Digital Delight Or Demise?

The League - all you expect, but in a cool new way!

DC has now announced their collaboration with Amazon, releasing their stock, including an exclusive 100 graphic novels for release to users of the Kindle Fire. We are told, not to worry, these stories will be available for other Amazon customers eventually, and following that, DC are not sticking just with Amazon, but promising to look at other outlets, such as Barnes and Noble.

All major outlets I notice, which is really to be expected. But where does that leave your local comics shop?

Now I am personally in a quandary over this. Though I have yet to purchase a Kindle Fire, I adore my eReader. I love how it reduces the weight of my luggage when I travel, and the fact that my library can be squeezed into one corner of my external hard-drive rather than covering every spare inch of shelf space across the house. With the new technologies at our disposal, the need for a real book is lessened; devices with full colour appropriately sized screens and easy to manage are slowly replacing paper simply through that quality of space.

I was amazed one day to watch a young guy reading a comic through his phone, which just shows how well the fans are adapting. For myself, I think a phone screen is just too small, yet here we are, just over a year down the line, and that is no longer an issue. As a consumer, this is a perfect solution for me.

As a former retailer and comic shop manager, I have my concerns. Will the printed material still be relevant? Will the release of full graphic novels through digital outlets devalue my stock? Or will it deliver on a promise of pulling more customers through my door?

What about our community? Each local store has it’s own community, where friendships are made sometimes for life. And let’s face it, these communities are drastically different from their online analogues. Everyone is generally a hell of a lot nicer to each other to start with. I see little that supports your LCS; even these ‘combo-packs’ seem little more than hooks to drag readers into the digital market, rather than genuinely caring for the end retailer.

Is this simply the cost of progress? Is it a return of comics to the newsstand in a sense?

The DCnU has indeed triumphed over all of the fears we had at the abandonment of over seventy-five years worth of history. Three months down the line, and who cares? The history is there for us to read when we want to, and fanfic will always work keep it alive. Now DC expands into new markets, capitalising on the new energy they have injected into the market. As a consumer and a fan, this is good for me.

Yet I cannot forget my successor at my local store. I suddenly have an urge for the Universe X trade paperback, in real paper. What better thing can I give the store for Christmas, than a few sales prior to the big day?

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