot of shows that trades are selling and floppies are not. I think that the floppy subscription model will move to digital, but their will still be a good market for print in trade paperbacks. I also think the widespread availability of comics and graphic novels in book stores has and will shift the print market more toward trades as well.
Lastly, I would caution against making assumptions based on the last two years. The whole world has gone to online shopping, and I’m not sure that will continue to the same extent as the pandemic eases.
AdministratorNovember 20, 2021 at 5:53 am
I’ve been hearing for years that graphic novels sell and floppies do not sell. I think it depends on the project. I mean, yes, you sometimes want to buy a complete graphic novel.
But sometimes people want to spend $3.99 to read one issue, than to spend $25+ to decide if they like something.
That said, digital can be a good alternative for certain publishers and buyers. I happen to like print best, but I do read quite a bit on my tablet.