Some of us have been speculating about the digital possibilities for comics, as well as grumping about the inherent expense and inpracticality of comics staying with the monthly 32-page booklet issues as the primary format instead of trade collections, as well as the stranglehold Diamond's distribution monopoly holds on the industry.
Here is a solution to all three of those things so elegant it boggles my mind. I am kicking myself for not seeing the possibility earlier, since -- here is where Greg admits to being really stupid -- I already do this myself, privately, for the PDF review copies we get at the blog if I'm going to write about them. I'd totally be willing to do the same thing with DC or Marvel monthly books I wanted to 'keep up' with, for a reasonable download fee -- especially if I could do it ATM-style as described here. And think what this could mean for indie creators... a way to enter a publisher's catalog without the publisher having to invest in paper books.
If they have licked the reproduction and bindery problems well enough that customers readily accept the final product, this could be a real game-changer.
It's a little embarrassing that none of us prognosticating pundits thought of this, especially those of us in and around printing who knew the technology was already here. (Like me,) Then again, lots of people predicted television, but nobody predicted commercial television.