I'm going to get back into the discussion of digital comics vs. print comics again here, so if you had enough from my last post about it, you might want to just scroll on down, my friend!
As of the time I'm writing this post, I have yet to buy a single digital comic book. Oh, I've gone to Comixology and downloaded lots of freebies, that's for sure, but I haven't spent the money for anything yet.
And the reason is always going to be cost. I just can't see myself spending the same price for a digital comic book than I'd spend on the print comic. It doesn't add up to me! See, with a print comic book, I can read it, and then at some point in the future, I can decide to either give it away to someone, or try and sell it. It's a physical thing, and it has an inherent value to it (even if some day that value is only the quarter I could get for it in a bargain box).
A digital comic book? You pretty much need to either keep it on your device, or delete it some day. There doesn't even really seem to be a backup option, other than knowing you can always re-download a book again if you want to.
Maybe part of the problem is at Comixology. Don't get me wrong, they do a great job at distributing digital comics -- but they're not as good as, say iTunes is.
See, I've got an iMac, an iPhone, and an iPad. I used to just read digital comics on my iPhone, because it was portable. But the screen is very small, and I could only read a panel at a time. My iPad works much better for digital comics. But I had to redownload everything in order to read it on my iPad.
Now, if I buy something in iTunes -- whether it be a TV show, movie, music, or app -- it gets downloaded onto my iMac, and I can then copy it to my other two devices. I don't have to re-download it on each one (that's annoying).
Unfortunately, they're getting to be just as pricey to buy things on iTunes as on Comixology, comparatively speaking. I got a copy of the Abrams' Star Trek movie on DVD some time ago, and with it came a free digital download. Right now, you can buy on Amazon the two-disc version I have, with the free Digital Copy through iTunes, for $5.75. Or, you can go to iTunes and buy JUST the digital copy in HD format for $19.99, or in SD for $9.99. Does this make sense at all?
But I'm digressing.
Personally, my preferred format for reading comic books is print. That's how the vast majority of them are available, and I know that chances are, by next November's Portland Comic Book Show, any comic book out right now for $2.99 can probably be had there for a buck or less (unless something suddenly skyrockets in value).
Not that I really want to buy any of the new comics anyway, but that's kind of beside the point.
I've seen that DC and Marvel are working on digitizing their back catalogs, and that's a pretty good idea. But again, there's problems with their pricing scheme. Right now, I can see that Action Comics #553 through #556 are all available through the Comixology app for $0.99 each. Just one problem with this, though: I have copies of most of these issues already, and I didn't pay more than $0.50 for any of them.
Plus, when I read them, I can check out all the ads that were in them, plus the letters page and any other editorial stuff. Can't do that with the digital versions, because they're not included there.
And of course, there's stuff that's just not available for digital download right now -- such as the original Superboy series, or World's Finest (at least, they weren't available when I checked).
Over on the Marvel side, I see they have the entire Squadron Supreme miniseries for $1.99 each -- or about $23.88 for the entire series. Really, guys? The trade's selling on Amazon for $7.58 plus four dollars shipping. On eBay, someone's got the entire original miniseries for $12.50 plus $3.50 shipping.
Now, I'm guessing that the reason for the price points probably has to do with Comixology's needing to get a piece of the pie. Chances are, it's not worth their trouble to sell a digital comic for $0.50 or $0.25 -- and certainly, I wouldn't want to have to deal with that cheap a transaction through PayPal!
So I've got a solution to throw out: Offer up a Comixology Discount Club Card. Well, it wouldn't literally be a card, but it would be a discount that you'd apply for. You go and spend whatever amount you want on this, and that money is held in an account (like a gift card), except that when you buy stuff, so long as there's still a balance on your account in the positive, you get stuff for half price, minimum.
It puts money in Comixology's hands immediately, and you know what? You could even offer to sell actual Comixology gift cards (to be redeemed in the app or on their website) through comic book stores, and then they're not getting screwed out of things.
Now, if I could spend $20 and know that I'd be able to download 40 comic books for that kind of money, I wouldn't even worry about finding all 40 books right away... I might even pick and choose. Heck, even if it was $0.50 for back issues and $0.99 for new books under this plan, I might even try out one of these New 52 books DC has out.
Maybe. I'm still a bit leery, personally, about spending money on these digital comics at this point, and maybe because I'm showing my age a bit here... I like my comics in my hands, flipping through the pages, seeing what kind of things were advertised back then, checking out the letter columns to see if anyone got a letter published that's worked in comics since then.
I guess I'll probably stick with this, at least until DC or Marvel (or someone else) convinces me to do otherwise!
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