Digi-tally-ho

Something huge has taken place in my life. Something I never thought would happen…as of this week, I quit collecting comic books.

(Pause for a chorus of gasps.)

It’s true…sort of. As of this week, I am no longer purchasing print copies of current comic book series. I cancelled all my subscriptions at my local comic shop, a shop I have been going to for over 2 decades, and said good-bye to a weekly routine I have practiced for almost 30 years: driving [out of my way, I might add] to my local comic shop to pick up my stash of new comics, reading them the following weekend, cataloguing them, bagging and boarding them, and filing them snugly away in my now filled to the brim comic boxes.

What could have brought an end to my years of collecting habits?

Digitization.

Many moons ago, publishers started offering digital copies of their comic books for purchase and reading on computers, iPads, tablets, phones, Kindles, etc. Marvel Comics began including digital codes in their print comics that you could enter to receive a free digital version of the comic book you bought. I started entering the codes, downloaded a comic reading app, and read a few of the comics on-line. I even purchased a series on live and read it over the course of a few months as new issues came out, but the experience just didn’t appeal to me. I preferred my comics printed on paper, and preferred flipping pages with my hands as opposed to swiping my screen to move through pages. But then I started reading posts by a certain blogger who is a big fan of digital comics. After reading enough posts about them, I began to get curious once again and, about 2 weeks ago, I dusted off my old iPad, deleted all the other crap on it, downloaded the digital comic apps I use to purchase and read digital comics (Marvel, DC, and Comixology) and started entering the digital codes again from my comics and exploring the different digital comic apps content. Sadly, digital codes expire after a year, so I couldn’t go back and enter all the codes from my collection, just those from books less than a year old (boy do I regret not entering all those codes now.)

I don’t know  why, but this time around, I fell in love with digital comics almost instantly. I spent the weekend reading digital comics and adding my digital comic collection to my comic log spreadsheet (175, so far.)

Then I got to thinking how great it was to have all these comics at my fingertips, totally portable, no bags, no boards, no digging into boxes. No weekly runs to the comic shop, no more money for bags and boards (or more boxes as my collection grows.) Being able to buy the latest issue, or whatever issue I feel like reading, wherever I am, any time, day or night.

No fuss, no muss.

But I really struggled with actually putting the kibosh on my print comic subscriptions and saying sayonara to my  comic shop. A 31 year “habit” isn’t easy to break, especially going cold turkey, but my “pros” list just kept getting longer and there wasn’t a single item on my “cons” list. So, after about 24 hours of thoughtful consideration and a good night’s sleep…I pulled the plug on paper comics. I bagged and boarded the last of my sitting print copies and filed them away, then I e-mailed my comic shop and finalized the deed by canceling all my subscriptions.

I’m so excited.

Having said all that, I still have about 200 comics on my “need list”  that I want to buy to fill in my various (printed) series I’ve almost competed, so I’ll still be rummaging though back issue boxes in comic stores I come across in my travels. Also, I still have (and love) my collection of 1,030 book collection, which is comprised of:

  • 9,506 Comic Books
  • 401 Graphic Novels, Trade Paperbacks and Hardcovers
  • 49 Digest Size Comics
  • 76 Treasury Edition (Oversized) Comics

I may consider selling off some of it and buying digital versions with the money I make, but I’ll probably keep the bulk of them as print copies.

So this is what my old comic collecting habit entailed: A printed comic book, a backing board, a sleeve, and some scotch tape to tape the sleeve lip shut.

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But (mostly) NO MORE!

Here’s how I redeemed my free digital copies.

On the cover of many comics, you’ll see something like this, letting you know there’s a free digital version of the comic insider (or maybe even different comics all together – it varies) :

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Inside the comic, you find the page with the digital code:

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You peel off the sticker cover:

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Which reveals a digital code underneath (sorry folks, I’ve already redeemed this one):

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You take your handy digital reading device (in my case, an iPad):

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Then navigate to the website to enter the digital code:

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Now you have a digital version of our comic. In order to read it, just open the applicable digital comic book app on your device:

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Go to “My Comics”:

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Touch the image of the comic you just purchased/redeemed:

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Download the comic to whatever device you’re on:

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And begin reading:

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Soon, you’ll build a nice digital collection:

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So.

Freakin’.

Cool!

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6 Responses to Digi-tally-ho

  1. Urspo says:

    Wow! What a marvelous transition !

  2. Old Lurker says:

    Do you actually download files that you keep permanently? Or are these comics on other people’s servers (and thus can be taken away at will)?

  3. Ravager619 says:

    I almost want to say, “Oh no!”. I buy mostly digital but there are some comics I’m willing to buy physical copies of. I’m willing to say you can get older comics on the cheap on Comixology, and they always have great sales for Black Friday and around the holidays. It was nice to buy the entire Red Lanterns run (six volumes) for about $30 not long ago.

  4. javabear says:

    Wow! OK, I was kinda shocked when you said you weren’t collecting comics anymore. But I like the look of the digital comics on the iPad there. I love reading books (not so much the comics) on my Kindle and other digital devices, so I can understand the excitement of having ALL THOSE COMICS on one little digital device.

    Ain’t it great living in the future?

  5. truthspew says:

    Welcome to the 2nd decade of the 21st century. If you’d asked me say back in the early 90’s whether we’d have the capability to read more online I would have scoffed a bit. But now all my reading is digital.

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