Shelling out three to five bucks for a digital copy of a comic is unjustifiable for a number of reasons. There is no way the book costs any where near that much to produce in a digital format. There is no printing cost and no cost to ship the book to sellers. As with the music industry, the comics industry is discovering that people are more than willing to purchase comics digitally... just not at the price point they're setting.
That product may give me joy and entertainment and effect me emotionally but at the end of the day, when I shut off my iPad, it disappears. That, in a nutshell is my only real complaint with digital comics themselves. The pricing issues will eventually be solved. They'll figure out that pricing digital comics in the 99 cent range is what people want. Or they'll figure out that some sort of subscription is where its at.
At the end of the day, for me the only con to digital comics is the loss of the physical product and all it's trappings. Holding a comic in my hands, flipping through pages, and the weird pleasure I get from bagging and boarding that issue or putting it alphabetically on my shelf. Those are the things that a digital comic can't possibly give me.
Convenience is what the digital format has going for it. Sure you won't be able to flip pages, or smell the musty paper of back issues, but you'll be able to store them without filling up half of your home with long boxes. Whether or not you happen to enjoy storing those back issues or collecting mountains of comics doesn't negate that the idea of being able to store, and easily access years worth of your favorite titles is a welcome one.
I'm not heralding the death of printed comics. I did that a couple years ago when I got my first look at the iPad. No, I'm now to the point where I genuinely hope that there is room for both. I want to be able to go to my comic shop every week and talk to my comic guy and make my pull list. I want to be able to take those single issues home, sit on my couch and flip through their pages. I want to bag and board comics. I do.
But I also want to be able to buy stuff I might not normally buy at cheaper prices digitally. I want to store months or even years of comics on tablet devices. I want the comics medium to embrace digital and see it for the gateway to the vast kingdom of cool that I believe comics are. I want my cake and I would very much like to eat it too.
I've gone digital. But to my surprise, after doing so I didn't quit going to my local shop. My pull list has actually doubled since I started reading comics via my iPad. At this point I just hope this is the effect that reading your comics on a device instead of the printed page will have on everyone. I guess we'll see...