View Poll Results: When do floppies go all - digital?

Voters
12. You may not vote on this poll
  • within 5 years (by 2023)

    1 8.33%
  • within 10 years (by 2028)

    4 33.33%
  • within 20 years (by 2038)

    2 16.67%
  • longer than 20 years / Never

    5 41.67%
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 23
  1. #1
    Legendary Member daBronzeBomma's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Usually at the End of Time
    Posts
    3,175

    Default When, if ever, will floppies go paperless?

    You've heard it for years.

    "Paper is dying".

    "Print magazines are on life support."

    "Soon it will be all digital".

    The first two statements are true, IMHO, it's just been a much slower death than initially predicted.

    The third statement is what I want to discuss, but just the printed floppy comic book issues.

    When, if ever, do you think comic book floppies will be entirely digital, with TPBs being the primary comic book related items sold in bookstores? Within 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Never?

    Why? And are you looking forward to it or not?

    Me, I've been hearing that print is dying due to paper prices rising ... for decades now. It's definitely going away, but reports of its demise always seem greatly exaggerated.

    I think floppies go all-digital within the next ten years. So by 2028, no more print floppies by any major publishers. I am not sure if I am looking forward to this change.

    You?

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    11,025

    Default

    When they stop printing paper single issues, I'll stop buying single issues of comic books.
    At present, I have no device for reading digital/virtual comic books beyond a desktop computer, and I have no interest trying to use a desktop computer to read comic books.
    Could that change in the future? Can't say for sure, but I have no burning desire to change it at present.

    (And I hate the term "floppies". It's not cute, and to me it feels more like it's degrading / insulting the original format.)
    Last edited by MajorHoy; 02-09-2018 at 06:44 PM.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member dancj's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    2,781

    Default

    I don’t think it’ll happen soon - or completely - just like vinyl hasn’t completely gone away. I do think that within 20 years, floppies will be massively reduced.

    I don’t think the cost of paper is a big contributing factor. Floppies really use a very small amount of paper in elation to their price. The whole infrastructure of the broken direct market system, and newsagents and supermarkets being unwilling to stock them are bigger problems.

    I’m not particularly looking forward to it or dreading it. I’ve been pretty much TPB only for about 20 years now, so it won’t make any odds to me.

    Oh and the term “floppies” is fine. It’s not insulting, it’s factual. It rolls off the tongue well and people know what you’re talking about.

  4. #4
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    11,025

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dancj View Post
    . . . The whole infrastructure of the broken direct market system, and newsagents and supermarkets being unwilling to stock them are bigger problems.
    I don't know if the non-comic book shops not stocking them is really a "bigger problem". Yes, it decreases visibility/access for casual buyers who aren't likely to go to comic book shops or don't have easy access to one, but on the other hand, I'm not sure how many people (at least here in the U.S.) still bought them that way. When I was still seeing spinner racks in the occasional supermarket, or the sections in Barnes & Noble bookstores that still carried comic books, they didn't seem to have sold all that many copies.

    The bigger problem with the spinner racks and magazine sections in supermarkets, drugstores, etc. might also have been a lack of all-ages appropriate material at an affordable price. When I was a kid (back in the last century), there was plenty of material more than suitable for beginning/young readers from companies like Gold Key, Harvey Comics, etc. How much of the present-day output from the larger companies doesn't involve characters physically fighting other characters? How many issues contain one (or more) self-contained stories in that issue? How many different genres of stories are published in all-age-appropriate comic books that would be widely-distributed through the newsstand sales system?

    Also, major comic book companies are no longer satisfied with the costs of the return system for newsstand sales vs. guaranteed sales with no returns (unless the comic book companies make exceptions) through the direct market.

  5. #5
    Latverian ambassador Iron Maiden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Latverian Embassy
    Posts
    10,097

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dancj View Post
    I don’t think it’ll happen soon - or completely - just like vinyl hasn’t completely gone away. I do think that within 20 years, floppies will be massively reduced.

    I don’t think the cost of paper is a big contributing factor. Floppies really use a very small amount of paper in elation to their price. The whole infrastructure of the broken direct market system, and newsagents and supermarkets being unwilling to stock them are bigger problems.

    I’m not particularly looking forward to it or dreading it. I’ve been pretty much TPB only for about 20 years now, so it won’t make any odds to me.

    Oh and the term “floppies” is fine. It’s not insulting, it’s factual. It rolls off the tongue well and people know what you’re talking about.
    I hate the term also. "Floppies" are the old media we used with computers back in my day...and I do recall using the 8 1/4 floppies Call them what they are... comics. No one in my LCS calls them floppies. Go to your LCS and call them that. Do you say "did the Batman floppy come in this week?" Go on....I dare ya

    I think eventually they will become all digital but there's still quite a few collectors out there for comics in print format. It's still my preferred way of reading them. I don't have to boot something up to read them.
    Last edited by Iron Maiden; 02-10-2018 at 10:14 AM.
    Doctor Doom Appreciation Thread at CBR Forums
    My old SuperHero Squad name: Steel Divine Duke

  6. #6
    FF purist/snob CaptCleghorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    2,857

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dancj View Post
    I’ve been pretty much TPB only for about 20 years now,

    Oh and the term “floppies” is fine. It’s not insulting, it’s factual. It rolls off the tongue well and people know what you’re talking about.
    Has anyone else noticed that the people who use the term "floppie" usually don't actually read comics in that form?

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member dancj's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    2,781

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    I don't know if the non-comic book shops not stocking them is really a "bigger problem
    To be clear - I’m just saying that that’s a bigger problem than the cost of paper. The “biggest problem” is a much bigger subject and you’ll never get two people to agree.

    I’m just very sceptical that that cost of paper is even that big a problem at all.

  8. #8
    Death becomes you Osiris-Rex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Memphis
    Posts
    3,907

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Maiden View Post
    I hate the term also. "Floppies" are the old media we used with computers back in my day...and I do recall using the 8 1/4 floppies Call them what they are... comics. No one in my LCS calls them floppies. Go to your LCS and call them that. Do you say "did the Batman floppy come in this week?" Go on....I dare ya

    I think eventually they will become all digital but there's still quite a few collectors out there for comics in print format. It's still my preferred way of reading them. I don't have to boot something up to read them.
    Does seem like an odd term for a comic books printed on paper. I have never heard them referred to that anywhere else but here on these CBR forums. Now I will admit I haven't read every single article
    ever printed on the internet, but I read several other comic book related sites and no one there uses the term. Is that just something one of the posters here created?

  9. #9
    Mighty Member MRP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,485

    Default

    It will happen when revenue from sales stop covering production costs. If the sale of single issues in print covers the production costs of the book (editorial staff, creative costs, facility costs for business operations, etc. as well as the printing, distribution and marketing of the actual books), then it allows for more profitability in other formats (digital sales, trade collections, etc.). If production costs exceed the production costs for the single issues, then production costs need to be reduced (and many of the costs are fixed (editorial, creative, facility, etc.) no matter what the format of distribution of the product is, so the only production costs you can eliminate is the printing and distribution costs) or prices need to be raised (without a reduction in sales which doesn't happen often). At the point where raising the price still doesn't cover production costs, then the cost cutting starts and one of the first to go will be to reduce printing and distribution costs (cheaper paper might be tried, lower quality printing as well), but eventually that step of the chain will likely be eliminated.

    However, there could be a couple of interim steps before it happens:

    -print on demand. Individual issues could be produced digitally but those wanting print copies can pay for the printing. Prices will be higher and it is a tactic niche markets use for print products when primary distribution is digital.

    -anthologies-collecting single issues of several stories/titles into larger anthology format books at a higher price point. This model works in comics markets outside the US, but the US direct market hasn't supported it well, so it is unlikely, but is still an option if they are looking at various methods to reduce production costs and still keep print viable.

    The biggest problem is the single issue is not an attractive product model for a wider audience that hasn't grown up reading "floppies" (or single issue whatever you want to call it). The use of panels and pages, words and pictures to tell stories (i.e. comics) does sell in the wider mass audience, just not as single issues of a periodical. Several major book publishers have started graphic novel imprints because they sell and are profitable in the current market, none of them produce single issues but offer complete stories to the market or substantial volumes of a larger series/longform story rather than slim periodicals. It seems the only one who wants to buy single issue periodicals is the existing hardcore comic fan market, and that is a shrinking market. When that market shrinks to the point it is no longer viable, the format will go away or become a more expensive niche product with limited appeal outside that niche market. Comics will continue to sell to a wider audience, just not in that format.

    At current market attrition rates, I'd say a change of some sort has to happen within 5-10 years, but that change isn't necessarily the end of the print single issue altogether.

    -M
    Comic fans get the comics their buying habits deserve.

  10. #10
    Astonishing Member Phoenixx9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    2,729

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    When they stop printing paper single issues, I'll stop buying single issues of comic books.
    At present, I have no device for reading digital/virtual comic books beyond a desktop computer, and I have no interest trying to use a desktop computer to read comic books.
    Could that change in the future? Can't say for sure, but I have no burning desire to change it at present.

    (And I hate the term "floppies". It's not cute, and to me it feels more like it's degrading / insulting the original format.)
    You summed it up very well for me also!

    In this day of "give everyone what they want" society, why not just keep all the formats? I certainly don't want my version to be the one that goes away.

  11. #11
    Legendary Member daBronzeBomma's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Usually at the End of Time
    Posts
    3,175

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Osiris-Rex View Post
    Does seem like an odd term for a comic books printed on paper. I have never heard them referred to that anywhere else but here on these CBR forums. Now I will admit I haven't read every single article
    ever printed on the internet, but I read several other comic book related sites and no one there uses the term. Is that just something one of the posters here created?

    I was curious about the origin of the term myself.

    I've more or less stopped buying floppies (and I see absolutely nothing derogatory about the term, but whatevs, personal preference) and now do the occasional trade-wait. Some quick "research" (aka googling) and ...


    A Note On The Term "Floppy"


    So Much For The Death Of Floppies


    On An Age-Old Controversy: Floppy Or Trade?


    Hard, Soft, Or Floppy?


    Seems like the term been in use since 2012, so at least 5+ years now.

    Anyhoo, the whole reason I thought of this thread was because I wanted to buy the two-part World's Finest double-date two-parter with Clark, Lois, Bruce, and Selina in the BATMAN title recently. But both LCSs in my area had sold out of both issues.

    Since I don't have time to drive all over town in the hopes of tracking them down, my remaining options are basically to order the floppies from a site online and have them shipped to me, or download the Comixology or DC app and read it on my phone. Never done either before, am wary of both, but will probably go with the latter for convenience / storage purposes.

    And that just got me wondering about the long-term fate of floppies in general.

  12. #12
    Boisterously Confused
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    1,957

    Default

    There are a ton of costs built into physical distribution of offerings. For most of the physical stuff that we buy, it's as much as 50% of the price (that "free shipping" stuff? BS!: the cost goes somewhere, whether that means into the price, or into squeezing the margins of somebody within the supply chain).

    At the same time, the population is growing increasingly addicted to its digital devices.

    Comics are a low margin business (at least here in the states).

    For those reasons, the end of physically distributed comics is an inevitability, at least for the major companies. (of course, I'm also the guy that said "this Madonna bimbo ain't gonna last 6 months" back in 1983, so take me with a grain of salt).

  13. #13
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    11,025

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenixx9 View Post
    . . . In this day of "give everyone what they want" society, why not just keep all the formats? I certainly don't want my version to be the one that goes away.
    But, how much will you still be willing to pay for a physical, paper single-issue comic book before you feel it's "too much", no matter how much you enjoy the content? If fewer and fewer people wind up buying original printed single issue comic books, they're going to have to charge more and more per an individual issue. The price of the paper may not be the problem, but other production costs (including paying the writers, artists, etc.) aren't necessarily based on how many issues are printed and sold.
    Last edited by MajorHoy; 02-11-2018 at 05:42 PM.

  14. #14
    Astonishing Member Phoenixx9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    2,729

    Default

    Yeah, I knew that was going to come up.

    But to answer your question, no, I would not pay any price to just have the medium.

    It seems today, everyone into all the tech seem to come up with reasons why the former ways are now too expensive to maintain, despite the companies themselves not stating it themselves. But I am sure that it only a matter of time before they do.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member Trey Strain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    4,919

    Default

    "Floppies" is no more disparaging for comics than "movies" is for films.

    To an outsider who looks at the comics industry, the business model seems irrational. It has an archaic and limited distribution system that sells a rather extravagantly priced entertainment product in a print format, and meanwhile print industry is declining. It works because there's a sufficient base of compulsive collectors who can keep it going.

    I don't think enough people will ever be interested enough in digital comics that the format can carry the industry.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •