The price of media

Yesterday I paid $4.37 for Wolverine #3 at Whatever Comics in the Castro (turns out I’m a big comic book nerd). Since I usually buy a dozen or so comics at a go, I hadn’t really noticed the slow, steady increase in the price of individual comics. At less than the price of a pack of cigarettes, I figure a comic book is still a reasonable price, even if they’re no longer in the $1–2 range.

And then I read this article in the New York Times about the problems magazine publishers are having selling “magazines” on the iPad and iPhone… turns out that without a subscription, it’s just too much hassle for users to go a buy a new issue every month, and people seem resistant to paying a premium for digital content.

Reflecting on my own behavior, I see a similar aversion to buying digital comics, even though decent solutions like Comixology and Graphic.ly exist that serve that particular purpose. Instead — call me old fashioned — I like the tactility and visual excitement of purchasing the physical artifact. And I’ll pay $4.37 an issue, but can’t bring myself to spend $2.99 on the same content in digital form.

Really begs the question: is this merely a generational thing, where collecting comics or buying magazines in the future will seem obtuse? — or is it that the digital medium of bits and pixels still still can’t replicate the satisfaction one gets from owning and possessing discreet paper products?

I’m just not sure, but until someone else figures it out, I’m sticking with my weekly Wednesday fix.


Originally published at chrismessina.me on January 18, 2011.

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