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July 10, 2011

“American comic book fans live for Wednesdays”

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There's a very interesting article in the latest issue of Wired (and online here) about dwindling monthly issue sales for comics and the upcoming market for comics on the iPad. Writer Douglas Wolk profiles comiXology cofounder David Steinberger and analyzes how the digital marketplace (currently only about 1% of sales for the industry) is expected to grow exponentially soon. As someone who's been resisting the urge to adopt an iPad or any other ereader into my reading habits (whether for prose or comics), I'm intrigued...lately I have very much been feeling the notion that it's time for me to change my mind. My romanticized ideas about the feel and smell of paper are perhaps just overinflated memories from my youth. That's not to say I'm now ready to go jump into the ereader pool...but I'm dipping my toe and realizing I don't want to be the last adopter. It might be time.

The article also quotes DC Comics copublisher Jim Lee, who offers an interesting point: Wolk writes,  "But when Lee describes what DC would like to do digitally, he doesn’t talk about converting the Wednesday store shoppers to digital customers. Like his counterparts at other comics publishers, he talks about using digital comics to bring in 'lapsed fans, people who read comics at some point, or people who are curious, who are finding comic books for the first time through these new devices.' " I can identify with that. In truth, I'm no longer the diehard Wednesday guy I once was...and I haven't been for a while. I gravitate much more now toward trade papers and other collections, preferring to read long story arcs in one volume rather than in monthly issue installments. But an ereader might be what brings me back--which would be interesting, considering my token allegiance to the smell and feel of paper. Perhaps an ereader would help bring back what I really loved about the look and thrill of comics in the first place. We shall see.