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  • #46
    Originally posted by ralphuniverse View Post
    Anyone reads digital books?
    No.

    I'm old and prefer a comic book I own and can hold in my hands; not something I pay to have the right to read and hope there aren't technical glitches that prevent me from doing so.

    I also like the portability of real comic books; for me, digital isn't portable. (I only have the desktop computer; no smart-ass phone, laptop, tablet, or whatever the latest over-priced Apple gimmick is.)

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    • #47
      I'm with you on the digital thing, Major. It's inevitable though, as time moves on. We're just passing through a transitional "weaning" phase. Someday paper books will be as dead as the trees they're printed on. Disposability is accelerating in our culture, and as time moves on more people recognize the impermanence of all things and will have less attachment to objects and more attachment to the intangible information and ideas that those objects used to represent. Even money has less of a physical presence. It's just ones and zeroes to be moved across fiber optic cables to be exchanged for other ones and zeroes in the form of movies, music, and books.

      Just look at Star Trek or a hundred old SF stories. When they talked about a book, they were talking about something you'd read on what we'd call an iPad or a Kindle. For people of our age, our grandparents wouldn't have called what we call a graphic novel or collected edition a "book". To them, picture stories weren't real books. Still, I can't help but think about the fact that since I converted my CD collection into MP3s, I listen to those audio recordings much more than I did when I had to carry around the physical discs, and physically place them in a CD player one at a time to hear them.

      We're living the science fiction of yesterday in many ways, and SF ideas are as much the cause as the effect.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by MajorHoy View Post
        I'm old and prefer a comic book I own and can hold in my hands; not something I pay to have the right to read and hope there aren't technical glitches that prevent me from doing so.
        Ditto for me. I hope the shift to digital-only will only affect ephemeral things like news and not things like actual books and stories one wants to read again and again. Much as I love visions of the future in things like Legion, I don't believe it will ultimately be like that--and I really do think that making things digital-only would be the best way to ensure their eventual complete loss.

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        • #49
          G'day,

          Forget it. Anything that will be digitized or automated will be and just because you can't think how it could be digitized or automated doesn't mean it won't be

          I don't know about the USA but in Australia DVD hire shops, record shops and even book shops are disappearing. About 12 years ago I owned a fantasy and science fiction book shop in Sydney. Glad I got out of it when I did. Its gone as a brick and mortar operation although I think it still exists as an online business. Borders pulled out of the country a few years ago. Spoke to my local comic book shop proprietor recently , apparently older customers might buy paper copies after reading a digital story but younger readers don't care. When it comes to ebooks there are considerable advantages to authors. A writer might sell a $35 tpb on Amazon and get $2 back. They get 75% of the price of a digital book. Also very importantly, they can keep their back list online.

          Keep calm and get yourself a kindle.

          ta

          Ralph

          Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
          Ditto for me. I hope the shift to digital-only will only affect ephemeral things like news and not things like actual books and stories one wants to read again and again. Much as I love visions of the future in things like Legion, I don't believe it will ultimately be like that--and I really do think that making things digital-only would be the best way to ensure their eventual complete loss.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
            Ditto for me. I hope the shift to digital-only will only affect ephemeral things like news and not things like actual books and stories one wants to read again and again. Much as I love visions of the future in things like Legion, I don't believe it will ultimately be like that--and I really do think that making things digital-only would be the best way to ensure their eventual complete loss.
            Undoubtedly there were people that scoffed at the laughably ridiculous rumor that DC would ever reboot its universe as an utter impossibility in 2011.
            Digital FIRST has already been with us for some time (Batman Beyond Universe, Batman '66, Adventures of Superman, etc.). In the last few years, Marvel has been ramping up Digital ONLY (although they sometimes later relent and do a printed version, because money is money, wherever it comes from).

            The only real question here is how long before it happens. I guess you could hope you never live to see it. That might be like wishing for years cut off your lifespan, though.
            Last edited by pulphero; 06-16-2014, 06:26 PM.

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            • #51
              Oh, I'm not scoffing at it, nor do I have trouble thinking that people might try to make absolutely everything digitized--I just think that getting rid of physical books would be a ghastly mistake in the long run. Alas, people seem quite willing to make those. I can easily see things shifting to digital-only, and then for one reason or another, all of those stories lost forever to the people who "bought" (or rather rented) them, and none of the companies giving a damn about it. Or the technology failing or changing in some way that means that all the stories are lost, with no recourse for the purchasers to get them back, ever.

              I'm OK with digital-first. I have no use for digital-only. For stories I plan to read more than once, I want real books, and temporary pixels on a screen simply aren't.

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              • #52
                Sorry, didn't mean to be all depressed there. *blush* I do think that moving to digital-only would be horrible and sad, and then I started thinking about how likely it is (given all kinds of things in the world right now, from climate change on up) that even if it were a catastrophic mistake, that wouldn't stop it from happening. I hope that the claims that people will stop making physical books are in error, even if it's a matter of all printed copies of things being print-on-demand (which could neatly solve the matter--that way anyone who wanted a physical copy could have one, but there would be no need to waste trees on unwanted ones).

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                • #53
                  "

                  I'm not sure if you're imagining some dystopian post-apocalypse scenario or what. Like, some catastrophe happens and all of a sudden there's no computers and/or electricity, or some horrific pernicious AI megavirus infects all digital tech and renders it worthless, or... was it more along the personal lines of "Oh darn, why didn't I back up my media library?" Not "lost forever" in the "Burning of Alexandria" sense, but "You mean I have to pay for all those again?".... can't that just as well happen in a fire or flood or tornado (or relationship breakup) to your personal collection of regular printed comics?

                  My counterargument would be that as long as technology and some kind of internet still exist, digital comics will live for far longer than the paper books of the same information, which begin to seriously degrade after 100 years (way less that that with improper handling and storage). Cyberspace is like a virtual pocket universe that's constantly expanding, so nothing ever really gets "permanently" deleted or goes away. They're called memes. Old jokes and misinformation that get repeated and copied from place to place, link to link, over and over, decades after they were put on the first server to make them available to the public. There's always someone out there scanning new comics into digital, and they get copied and shared and it goes on forever, just like the more traditional type of folklore. Digital can be alive in the sense that it can clone perfect copies of itself. That's a lot harder to do with a printed comic book. You can photocopy it, or just take a camera photo, but again, it involves using additional technology besides the information being copied and the medium it's viewed with. When I say digital, I mean everything from ComiXology to torrents .cbr to Adobe PDF Reader format to plain old .jpeg scans, plus better, more open formats and some kind of standard (like MP3 is for audio files) that will come into existence in the future, plus additional capabilities we haven't begun to exploit yet. Don't forget things like Motion Comics.

                  Maybe you're assuming there's only one or a few types of digital comics, they're "copyguarded" (DRM), or whatever, and can never be hacked, but might just cease to be viewable. As if what you see now as a "digital comic" will never, ever, change? Why would that format be frozen in time as opposed to everything else in the world? Yeah, individual copies can become unreadable, just like the printed comic you bought at your LCS can become stained, soiled, pages wrinkled and stuck together, ripped and torn, etc. It's not like you can't get another copy. I just wonder where this "disappear FOREVER" stuff is coming from.

                  Now I can well understand where you're coming from in terms of disadvantages of digital RIGHT NOW, especially to people like us who have a sentimental attachment to the tactile feel of paper, nostalgia from our own life experience, etc. But hypothetically, taking the personal aspect out of the equation... let's say all this (the end of the paper book) happens after both of us are dead and gone. The physical paper book is a manufactured OBJECT, as seen divorced from it's content. The content remains the SAME from medium to medium, even if it's reproduced and experienced differently. Looked at from someone else's different perspective, killing all those trees is far more "ghastly" and "catastrophic" than anything electronics can do to zeroes and ones in terms of reproducing the content of books and comics. I fail to see where any "catastophic mistakes" are coming from in this scenario. It's really just a personal aesthetic bias on the part of us old-schoolers. And there are definite advantages to be had. Let's say you got in a horrible car accident and you were paralyzed from the neck down, or your hands were burned so badly that they were useless. Digital comics would be the only kind of comics you *could* read then (using a voice command application), unless you think someone's going to hold your books up to your face and slowly turn the pages for you. Printed comic books, unlike computers, were never really made handicapped accessible. What about when you get too old and you're eyesight's much worse, to be able to clearly read the words on a 7"x10" printed page? You could still read the digital comics on a larger monitor, or have an audio reader plug-in to read it to you. Yeah, they sound terrible NOW, but that won't always be the case.

                  I actually don't have anything against the digital comic book in theory. It's just that right NOW I think most digital forms of comics suck, for various reasons -- but I do think they can be made to NOT suck in the future, and may even introduce improvements in some ways. I remarked on my experience with converting my CD collection to MP3s. I actually think I get a lot more use out of those audio recordings now. There's no reason why digital comics can't eventually be made to be more convenient, flexible and useful even than regular comics. The number one biggest stumbling block right now, that isn't quite there yet, are portable display devices. There are others, like there being no analogue to an industry-wide standard format like MP3.

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                  • #54
                    G'day,

                    Digital books have at least one overwhelming advantage for both the readers and writer- they never need to go out of print. All the back issues of your comic, all a writers backlist can be kept online indiffidently. Once ( I think about 15 years ago) publishers kept an authors back list but they changed the tax laws and they no longer do, which means an authors' livelihood depends on the success or failure of their most recent book. Its also hard for them to build a following without their previous work. Ebooks solve the problem. Hell, I'm reading some old Edmond Hamilton space opera from the 1940's now on my kindle something thats just not available on paper.

                    It would be interesting to compare the profit margin and the ROI on book titles between say Dynamite and a digital only publisher like Lion Forge Comics. The bottom line will ultimately determine the future of the industry.

                    Ralph

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by ralphuniverse View Post
                      G'day,

                      Digital books have at least one overwhelming advantage for both the readers and writer- they never need to go out of print. All the back issues of your comic, all a writers backlist can be kept online indiffidently. Once ( I think about 15 years ago) publishers kept an authors back list but they changed the tax laws and they no longer do, which means an authors' livelihood depends on the success or failure of their most recent book. Its also hard for them to build a following without their previous work. Ebooks solve the problem. Hell, I'm reading some old Edmond Hamilton space opera from the 1940's now on my kindle something thats just not available on paper.
                      But for comic books, there's the money from current issues, and then there's the hardcover and trade paperback collections later on. And some of those never seem to go out of print (like Watchmen).

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by ralphuniverse View Post
                        Hell, I'm reading some old Edmond Hamilton space opera from the 1940's now on my kindle something thats just not available on paper.
                        Excellent point, Ralph. Right on the nose. Things that could not be made to be profitable, and thus are not available, as printed books, can be made both available and profitable in digital format. The end result is greater availability and greater variety of product to appeal to a much broader spectrum of consumers. The inclusion of niche markets for products that appeal to too few consumers to be worth the overhead and expense of running printing presses is a good thing. Of course, right now these same digital scans can be turned into paper books on-demand, produced as individual items for the customers that want them. These remain sort of expensive as book prices go, but they exist because there's still a fair audience for which digital books just fall outside their comfort zone. As the consumer base ages though, it's easy to predict there will be a large dropoff in the number of people for whom digital books are outside their comfort zone.

                        Another prime example out there is digital scans of Golden Age comic books that aren't available anywhere as print books.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by MajorHoy View Post
                          But for comic books, there's the money from current issues, and then there's the hardcover and trade paperback collections later on. And some of those never seem to go out of print (like Watchmen).
                          The problem is that for every Watchmen that remains constantly in-print, there are a hundred that have only a single printing and then go out of print. At that point, a finite number of copies exist and they become collectibles, according to demand. With digital, nothing has to go "out of print", even for low-demand items, because it doesn't take up any physical space to warehouse copies. Hardcovers and trade paperbacks will be around for a while yet to come. It's the current serialized periodicals that will be the first to disappear as print items. The more "permanent book" type of formats will hold out longer, but eventually they'll go too.

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                          • #58
                            Very tired here, but I am thinking of both the tech changing or going away, and companies behaving as companies often do. I don't think preferring a real, physical book is "bias" either. And honestly, I think that never being able to buy a used book is a major disadvantage, not an advantage...

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                              The more "permanent book" type of formats will hold out longer, but eventually they'll go too.
                              I really hope that's not true.

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
                                Very tired here, but I am thinking of both the tech changing or going away, and companies behaving as companies often do.
                                Of course tech is always changing. Isn't that the point of what we're talking about? Gutenberg's 14th century-born tech is slowly being supplanted by a technology born in the 20th century. It's a battle that has been fought and lost innumerable times in the past, beginning with Gutenberg's printing press killing any market for illuminated manuscripts hand-copied (with great craftsmanship) by talented specialists. You don't suppose that the loss of those manuscripts wasn't mourned by people of its time, do you? But the cycle just keeps repeating with pulp fiction magazines supplanted by mass-market paperbacks, radio drama and comedy supplanted by television, 16mm films supplanted by magnetic video recordings (Beta/VHS), then DVDs, which are now being slowly supplanted by Blu-Ray discs... and surely it will continue thus.

                                Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
                                I don't think preferring a real, physical book is "bias" either.
                                It's a bias in the sense that you're not talking about the content, you're talking about the packaging of the content. "Preferring" IS a bias -- as in "preferential treatment".

                                Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
                                And honestly, I think that never being able to buy a used book is a major disadvantage, not an advantage...
                                That disadvantage is already here for you. It is possible to buy a used copy of Action Comics #1... but it's neither a simple transaction nor one that has parity with purchasing the same or similar content in another form. You're fortunate that the option of buying a reprint of Action Comics #1 exists, but this isn't true for many of the comics you might like to read but can't afford due to their rarity or expense. The second point here is that the books that have already been printed, purchased and offered for re-sale will still be there. The shift to digital will only affect the books going forward that won't continue to be printed. Since we haven't even reached that point yet, it's safe to say that a good percentage of the existing books so far printed are going to far outlive you. So that lack of used books will be someone else's problem; probably someone who hasn't been born yet, and won't really care. Don't go conjuring up any images of 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 here; there isn't going to be any "search and destroy" initiative in the offing.
                                Last edited by pulphero; 06-18-2014, 02:59 AM.

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