Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Okay, here's my observation:
On the subway, I see more and more people reading books off of Kindle and other electronic reading devices.
The difference -- these do not seem to be "techy" early-adopters. These are people in nurse's scrubs, middle-aged people in suits on the way to their corporate jobs, people who casually handle the device as they would an iPod or a $7 paperback. Why are they using these devices? 'Cause it's easy and convenient.
Now, the Kindle is the high-rent version of this type of device, but I'm seeing more and more no-name knockoffs. Which means it's getting even easier to buy these things, and that there is more of a demand for them.
That said, I think a crucial element is that these devices seem to be taking the place of the $7 paperback. I think, in terms of mass consumption, these devices will eventually take the place of -- or be a popular alternative to -- the mass-market paperback.
Where does that leave comics?
I think at some point, the most popular comics will have the digital option readily available as well as the print. What is really needed is a convenient digital reader and format. But I think once you hit upon that reader & format...
But I still think there will be a demand for more "niche" print comics. I can see reading my weekly Amazing Spider-Man on an e-reader. But not a collection of Kirby reprints, especially if I love Kirby. And not the latest Ganges book by Fantagraphics Press. Ganges -- that has to be in print, I need to hold that oversized tome in my hands -- that's part of the experience of it. And when you get into mini-comics, DIY, etc...the paper and ink is part of the experience.
As for me, I've been researching options to self-publish my memoirs. As easy as the ebook option is, I still want to go print. Even if that means a pain-in-the-ass to format (which it is), even if it means more of a cost on my end (which it is).