Ive been giving this alot of thought. One of the main costs of printing and selling comics is the high overhead on printing single issues. The market is changing rapidly, but how do you incorporate digital without destroying print. My idea, is to take it back to its roots, with a subscription service for each book. Much like amazon does, you would pre-pay for a hardcover of say, 5-6 collected issues. The creative team keeps to a regular schedule, sending you monthly digital issues via email and one time download codes. Six months later, you would recieve a hardcover of those issues mailed to your local comic book store. (or, in rural area's, direct to you.) This could also be done in house by a shipping department, thus cutting out the huge markup that diamond takes. The publisher would give the comic book store a percentage of the sale, without them having to pay the overhead of actually ordering the book. This would also get you physically into your local store to shop their various other products and collected editions. Win-win.
Single, digital back issues could be sold in lots of 4 for $4, so that the publisher is still getting your $4, just providing you with more content for it. I have the feeling that if most people could buy $1 digital issues on a regular basis, they would still spend the same monthly budget on comics, just read more books.
The only thing I could see going against a buisness plan like this is the collectors who would refuse to give up the single issues they've grown up loving. The answer to this would be publishers releasing monthly print titles in a pre-order fashion. If you have the title on your pull list at your local store, that is. They could print limited runs of single printed issues, based off pre-orders only, thus making them rare and limited. Anyone could read the story digitally, or buy the collectee edition, but if you wanted the single issues, you would have to get them in your pull box from the get go, or pay aftermarket prices on what would actually be limited collectors items.
Seems simple, but it would take a major change in the way buisness is done with every publisher and retailer nationally. Not the easiest trasition to make, but The one that I see coming.
My blog where I mostly do comic reviews
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You can't destroy print, not even the Kindle could do that!Originally Posted by Meta4
but how do you incorporate digital without destroying print.
There can be both, of course, I pop those Marvel freebies in so if I ever get a Pad and am stuck on an airplane or bus I can look them over.
I definitely prefer print, especially for lavish print production and quality from publishers like Fantagraphics. I picked up a Marvel floppy months ago, and was shocked at the abysmal paper quality and number of story pages I received. I'm positive the digital market for superhero comics will only grow. Digital single issues seem akin to the disposable, newsprint quality Japanese manga magazines. I for one would rather own collections and OGNs in print and I think that many probably feel the same way.
Reading: Shade: The Changing Man, Cerebus, Black Jack
On Hold: Prophet, Number Cruncher, Terminal Hero, The Discipline, COPRA
'Collecting' modern comics is such a pointless endeavor. Its the contents that matter. And digital preserves the contents of comics perfectly.
Plus there are still significant costs to produce/sell/store digital content. Print is still relatively cheap. This facet continues to be ignored as if digital is free.
I think that while your comparison to Baseball Cards is a valid comparison, the way the card industry got oversaturated makes the 90's collector boom of comics look tame in comparison.