I had an odd moment today. I was talking about comics online and mentioned that I was a trade waiter. The response I got was "It's a good thing we aren't all trade waiters. The industry would collapse".
I don't live in America, so I'm unfamiliar with the issue versus trade situation. In Australia, only hardcore collectors buy single issues. Everyone buys trades, because single issues don't really exist, except in extremely rare comic book stores (and I mean rare. I didn't even know comic book stores existed in Australia till I was 20).
But I am very curious about this. As an outsider, the idea that the comics industry rests on the sales of individual issues seems very strange. It's such a disposable medium. I would've thought trades were the real business, and the only reason issues were still being published was because that was the way it had always been, like continuing a tradition for tradition's sake.
Obviously this isn't the case.
So does anyone know some good articles out there about this I could read? Preliminary web searches returned lots of forums with people arguing about the merits of buying trades or single issues, which is really not what I'm interested in. I'm much more interested in the impact each format has on the industry as a whole. I'll continue searching, but I figured I should try asking here first.