Will Digital Comics Replace Print Comic Books?

New York Comic Con 2011

NEW YORK – New York Comic Con 2011 kicked off on Thursday afternoon with a panel discussion that addressed the much-debated question of whether or not digital comics could replace traditional comics and graphic novels in the future.

“We’ve come to a turning point in comics where you can now choose to read comics in print format or digital, and more fans are starting to flock to digital since they can be read on-demand and the quality of the digital pages is beautiful,” said panelist David Lisa, a consultant at the New Jersey State Library and graphic novel and comics specialist. “There is a whole generation of people, especially digital natives, who have grown up around technology, that prefer reading comics on iPads and other tablet devices.”

Lisa added that as young comic book readers grow up, they will be more likely to continue to read digitally. [Read: 8 Movies You Maybe Didn’t Know Were Based on Comic Books]

“It’s simple: print can’t survive in an economy where people don’t prefer it,” Lisa said.

Devoted fans showed concern about the decline of physical comic books and questioned if they should stop buying the medium if it’s on the way out.

“Print isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I’m going to keep reading print comics and if that’s what you want, you should too,” Lisa said. “It’s possible digital and print will co-exist, but if comic book publishing is strained now, what’s it going to be like when most customers are digital natives? It doesn’t look that good for print.”

Another panelist, Michael Maziekien – head of adult services and IT for New Jersey’s Rockaway Township Public Library – noted that graphic novels experienced a 20 percent decline in 2010, while digital comics grew its business 1,000 percent to more than $7 million.

To bring digital content to more people who may not have access to high-tech devices such as tablets (or don’t want to buy digital content), more libraries nationwide are expanding their e-book offerings. In 2010, about 66 percent of public libraries provided access to e-books and projections expect that number to keep growing, up from less than 5 percent in 2001, Maziekien added.

“Steve Jobs largely helped the growing interest to read comics on handheld devices,” Lisa told the room packed with attendees.

In addition, Amazon recently announced the Kindle Fire, an Android-based tablet that will not only support comics but offer exclusive access to some titles. For example, about 100 of DC’s best-selling graphic novels will be available solely through the Kindle Fire, including Watchman and Superman Earth One.

“The present state of digital content will give us clues as to what may happen in the future,” Lisa said. “However, demand is growing quickly and the industry is indeed shifting, so the debate about the death of print will continue on.”

Reach TechNewsDaily senior writer Samantha Murphy at smurphy@techmedianetwork.com. Follow her on Twitter @SamMurphy_TMN

LEAVE A REPLY
Name*
Email* (will not be published)
Website
*Indicates required field
Comments*
Submit Comments

FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE