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  1. #61
    Astonishing Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightning Rider View Post
    Whatever the industry has to do to survive I'm okay with, I just feel like local shops have value that can't be replaced. Mine seems popular enough to weather the storm thankfully.

    Some sort of compromise, like digital floppies and hard copy trades, would work for me. I just don't ever see myself switching entirely to digital. I've done it here and there, it's just not my thing.

    Also, I'm not well-read on this stuff, but how much does piracy eat into profits and subscriptions? I can literally google almost any comic book from the early 2000's on and read it in its entirety with no cost.
    Don’t know hard numbers myself but I wouldn’t be surprised if the numbers were big. Because it is really easy to pirate books and magazines, far easier than video games and movies. But that’s why digital prices need to come down, no one is paying $5 for a 22 page floppy worth maybe 10 minutes of entertainment when you can just read it for free.

  2. #62
    Fantastic Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    The all digital future has arrived. If I was DC and Marvel I would start slashing prices digitally so it’s cheaper to buy on there. Otherwise they’re going to get pirated to death.
    https://www.newsarama.com/49542-what...retailers.html

  3. #63
    Astonishing Member Clark_Kent's Avatar
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    "Store owner says all-digital shouldn't happen." In other breaking news, there's a virus going around.

    The article doesn't get into the real "why" of "why they shouldn't", just that he hopes it doesn't. That's not a good reason not to, though.
    "Darkseid...always hated music..."

    Every post I make, it should be assumed by the reader that the following statement is attached: "It's all subjective. What works for me doesn't necessarily work for you, and vice versa, and that's ok. You may have a different opinion on it, but this is mine. That's the wonderful thing about being a comics fan, it's all subjective."

  4. #64
    Extraordinary Member DragonPiece's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noodle View Post
    This isn't a comparative argument. You would have to relate vintage video game collectors to vintage comic collectors, and we aren't talking about vintage comic collectors, we are talking about people that collect current issues being released. Last I checked, physical games are still being released. Both upcoming game consoles still have disc drives and physical games will be made for it.

    Are games moving more and more to digital? Yes, but physical still makes up a large chunk of sales. Just like with comics. The market dictates where the future goes. If physical comics outsell digital, then physical comics aren't a "niche." The argument can be applied to standard Blu-Ray and 4K. Is 4K superior? Yes. But the market hasn't fully supported it based on sales, so the majority is still manufactured on non-4K or both.
    If people can't bare the sight of reading a comic digitally, then just encourage them to buy trades. Digital is going to be the future whether today or in a few years, so might as well transition now while these companies have the perfect oprotunity.

  5. #65
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Store owners don't want to go permanently out of business. That's reason enough for them to say we should avoid switching to digital. And honestly, I don't think there *is* a reason to not switch beyond these guys wanting to stay open.

    And hey, I don't blame them. No one wants to lose their company and go out of business. I've been going to the same LCS for like, 15 years. Those people are friends, and I don't want to see them go under.

    But the direct market is dying, and has been for a long time. This pandemic isn't changing anything, just maybe accelerating the timetable. I don't want to see my friends close their store but I also don't think any industry should be allowed to stand in the way of progress. Not wanting to piss off retailers is why digital prices are so high, it limits the effort publishers can put into other distribution models like bookstore and Scholastic OGN's. When the dust settles this might actually be good for comics, if not store owners.

    I dunno, it's a bittersweet thing to think about. I wish all the store owners and their employees nothing but the best and I hope we call come through this unscathed, but if this ends up being the final nail in the direct market's coffin....well, progress must march on and maybe we should've been forced out of the Diamond deal a long time ago.
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  6. #66
    Astonishing Member Robanker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Store owners don't want to go permanently out of business. That's reason enough for them to say we should avoid switching to digital. And honestly, I don't think there *is* a reason to not switch beyond these guys wanting to stay open.

    And hey, I don't blame them. No one wants to lose their company and go out of business. I've been going to the same LCS for like, 15 years. Those people are friends, and I don't want to see them go under.

    But the direct market is dying, and has been for a long time. This pandemic isn't changing anything, just maybe accelerating the timetable. I don't want to see my friends close their store but I also don't think any industry should be allowed to stand in the way of progress. Not wanting to piss off retailers is why digital prices are so high, it limits the effort publishers can put into other distribution models like bookstore and Scholastic OGN's. When the dust settles this might actually be good for comics, if not store owners.

    I dunno, it's a bittersweet thing to think about. I wish all the store owners and their employees nothing but the best and I hope we call come through this unscathed, but if this ends up being the final nail in the direct market's coffin....well, progress must march on and maybe we should've been forced out of the Diamond deal a long time ago.
    Yeah, unfortunately online distribution is harmful to brick and mortar retail and this industry isn't much different. I love my LCS and get my floppies there every week, but I'm an online shopper for collections. Instocktrades can't be beat for pricing.

    My city has several shops and I don't know how they all sustain a healthy business, but it won't continue forever. One actually closed down for good following the Shelter in Place directive. If digital drops to a reasonable price and physical acts as the premium experience it already is, I imagine more will close or have to evolve into specialty shops that cater to more than just comics and tabletop gaming. It's what some have already begun doing and I imagine it's the only way to survive the coming decade.

    I don't know how possible it is for them to reconcile, either.

  7. #67
    Astonishing Member mathew101281's Avatar
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    I realized a while ago( when Shonen Jump went digital) that digit was the future, but American comics were going to have a far more painful time changing to a more computer based format then manga. Manga treats comics like The disposable medium they were created to be. American comics got the taste of the collector’s mentality in the 90’s and never quite grew out of it. In the long run I feel the manga model is simply a healthy model both creatively( manga actually creates new franchises rather then milking 60 and 80 year old franchises) and publishing wise( manga is still a viable industry both in the west and internationally).

  8. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by DragonPiece View Post
    If people can't bare the sight of reading a comic digitally, then just encourage them to buy trades. Digital is going to be the future whether today or in a few years, so might as well transition now while these companies have the perfect oprotunity.
    The market dictates what the future is and when. Physical movies were a thing until Netflix popularized streaming and more people subscribed to that than buying physical. Music was the same until iTunes. Gaming is currently in their transition with things like Game Pass.

    The market is still heavily favoring physical comics right now. Forcing the change won't make people switch to digital. They'll just stop reading them. There needs to be the incentive and infrastructure set up to make the transition easy for those that haven't adopted digital yet. The closest thing the industry has is Marvel Unlimited or Comixology, and neither of those have made that impact yet.
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  9. #69
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Netflix is an interesting thing, but I think we're overlooking the elephant in the room in this conversation (which we've surely discussed before). I think, and I think most of us agree, the best move is if they can somehow make comics mainstream again instead of niche - music and tv and movies were already mainstream, comics are not. Even digital is niche in this regard (as comic book shops certainly are). I don't think redistributing code names is the way to go about it. I do think appealing to younger readers is likely a decent choice (less prejudice against the medium), but they can't go online and buy something with their own money. And they won't know it's there if they don't seek it out - at least unless the actual comics (not toys, movies, games, etc.) are advertised to them. Like I've said before, I was a kid in the '90s and the idea of actually buying a comic didn't occurred to me until my dad picked up some at a gas station on road trip. The movies and such are a much bigger deal now, but that hasn't trickled down to comics. I do think it would help if the comic and the cartoon/movie/game were trying to appeal to the same demographic.

    New franchises, yes, but new ones aimed at new readers. But those OGNs with new characters in Walmart (mixed in with toys, if you can). And in the bookstores. Maybe even school libraries (as I said, I'm thinking tween or younger - probably different franchises for different ages). It's not monthly floppies, but it's a start. I love continuity and minute, but frankly, it's been on a downhill slide for a while. Monthly floppies need to be some place visible and easily accessible, whatever the age of the buyer, if you want casual fans. Also stories need not to take a year to finish for that. I tend towards to the deep end of fandom, myself, but I don't read a lot real-time because of the loss of momentum waiting for a month for a new chapter. And people are even more prone to binging their entertainment now.

    I've said before that what's best for the business isn't best for me, and I still think that's true.

    I absolute still think there's plenty of stories that can be told with older characters, even within a larger continuity, don't get me wrong. I don't think continuity is the problem (though lack of it is, because it makes it harder for new readers to know what's going on and alienates some long-term fans). I do think stretched out stories and that one can finish an issue in 10 minutes and nothing have happened is a deterrent, though. Not only can you not pick up a comic book and get a complete story, too often you can't even subscribe to one title and get a complete story because of the heavy cross-overs/tie-ins/etc..

    The "collector mentality" could be a deterrent to new or casual fans for various reasons. I started in the '90s, and don't care about having a physical copy or variant covers (only ever would get the one I liked best, not multiple). I do care about owning v. renting.

    The trick is either getting new fans without losing old ones (new franchise OGNs seems a decent bet there, and I'd go for each in own universe or rarely crossing over) or getting more new fans than you lose in old ones (that's what they try to achieve with old mantles for new characters or reboots or whatnot). How to achieve that is something else entirely, and really beyond me.

    I get the idea of "you have to work the audience you have, not the one you wish you had" but the one they have seems to be shrinking.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 03-24-2020 at 10:26 AM.

  10. #70
    Incredible Member Jadeb's Avatar
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    If there is a long pause in print publication — three to six months or more — I wonder how many readers would come back. And how many stores would still be there to sell to them?

    I worry that the choice is between killing off shops or killing the entire industry.

  11. #71
    Mighty Member C_Miller's Avatar
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    I will say, I do find it very interesting that we're living in a world where public support is at an all time high for small businesses. The shop local movement is in full force, especially with younger generations. But, it feels like comic book stores aren't included in that, especially by regular comic book fans. While people are starting to turn away from big corporations towards smaller, locally owned small business, comic book fans are constantly like "evolve or die, old man."

  12. #72
    Extraordinary Member DragonPiece's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jadeb View Post
    If there is a long pause in print publication — three to six months or more — I wonder how many readers would come back. And how many stores would still be there to sell to them?

    I worry that the choice is between killing off shops or killing the entire industry.
    If it lasts that long, most of those shops would be closed honestly. I saw a article on bleeding cool earlier today with one shop saying one month is pushing it.

  13. #73
    Mighty Member krazijoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DragonPiece View Post
    If it lasts that long, most of those shops would be closed honestly. I saw a article on bleeding cool earlier today with one shop saying one month is pushing it.
    Yup, the margin is razor thin on most shops. Some might have a lot of trades to sell or other items but I would guess over half may be gone.

  14. #74
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noodle View Post
    The market dictates what the future is and when. Physical movies were a thing until Netflix popularized streaming and more people subscribed to that than buying physical. Music was the same until iTunes. Gaming is currently in their transition with things like Game Pass.

    The market is still heavily favoring physical comics right now. Forcing the change won't make people switch to digital. They'll just stop reading them. There needs to be the incentive and infrastructure set up to make the transition easy for those that haven't adopted digital yet. The closest thing the industry has is Marvel Unlimited or Comixology, and neither of those have made that impact yet.
    You're not wrong, but we can't forget the other factors here. The direct market stacked the deck in its favor by making hobby shops/Diamond the only large scale, reliable option. They've had no competition or alternative of any real note until fairly recently, and that competition has often been kneecapped by the publishers themselves; digital prices are higher than they should be, bookstore OGN's are out of continuity, etc.

    Now, the customer base is on the older side and not fond of new things, this is true, but it's also true that when your established market is no longer large enough to sustain your business, you need to find new markets to stay profitable. You mention Netflix and it's a great example; when they first started out they were a DvD rental company, but when that kind of model fell apart they switched to streaming in order to stay afloat, and ended up being huge; far more successful than they were originally. That's where we're at; the market might still favor printed floppies but isn't a viable, healthy market to begin with. We're already past the point where catering to this audience is wise, or likely to generate much-needed increases.

    And while the direct market continues to die a slow and agonizing death, trade, bookstore OGN's, and digital have all seen strong increases over the last few years despite publishers treating those models like unwanted red headed stepchildren. When their main effort results in dropping sales but the alternatives they push as minor options are growing reliably, the path forward seems clear. We've all talked to death about how floppy sales are no longer the sole indicator of success they once were, we've talked about some titles that do horribly in the direct market but do great in other distribution models. Covid19 didn't put us on this path, but it might make things happen faster.

    Like I said before, I don't want to see people close their shops and lose their jobs. I'll be heartbroken if/when my LCS shuts down. But this format doesn't work, hasn't worked for a long time, and current events are just doubling down on this. The industry needs to evolve or it'll die, it's not like other small businesses where this is just a rough patch. A sports bar might struggle right now, and might not be able to reopen when the dust settles, but sports bars are not in danger of disappearing, there's still a big market for that (even if they're all trapped at home right now). Comics' direct market was choking already, already in need of serious, large scale changes.
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  15. #75
    Invincible Member Digifiend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DragonPiece View Post
    If it lasts that long, most of those shops would be closed honestly. I saw a article on bleeding cool earlier today with one shop saying one month is pushing it.
    This article. https://www.bleedingcool.com/2020/03...uture-no-more/
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