Digital or Bust: Prologue Part 2

So I have this little experiment happening in January. The experiment is switching from a physical weekly pull list to an all-digital weekly pull list from January 1st to January 31st. There are five new comic book days in January (1, 8, 15, 22, 29) which should be more than enough time to really dig into the Physical vs. Digital debate and figure out if I want to make that jump or stay reading physical copies.


Couldn’t resist adding this. Terrible looking image, Marvel. Sorry.

In part one of my prologue for Digital or Bust, I spoke a lot about Comixology, my digital supplier of choice, and touched on a few reasons that might make a person try out, or even switch to, digital weekly purchases. The pros and cons of this Digital vs. Physical experiment have been percolating for a few weeks now, and in this edition I’m going to look at some of those pros and cons so that at the end of it all I can see if I was right about any of them.

The Pros:

  • Saving space one digital purchase at a time—I have piles of comics waiting to be bagged and boarded and stored away, and it’s not only taking up room on my desk, shelves, and other random places, but it’s also become its own beast. I don’t even know where to begin and it just keeps getting bigger.
  • No ads to suck you out of the story—seriously, I didn’t even realize this until one of the comic faithful posted about it on the last Digital or Bust. That’s huge because it makes the comic even more immersive with no bullshit ads that distract you from the story.
  • Digital can save you money—no, really, going digital just might save you money. Sure, you might get a discount on everything you buy at your local comic shop, like I do, because you have a file with them, but think about it for a second. You also buy bags, boards and boxes, at least, and when you add that to the price of your 3.99 comic, well, digital is just cheaper in the end.
  • You can carry your comics wherever you go—Yep. Just pack your iPad or other tablet device and your comics go with you. No worrying about damaging your print copies. Good plus, for sure. You can also re-read ‘em wherever you go, something that doesn’t seem to happen with bagged/boarded comics that are stored away.
  • Going to the comic shop every week—Sometimes with weather and whatever else, I just don’t feel like going. I do it anyway, but it might be nice to just be able to start reading comics on my lunch hour.
  • You control your pulls every week—Not to say that my LCS doesn’t really work with me on my lists, because they do and that’s one of the reasons that makes them the best shop in Calgary, but you can remove/add on a whim. You can get stuff after the fact, too, instead of running back to your LCS.

The Cons:

  • The joys of going to your local comic shop—It’s nice going to your LCS and shooting the shit about comics that week, or bitching about something, or just general conversation with other like-minded comic people.
  • You don’t really own your comics—Heard this from someone that you don’t really own your comics. Probably similar to iTunes where you buy the music, it’s not really yours to, say, give to other people if you die. Plus, there’s zero resale value to the digital comics you’ve purchased.
  • Physical comics smell good—what? It’s true. The New Comic smell is awesome. It’s also nice to be able to touch and hold the comic that you just purchased.
  • You can’t get a creator to sign your iPad—well, I guess I could but it would either rub off the back, or really impair your viewing of comics on the screen… it’s nice to display signed comics/your favorite covers on the wall.
Comics by comiXology - Mozilla Firefox

ComiXology really does make it easy.

Well, when it’s laid out like that it sure seems like a hell of a lot of reason to move to digital. Granted, some of the cons weight heavier than some of the pros, but it’s still interesting to see it there and really go over the lists.

Either way, I have five weeks to figure out if I like it or if I hate it. It seems to me some of the items listed above might take longer than five weeks to figure out, but I feel that if I don’t have a really good idea of how I want to read my comics week in and week out but February 2014 I might never truly decide.

With all that said, I want to hear from you comic fans out there that are either for or against digital with your own pros and cons. Maybe I’ll add them to my list because I’m sure I’m missing at least a few things that haven’t even occurred to me yet. Even if I’ve miraculously covered it all, I’ll see you all in January for five weekly columns—a feat I don’t know if I’ve ever really mastered—and we’ll see how it all plays out.

So, until January: read comics. Anyway you can.

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