Out of Print

How you can make your voice heard and save money at the same time using digital comics.

The phrase “vote with your dollar” has become popular in comics circles. The idea is simple. Companies look for patterns in products that sell well and products that sell poorly. They will try to make more of the former and fewer of the latter. Just by purchasing the comics you like, as well as not purchasing the comics you don’t enjoy, you influence the creative decisions of the companies that make those comics. That’s how it works.

In theory anyway. In practice, readers don’t buy their comics directly from the people who make them. Retailers do. Underordering and overordering from retailers can cause sleeper hits to be overlooked on the sales charts or give comic book companies a false positive on what the readers actually want.

The creative decisions of even the world’s biggest comic book companies are now in your hands.

Comics that have been out of print, both in periodical form and as part of a collected edition, usually can’t be bought from retailers. You have to get those from the secondary market (someone who purchased the comic from a retailer and is now selling it), often with a considerably inflated price tag attached. Secondary market data will never reach the original company, not even indirectly. As far as they’re concerned, you might as well have stolen those comics.

With digital comics, the “vote with your dollar” ideal has become a reality. For the first time, readers have the ability to selectively buy comics directly from the companies that create them. And it’s not just the “day and date” sales they’re going to be watching either.

Those out of print comics with the bloated costs? You can purchase them for the same amount as any other comic on the digital store. Welcome to the new “supply and demand”, where the supply is infinite. No comic has a print run, so no comic ever goes out of print.

This means you have control. The creative decisions of even the world’s biggest comic book companies are now in your hands. Do you have a favorite character who is now dead or otherwise relegated to limbo? Consider buying every appearance of that character available on the digital store (or at least a handful of the best ones). The same goes for creators who haven’t been getting much (if any) work lately, or even just an overall tone.

Whatever it was you loved about your favorite era of comics that you feel the current direction is missing, you can help bring it back again. Trust me, if enough customers do it, the people in charge will notice, and they will adjust their policies accordingly.

Make sure you aren’t buying comics you don’t like, even if you once did. Inertia buying not only wastes your money, it also ruins your ability to effectively communicate what direction you want comics to go in. The great responsibility that comes packaged with this great power is that what you don’t purchase is every bit as important as what you do.

Robert McSantos

Out of Print