Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pirates Can Be Useful...Sort of...Maybe

You ever have those moments where you're just not sure what to put in one of your blogs so it just sort of sits for a bit? Well this is one of those moments and one of those blogs.

So basically a study was done by Social Scientists in Europe that confirms a thing that I have been hearing for about the last year from people around the shop. Now our conversations surround the downloading of printed material but I think the conclusions reached matter.

I get asked how much impact of digital comics has impacted my Brick and Mortar comic cook retail business. My quick and dirty observation is probably about as much as broke customer "moving back home" does.

People have been telling me that instead of primarily shifting all of their comics purchases to digital download, they sample things they aren't sure they''d want to own a physical copy of and if they really like it SOMETHING HAPPENS.

There was a point about a year and a half ago where people told me the thing that would happen was they'd keep buying the series digitally. NOW we've reached a point where people are trying a series online, hearing their friends talk about a series and then coming into the shop to buy the collected versions of that series.

Apparently there is so much competition for their eyeballs on a screen that they can't wait to have that experience of buying SOMETHING in it's collected form. Now this is not according to my barely scientific research, a slam against digital. It seems like it's more of a move to ensure that if a consumer who may be prone to buying digitally is going to own something, then it had better be considered really good by the community. Community in this case is a group of peers and recommenders.

How does this relate to the study mentioned above? Simple, we're not idiots. We all know damn well that everyone who talks to us about their digital comics isn't buying them legally. Some of those folks have got to be using some swank (and at this stage in the game, rather simple) piracy skills to stay abreast of what's going on in comics.

Currently there are upwards of 150 different monthly comics titles on my shelves. a full 30 of them are Batman or X-Men related and while retailers and fans alike would live for all of these comics to be home runs, retailers and fans alike know good and damn well that this is not going to happen. Of the books on my shelves I'd only count about 25 of them as HOME RUN titles. That leaves a lot of room for doubt in the minds of consumers. Room for doubt and a lack of depth in the pockets is room room for piracy.

Since not every pirate hangs out with only pirates, the pirates talk about comics with non pirates and they themselves become recommenders. Having a few less places to pirate COULD delay piracy and alter the established trajectory of SEE> TELL>BUY.

I guess my ultimate point here is that I think it's plausible. No one wants to give pirates credit for anything positive because they are pirates but everyone uses them for something or another.


Poseur said...

A recent Wall Street Journal article wrote that despite the rising popularity of tablets, ebook sales have plateaued and are not considered a threat to printed books anymore. I'm hoping this applies to comics too.

Unknown said...

I have a suspicion that nothing will stop people from crying from the tallest water tower that the "future" means the death of one format due to the growth of another.

We've already seen that "the future" of really a mix of many things. A bunch of that discussion is really centered around lamenting the death of certain gigantic book chains.

The biggest threat to comics is still distribution & content.