In one of the forums on DimeStoreProductions.com today, the discussion about doing pure digital (pdf I'm assuming) distribution of comics came up, primarily foregoing print copies of books... This was my response and I thought some others might be interested in getting in on that discussion.
There's something to the idea, but keep in mind that despite the slide in sales of paper comics, they still do sell to a wide audience.... The number of issues sold for a lot of mainstream books is obviously enough to keep the industry going. Now, how do we get books to those mainstream audiences? It's all about finding and cultivating the niche, which is what the majority of creators don't bother to do. It's easy to blame the economy for your books not selling, but if you hustle, you can get them in readers' hands.
We've talked about things on DS the past handful of months, several of those conversations will show back up when the archives are posted, but the distribution model is broken, thus only helping to reinforce the misconception that the retail market is bust for small/self publishers. This is why Ian's trying to get things like local SPA chapters going, finding local stores to sponsor local creators, etc....
I tell you, even if you put your books at stores on consignment, having them actually sell goes a long way towards convincing stores to give other books up your sleeve a try. While promoting Faction, several stores decided to carry the book based on my approach, others asked for consignments, and even others offered signings. Take what you can get until you build a local audience. Things grow from there.
That being said, I 100% agree that having digital comics with paper backups can work, too, if done properly. What is the "proper" way? Depends on the book, the genre, the target audience, etc...
Personally, I would like to lean towards a multi-pronged and staggered approach... Release paper version first... when first issue is out, no digital... when second issue is out, put the first available for download... go from there. Once you have the second issue out there, you can assume that you've gotten a lot of the paper sales you would have on the first, so start trickling out the content in the hopes that some more will pick up the first and more will pick up the second.
Enough on this ramble... there's enough here that I want to "blog" this now! ha ha...
Digital Printing versus Paper Printing
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