I’ve had the flu this past week and have spent a lot of time in bed or lying on the couch feeling sorry for myself. This isn’t going to be a long post.
With all that free time I’ve been perusing my book shelves picking out books I haven’t read but wanted to get to, eventually. I’ve mentioned before there are about 200 books in my library I haven’t read, and as I read a few trade paperbacks I wondered if I stopped buying comics today how long would it take me to read not only the books I haven’t read, but reread every book I own. I could probably be fully entertained for the rest of my life with what I already have.
I was watching Little House On The Prairie recently and it hit me that people less than 100 years ago had a finite number of books available to them, rarely enough to fill one shelf, which they would read repeatedly and share with others. These were treasures, and that finite resource brought about public libraries which provided books to all for free. Really unbelievable if you give it some thought.
Unfortunately comic people are more often then not “collectors” and like to have a horde of books that are secreted away and not shared. That flies in the face of the shared knowledge concept that rose from an overall lack of wealth; we have disposable income now so we consume and consume.
How do we get back to sharing our joy of reading? Ed Campbell gave away digital codes two weeks ago in his column to share his joy in Spider-Man. Stanley Jon and Chris Howard like to read comics from their local libraries. Digital looks to be the way that everyone can share, but we’re not there yet. When we own the digital copy then we can give it away; right now we’re just paying to use, not own.
Marvel has a service that allows you to read most of their catalogue for about $5 a month, but it’s Flash based and won’t run on the most popular mobile platforms, the iPhone and iPad. If others could move to that model and adapt it to open web standards like HTML5 then we could have an incredible resource always at hand.