Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Digital: It's just a matter of time for me

I know I've talked about it in past blog posts, going digital for comics at some point, but I still haven't gone that route (at least not fully). I've tried out a few readers, bought a couple digital comics, and read way too much on the move to digital but I still feel I'm just poking a toe in the waters. Besides the odd dip in the digital pool I'm currently doing the TPB thing and buying an occasional issue (like Captain America: The Fighting Avenger which was really good by the way). But the more I think about it the more I think it's just a matter of time before I move to more digital for comics (while picking up only a couple in TPBs) and other reading material.

A big reason is the issue of space. Books are really starting to build up around my place and I have to keep getting creative with my bookshelves. It's not all comics, I do buy other books as well. Perhaps one day I'll get off my butt and finally take some of them to a local library (I'm a bit of a packrat and also like having the books around just in case I want to re-read something or share it with others) but digital will keep me from building them up in the first place.

So why haven't I gone digital? I guess there's still some issues I'm having. I've tried out various readers (for my iPhone and laptop) and it seems ComiXology is winning me over so that's partly resolved. But I just don't feel that reading comics on my laptop or iPhone is as "comfortable" or enjoyable as reading a book. Perhaps buying a tablet could fix that but then comes the cost of buying a tablet just to read comic books on.

Then there's the other costs. Digital comics still seem to be rather expensive. I've heard it's part of the "early adopter" thing (prices high at first to offset cost of software development but will go down eventually) or Apple taking a cut of the revenue in some cases but it still seems rather pricey to me. And it doesn't help that for most digital stuff I don't really "own" it. Most systems are set up so that if they want to pull the book from me for any reason they can. And if ComiXology (or whomever) goes out of business I may lose whatever books I've "purchased". So paying so much for a "rental" seems a little off to me. But maybe that's just the collector in me putting value to actually owning a physical object. I've also found having the physical comic useful as I do tend to lend out books quite a bit. I've got friends hooked on various comics by lending them a couple TPBs.

There's the delay as well (digital not being released at the same time as print) but that doesn't really matter too much to me. I'm already behind due to going to TPBs so waiting for digital (provided the books I want do make it to digital) won't be a huge difference... I hope.

But despite the cost and still not feeling there's an experience as enjoyable as actually reading a physical book, I still see it as just a matter of time before I break down, buy a tablet (or something) and go digital for my reading. I just wonder when I'll finally get off the fence about it.


caanantheartboy said...

I think the two will co-exist one day, but I don't think it will be a matter of the Big Two going digital, I think the digital void will fill up with the middle ground. Comics that don't have enough audience for book sales, that kind of thing.

Also, from how I understand it, the materials required to make lithium-ion batteries for all these newfangled machines is a finite resource. Trees are sustainable (and oh, how they should have started THAT long ago...) so print will be around for a long time, I think.

That, and I still think the only people raving about the iPad, Kindle, Nook, whatever, are the companies invested in them, or the early adopters struggling to justify their expenditure. Books rock, and they will always carry more legitimacy than the vague notion of digital 'property'.

Darrell said...

Caanan, I agree with everything you're saying (to at least some degree). I think they will co-exist and the digital route really seems like it could be a great way for books with a smaller audience (though I'm not sure if it's there yet).

For me digital also fits into "testing" a comic (trying out an issue or two online without bothering with the physical copy or TPB) or reading the odd one-shot or what have you. Again, something I don't really feel the need to have a physical copy of but I'd like to read.

The materials required for all those devices is definitely an interesting topic. I tried looking into some of it when I was hearing debate about who was using conflict minerals and such, definitely something to think about.