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Digital v. Physical

I guess you could say I like comic books. I mean, I have a podcast that is heavily focused on the medium, as well as the industry. The problem is that sometimes I feel guilty for reading them. I don’t feel guilty for the act of reading them. I feel guilty for reading them primarily in the digital format.

See, I really do think that buying from your local comic shop is the best way to do things. You’re not only supporting a local business, but you’re tapping into a community of people that – if you try – you can talk ad nauseam about so much. The conversations can be deeper than which Marvel hero would beat which DC hero or which Green Lantern is the best at what they do. Talks of politics, social issues, and religion fill the inked pages as well as the walls where the books themselves are lined.

Unfortunately, I have a hard time in situations like this. I don’t do well with people I don’t know. Heck, I’ve worked on the website for a local comic convention for the last few years and when the owner of the shop – who also runs the show – greats me and asks what’s new, my typical response is, “Oh, same old same old,” followed by me orienting myself to the New Releases section, then the discounted long boxes. All the while, I’m listening to the conversations that are playing out between the owner and the other patrons.

And for this reason, I tend to read my comics digitally. It’s not that I want to take money away from my local comic shop. I just don’t fare well in the environment there. I’m afraid to give an opinion on anything, even if I might be well-versed in it. The people, by the way, are always friendly, but I’m intimidated.

Also, that “local” comic shop is about 40 miles away and the operating hours don’t give me enough time to make a trip after work. That’s not their fault, of course, but I don’t want to be one of those guys who doesn’t pick up their books for two weeks. All of that leads me back to digital. I have, however, thought of a compromise.

In the near future, I’m going to be moving. I don’t know where to, but I’ll be moving. Once that has happened, I plan on buying a bookshelf and using it only for trade paperbacks or hardcovers. Those books will be purchased at my LCS (local comic shop). It’s a way that I can give back to that community.

Yes, individual issues will continue to be digital, but for the time being, this is the way that it has to be. Also, digital books are much easier to haul back and forth to work or to read while I’m in bed and my wife’s asleep.

If you have a local comic shop, please try your hardest to support what they’re doing. Physical isn’t better than digital or vice versa. Use the form that works best for your needs and don’t let anyone pressure you any other way. Support comics!

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