What if the Kindle had been invented first?
From a commenter of Megan McArdle’s at The Atlantic:
I was walking through a bohemian part of town and ran across this
place called a “bookstore”. I thought, “Hmm, that’s interesting. I’ve
always gotten my books electronically on my kindle, but this could be
an interesting idea.” So I stepped inside. What I saw was an unfamiliar
way of experiencing books: on hundreds of of sheets of paper, bound up
on one side with glue and wrapped in a hard cardboard cover. They even
smell a little musty, at least the old ones.
At first I was excited; but then I began to think, well how would I
do a text search in such a book? Supposing it was a reference book, or
I wanted to find a quote that was particularly memorable? Also, I can
resell it if I don’t want it, but I can’t take notes in the book
without ruining its value. Plus, where am I going to keep these books
if I buy a whole bunch of them? They’re really heavy! And it uses a lot
of paper – especially newspapers! What if it’s dark and I need a bigger
font? What if I’m on the train to work and decide I want to buy the
paper version of the Times that day? Can’t get it!! Not only that, but
they wanted to charge me MORE for these clunky, static, physical, books
than the normal electronic price! Honestly, with all these limitations
and disadvantages, they should be giving them away for free. I decided
I’m never going to pay a single red cent for a paper book until these
issues are addressed. No way.
Interesting. Let’s take it from the POV of the comics buyer:
“But still, this paper edition does have a few advantages– I mean, wow, color? I wonder how my Japanese imports would look in full color? And some of the pictures are crisper, the ones that aren’t painted– these paper versions look like someone took all the figures and traced a black line around them, to make them sharper. Neat!
“Oh, a few in paper shouldn’t be bad. It’s not like I’m going to buy thousands of them and keep them around.”
I love/hate reminding people this, but NOT EVERYONE has access to gadgets (iPhones, blackberries, even computers and kindles) or the money or interest for such things!I blame lazy journalism for the death of the newspaper industry. And as for comics- as eager as certain people are to take everything online, the fact is that sales for online presentations (webcomics/digital comics, motion comics, etc.) are years and years away, if ever, from matching sales of print periodicals.
You'd be surprised. IDW tells us that they've sold more iPhone editions of Star Trek: Countdown than they did paper editions.And I'd bet there are more people with access to a computer in their house than there are people with access to a comic book store within 30 minutes of their house.
I think the best chance at survival for the comics industry is to allow room for all presentations, from floppy monthlies to e-books and so on. I don't mean to sound biased (I actually play Managing Editor at another comic news webzine), but I think the looking ahead to going all digital just sounds overly optimistic. I don't think anyone should underestimate the draw of nostalgia. Print will always have a place, even outside of the collector mentality.Yea, libraries are shutting down around the country, because of the ease of digital and moreso because of the economic fun of our times. And still, because of these times less people will be able to afford and access these new platforms. If anything, the next few years will be VERY interesting.