Slash Print | Following the digital evolution

Publishing | Louis Holt argues that "collectibility" will save the printed comic from being replaced by the digital version.

"The fallacy of thinking that digital comic books will kill print comic books is that it ignores the collectible value of comic books," Holt writes. "There is no telling how many comic books sold today aren’t even read but are immediately slid into protective sleeves with backing boards. People can’t trade or wrap digital comic books in plastic."

I suspect Holt creates a flaw of his own by overstating the hold collectibility has on readers. Handling monthly comics like 1,000-year-old parchments before sealing them away in Mylar bags may be common practice among a segment of the audience (particularly those of a certain age). However, I don't believe "collectibility" is a driving force -- the driving force? -- for the readership at large. The increasing popularity of trade paperbacks, the whole wait-for-the-trade "movement," and, yes, webcomics would seem enough to cast Holt's notion into doubt.

That said, the band shouldn't start the funeral dirge for the printed comic anytime soon (whatever "soon" means). Any sort of seismic shift by the industry toward digital comics still faces numerous obstacles -- e-device quality and affordability, and the necessity of new business models, among them. I just don't think "collectibility" is one of the more worrisome ones.

Matt Maxwell also weighs in: "Well, pulp novels are collectable, so are wax cylinders. So are vinyl records. Anything can be made collectible. Collectibility doesn't mean that a format survives or is necessarily a standard currency any longer. It just means that someone wants the artifact and is willing to pay for it."

Copyright | Although manga publishers have yet to clamp down on scanlators -- fans who translate Japanese comics and post them online -- a University of London professor thinks conflicts could arise as the global market becomes more lucrative. She estimates there are more than 1,000 scanlation groups worldwide.

E-devices | Matt Springer sees Apple's rumored touch-screen Netbook as a contender for "ultimate eComics reader."

Social media | Advertising Age reports that Facebook is driving more traffic than Google to some large websites.

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