By cgfcollector 1 Comments
As a collector who has returned after a decade and half, the last 18 months have been more exciting then I could have dreamed. With the myriad of titles, Marvel VS DC, the strength of the Indies, and the acquisitions of the big two by Disney and Warner respectively. My young adult visions of what the books could be are also coming alive in the theatres.
Now with podcasts and other various websites foretelling the doom of the comic industry I have been able to abstain from the speculation and emotion of the formats disappearing from the shelves, until now. It’s a matter of choice. Consumer’s choice dictates where the money comes from in any industry
The debate of print versus digital is one of intrigue. As a reader of multiple formats it occurred to me that the debate is a mute point. Change is inevitable, and the inevitable is change. There is no need to rehash dollar, or rerun the number decline. It all comes down to what the consumer wants. Consumers taste change. Consumers of any media format will dictate where the dollars come from. Turning on the news you can see this at work. It doesn’t matter if you prefer bottled water, paper or plastic, bio-degradable or not, and decisions about where our electricity will be coming from.
Feeling the book under the hands, the flip, and smell of the pages is how I began as a collector. When picking up a new title, flipping through the pages admiring the artwork I quickly fall into the story line. Of course the story line must hold my interest as well as the transition of the art. Such times bring back the early years when I first started, the excitement is still there. I personally feel that the digital media readers will experience something similar. But there experience will be the anticipation of the notice that the comic has been downloaded. They too will have a ritual. May it be one of checking their phone battery, cleaning the glass for a clear read, looking for links in the extra content, or zooming in/out of the frames to digest what their seeing, and a favorite reading spot. They too will remember those times. They too will collect, and they too will pay for “gimmicks” as we all have for the past 20 years.
There is a strong chance that the digital format WILL become as collectable medium as the paperbacks and trades. Allow me to explain. In order to understand this, the “traditional” collector will need to acknowledge their biases and compare one collecting style to another. The traditional collector is looking for a title that is in a condition and format that falls within their dollar tolerances. Now the truth of it is that the collector is collecting 1 issue of a print run of a numerated title run. This is the most simplistic of course, and there is the key for the digital media to be collectable.
This is what I foresee. The digital titles will become numbered as they are sold. In doing so, the digital providers will give bonuses to the first “X” number of orders. The media will be registered of course to the buyer. A digital trading house will evolve. Say that I have title X with a digital sell of 1, 788 and there is a 2 cover that I want that only which available if I was in the top 1,500 then I would go to this trading house, offer up my copy and offer compensation to get someone’s registered number that is < 1500. Of course the closer you get to the top 10, 50, and 500 of course the cost goes up. There you have it. The goal is to be number one, very similar to the desired CGC 10 titles. The older the digital rights are, the harder it will be to get the rights. Again very similar to find that higher grade comics for sale.
In this new digital format the possibilities would be infinite. Anywhere from tying movie ticket sales, special cover variants, autographed plates, meet and greets, comic cone invites, lifetime subscription and so on. All of this could be tied to the digital sale # count. Of course this would cause a massive run on the digital format when it’s released, and result in what is needed, sales.
The paper, and the trade formats will stay “married” with the digital release for several years. During this time there will be a steady weaning of the paper medium. Like with the CD sales, there will still be a slow trickle because of those who will not make the jump to MP3. Another example would be the trend from hardback to paperback literature books. Literature paperback books were cheaper, more cost effective, and easily disposed of. For most individuals, such as me, who still preferred hardback versions they are available but require special orders with substantial cost up front? So comics themselves will have the trades proliferate and more of a premium for the singles.
Nostalgia, digital potential, and choice. It will be the consumer who dictates how the industry survives, and DC with their re-launch will be proven as a prudent move. Apple was being shown the door 15 years ago then invested in the MP3. Apple now is the industries trend setter. The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of rocks, just new technology came along, and the last comparison. Horses didn’t disappear from the earth with the advent of the automobile, and that too continues to evolve.