A Short Affair with a Tablet
About a month ago my parents bought me a tablet (a long belated birthday gift) and I immediately bookmarked my favorite webcomics on it and loaded up my google reader feeds in anticipation of happily reading web material on my living room couch.
Unfortunately, that was around the same time I started having these mysterious dizzy spells. Sometimes, I’d feel the world was spinning and I usually would feel off-balance. It wasn’t that bad but it happened enough times that it worried me. I thought it was the combination of the long hours in front of the computer working, plus reading on the tablet and my eyes were somehow giving up on me. But I had it checked up and my eyes were just fine.
This isn’t a post telling you to “don’t buy tablets because they will give you headaches.” Far from it, I think tablets and other ios reading devices are an important part of the evolving comic industry. Manga publishers are paying attention and recent moves by Yen Press and Shonen Jump to completely digital editions of their magazines show they believe it, too. It just so happens I’m part of a fraction of the population unable to appreciate the benefits of these cool gadgets because of some side effects.
Anyway, I shed no tears for the loss. The feel of a physically printed book has always been incredibly personal to me. The smell of new pages, the reassuring weight in my hands as I immerse myself in the world of the story I’m reading are the experiences I associate with reading my stories. Yes, a book is much more expensive than buying the digital copy but it also feels more special because it’s tangible.
I think the two formats shouldn’t necessarily be at war with each other. In fact, publishers are exploring the advantages of a multi-format marketing approach. Releasing comics on the web before the physical book launch is a great way to find an audience. First Second is currently doing this with Faith Erin Hicks’ Friends with Boys. I plan to do the same with Polterguys (once I actually get to finish the ole thing) and hope to find more people interested in in my work.
I will say this about reading my books though. They sure don’t have to be powered up and recharged for me to get my story fix!
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