Digital Vs Hard Copies

I really think there’s a split between fans of digital/web comics (downloads) and fans of hard copies. And with comics in particular, this split could not be more profound.

Although digital and hard copies are both designed for reading, the function of these two mediums seems far apart.

The comic industry as we know it was built on hard copies, digital versions are relatively new to the industry. But the hard copy version broke the comics into a field that may very well be bigger than the field ever intended; COLLECTING.

I have noticed that most hard copy readers are also collectors. I think there’s also a strong faction of readers that only read GN/TPB, but both those mediums are off-shoots of the traditional hard copy. I have also noticed that many of the hard copy readers I personally know DON’T prefer digital versions of the same material, and that many web-comic readers are NOT regular purchasers of hard copies.

I can totally understand why the trade wants to promote digital works. They are less wasteful, easier and cheaper to make than hard copies. Also, the distribution of a digital book is instantaneous and the consumer has their product instantly, never having to leave their home.

Thing is, no one collects digital comics. I truly don’t think it can be debunked that what has saved comics through bad times in the past is the strength of a strong collector fan base.

So, can the digital and hard copy co-exist? Or, will fans split and segregate on this front making the “big” picture smaller? Will one of the two mediums ultimately fall out of favor and be abandoned for focus on the other?

If YOU could have only one; digital or hard copy, what would YOU choose?

Takers, anyone?