Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Relaunch of Paper Comic Deathwatch?

Some of you who started following this blog in the last year may not be aware of a series of articles had called Paper Comic Deathwatch. The idea was that on a semi weekly basis, Caine and I would examine trends in comics and computers/phones that we felt were leading to paper comics practically disappearing. At its peak, the series was one of our most popular, never failing to get links from other places. We even got a bitching logo for the series from Friend of Flashback Sean Kleefeld!

As a series, we had some predictions about the future of Digital Comics many of which have come true (most notably, the wild success of the iPad a year before it was even announced.) And the Decade Comics Went Digital Post has been used as a resource in several college classes I've been told (via email)

But we stopped using the Paper Comic Deathwatch moniker around January of 2010. Partly because I saw a lot of people not only jumping on the band wagon with similar themed articles, but because as the digital doomsday of comics began to creep closer and closer, what had started out as a fun, tongue in cheek series meant to goad companies into embracing digital distribution was becoming more and more like slowing down to view a car accident on the highway.

It's one thing to suggest that all books and comics will one day go digital without worrying about the implications of that reality. It's another to see struggling retailers and book dealers in a life or death struggle against juggernauts like Apple and Amazon.

Case in point: Borders has now joined Barnes and Nobles in pulling 100 of DC's Most popular graphic novels from its shelves. 

This is all due to Amazon cutting an exclusive content deal to distribute with DC for the exclusive rights to certain graphic novels in digital format.

Let's evaluate that - the two largest book chains are concerned not because DC is exclusively selling all paper books through Amazon, but digital books. And to protest the point, both companies (who aren't doing great sales wise or in the stock market) are going to stop selling said books in a medium that is completely different!

That strikes me as very foolish. My heart goes out to people working for both booksellers. I don't think your proprietors are using best judgement in a time when they should be stepping carefully.

Have a great weekend.

- Jim


Caine said...

Good to see the PCDW logo again! Nice post

Anonymous said...

I can understand why Barnes & Nobels is boycotting DC but why is Books a Million?


MattComix said...

Basically, because bookstores thrive on being able to give a customer a book in any format the customer may need. Hardcover, audio, trade paper, mass market, and of course ereader. So if you are making your product exclusive to one ereader device you are cutting off a bookstores ability to do that.

Books-a-million believe it or not, sells the Barnes and Noble nook in their stores. So the Amazon deal keeps them from being able to give their DC buying customers a digital option as well.

Now as to what BAM gets from selling the B&N device in the first place versus having one of their own, that I do not know. But if there was not something in it for their company I doubt they'd be doing it.

JimShelley said...

@Caine - yeah, I thought you would get a kick out of that! I really go back and forth on whether we should resurrect the series again.

JimShelley said...

@MattComix - thank you for answering the question on the connection there. I too wondered about it, but chalked it up to solidarity more than anything. I wasn't aware that BAM was selling the Nook. I thought they had their own eReader.

Seems to me, Borders had their own eReader at one time too.

Anthony Clements said...

B&N sells DC, and Marvel graphic novels and they consistently have new trades coming in (at least at my local brick and mortar stores).

I've been collecting off/on since 82 and I really don't see paper comics going the way of the dodo just yet, there are lots of people that enjoy the feel of the book, the whole bagging/boarding process that a digital comic just can't give the reader. The art probably 'pops' as it does in a current issue.

IMHO, it's just a personal issue of storage - physical as opposed to the cloud or whatever they sit quietly in waiting to be downloaded.


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