I’ve been buying comic books in a collected format for decades. Dollars to cents, it has been the finest way to buy all the issues in a series or event you want.
However, an increasing number of publishers are printing their collections in fragments. For example, the “Metal” event at DC Comics is printed in four separate sets, costing on Amazon close to $90 for everything.
This is not new. Both major publishers have been doing this for years. The last time I remember being able to get an event in it’s entirety was Marvel’s Civil War. If you can find it, it was going for about $50 at the time.
Now, consider this: a subscription to various digital comics store costs anywhere from $5 to $15 a month. I can access the exact same issues for a much lower price overall. The same books costing me either $4.99 per issue or $90 collected are there. However, you will lose access to those books the minute you cancel the subscription.
It’s the cost of personal ownership. When you control your own content, you value it more. Owning my own home is a value proposition rooted in responsibility. Publishers know this, and since you will value a hard copy more and be more responsible with it and the publisher gets only one sale from it, you are going to pay more.
Digital streaming of books and videos is certainly nice. I do care less about it than the copies I own. Convenience for me does not always translate into buying. I want to be able to pick up a copy any time I want once I’ve paid for it.
What about you? How do you prefer to enjoy comics and graphic novels?