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Comics: Does The Medium Change The Message?

Digital publishers enjoy growing readership


Like all forms of reading, comics have gone digital. But many people miss the feel of the paper, the smell of it and the experience of visiting a bookstore or comic book shop to purchase the comic.

Researchers have found that reading via screen versus paper can make a difference. Before 1992, many research studies pointed to the fact that people read slower, less accurately and less comprehensively on screens compared to paper. However, more recent studies have shown there’s not a huge difference and is largely down to user preference.

Books usually have standard typography, meaning fonts are relatively the same and readers have a left page and a right page when opening up a book. The borders are clearly defined, and it’s easy to navigate where you’ve been and where to go next. With comics that include photos, some people like to glance back at what they’ve just read instead of having to scroll to an entirely different screen.

However, with more screen media available to read comics, many have made the switch to digital. Not only can you bring your entire comic collection with you via a smartphone, tablet or other devices, you don’t have to worry about spilling on them, ripping them or damaging them, which is a collector’s worst nightmare. With bright colors, HD and clearer-than-clear screens, many comic book readers get the same experience of digital versus paper if some key attributes are there.

Experts agree that the best tool for enjoying a digital comic is definitely a tablet like an iPad Air. This gives the user a larger screen compared to a phone to really get the full experience and more comparable dimensions of a comic book. Another thing that’s great about the digital experience is that you can adjust the size from the screen to zoom in on word balloons and pictures. This is a plus because it’s like a magnifying glass set to your choice.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and go digital and have a large enough, high-quality screen, it’s really user preference whether or not you want to convert. Additionally, comic book companies have made it possible to scan your current comic collection onto your computer. There are different file sizes you can use depending on the quality you want, but after it’s uploaded, you have a portable version that you can use as a backup.

Also, due to the popularity of digital comic books, publishers often release digital copies of comic books at the same time as print copies. Pricing is usually about the same, but you can get your comic book on the day it comes out no matter what option you use.

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