If you want to rile up a room full of comic enthusiasts, ask them a simple question: digital or print? Many might argue over the convenience of having thousands of comics in the palm of your hand while other, more traditional folk (such as yours truly) wax poetic about the beauty of the true print comic book experience. Regardless of where you stand, it can be said that both forms have their advantages as well as disadvantages. Here are just a few things to consider before choosing your stance:
The Advantages of Digital Comics
What makes digital comics great? Digital is a carefree way to enjoy comics, remarks IGN. Not only do you have plenty of virtual storage space but you don't even have to leave your house to purchase comics anymore. Comic lovers that aren't interested in collecting will find that the benefits of digital comics far outweigh the downsides. You can simply visit a site like ComiXology, download your comic of choice and enjoy! This fast and easy form of entertainment is well-suited for the digital age because the Internet is our future.
Digital comics also make reading more exciting. For example, ComiXology introduced a guided view, which mimics the natural motion of the user's eyes through the comic.
The Disadvantages of Digital Comics
To start off, digital comics won't work unless you own a tablet. If you've ever tried reading comics on a smartphone, you know exactly what I'm talking about. The screens on smartphones are typically too small to make reading a comic an enjoyable experience, which means you need a bigger screen. Long story short, digital comics are only great if you're willing to invest in a tablet like the iPad Air.
Additionally, you don't exactly own your digital copy of Superman: Earth One, Volume 2, explains Wired. Readers purchase the right to view a comic, but not to own it. Think of it as borrowing a comic book from someone else's library for an infinite amount of time. Currently, the only DRM-free comic book publishers are Image Comics and ComiXology. Let's hope other companies like Marvel, DC Comics and IDW Publishing soon follow suit.
The Advantages of Print Comics
Comics sold online are typically the same price as those sold in brick-and-mortar stores, says CNET. The added benefit of print comics lies in their tangibility and realness. There is a more well-defined sentimental or monetary value to print comics, making it easier to collect and trade them, states Times Union. If you're a rare comic book aficionado, digital versions of your favorite series aren't going to cut it. Plus, if the comic book you're searching for is rare enough, it may not be available in digital form.
Furthermore, print comics contain more than just a story. Fans that enjoy reading the letter column and the author's notes to the reader will be sorely disappointed with digital comic books. Unfortunately, it's common for publishers to omit this valuable reading material even though it provides important insight into a comic book creator's thought process.
The Disadvantages of Print Comics
As a lover of print, it pains me to admit that print comics do have their shortcomings. True, like any other physical object, print comics deteriorate over time. All-Comic points out that even the most well-preserved print comic book will eventually fall apart.
Furthermore, print comic books don't provide the highly interactive experience of digital comic books. For example, DC Comics has launched online platforms that add interactive layers to digital comics, reports Paste Magazine. One of these features allows readers to choose their own character and storyline to produce multiple endings. No print comic in the world can do that!
Whether you choose print or digital, in the end, what really counts is what's on the inside. A comic with a great plot and amazing characters holds its own, no matter what form it comes in.