Print vs. Digital Comics: my thoughts on Comixology

14 March 2014

Yep. We’re still talking comics (and we’re not close to being done yet)…

I was asked in my last post if I used an eReader for comics. Which is an excellent question and the answer is an astounding YES. I own a lot of print copies of graphic novels, but that’s not the case at all with comics.

I own easily over 100 comics. Probably close to 200. Which is a fairly small collection in comic standards. But almost all of them are digital. For me, going digital was the right choice for me. For others, they’d much rather have the print issue or a trade. And I get the appeal of it. Having that art in your hands it’s awesome. But it wasn’t the most important thing to me.

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I use Comixology for digital comics. It’s by far the best source and app for digital comics. Not only will you find the big names like Marvel, DC, Image, Boom!… there are a whole lot of indie publisher and even self-published comics. The app is available on iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and Windows 8. Benefits include:

→ Space saver. You don’t have to worry about where you’re going to store all of your comic collection. I can see all of my books online through Comixology’s website or on my iPad.

→ Damage control. I’m not worried about traveling with my comics, or whether or not I’ll damage the ink with greasy fingers, or if my cats decide to sleep on it. Wear and tear is not an issue for me.

→ Previews. Regardless of whether or not I’m going to buy a digital comic or not, Comixology allows me to check out a few pages of the book. For me, this is key when getting into a new book. Just like I want to know if an author’s writing style is something I can tolerate, I want to know if I like the artistic style of the comic before I read it.

→ Guided View™. This feature allows you a panel-by-panel view of comics, that’s designed to follow a natural path of the reader’s eye. Now, sometimes you can miss the larger picture part of the page, but double tap out of it and that’s really not a problem. I mostly use this feature when the print becomes too small for me, but if you’re reading on your phone, this would be crucial. Here’s a good video explanation.

→ No waiting for the next issue, mostly. Ok, so with the exception of current runs, if I want to read the next book in a series, I just click “buy” then “read” after it’s downloaded. It generally takes all of 30 seconds.

→ No judgment. Comic book stores can be intimidating, especially for people new to comics. And yes, as a woman, I feel weird going into the store because I fear the judgment of the guys in the store — which, yes, it’s not fair for me to judge the guys first, but if I don’t feel like it’s a positive environment, it could ruin my comic experience. Also with the no judgment thing: I can pick up whatever title I want.

→ Good sales and free comics. There’s a nice selection of free comics, most of them are issue #1’s, so it’s a good chance to check out new and up-and-coming books. Also, there seems to be a sale each week, so that’s a bonus. 99¢ comics can be really awesome.

From what I’ve experienced so far, I really like Comixology. That’s not saying I won’t buy print comics or that digital is absolutely better. Cost of digital comics is about on par with print — though I have found that when it comes to trades (generally a collection of 6-8 issues published as one book), I’ve noticed you can sometimes find them cheaper in paperback form than digital. That’s one of the reasons I picked up Batgirl as a paperback trade rather than digital (or even individual issues).

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You can subscribe to current comic series, so you won’t miss new issues. Not to take away from the Wednesday ritual of picking up your new issues, but I kind of like not having to worry about it and just knowing that I’ll still get my books. (Ok. I only have one subscription thus far, Ms. Marvel, and that’s mainly because I don’t want to forget when new issues are coming out each month.)

Comixology is a free app to download. It’s free to set up an account. And since they have free comics available, I really see no reason not to try it.

What are your thoughts? Have you tried Comixology? Do you prefer print comics?

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