A look at Comic book piracy

By Robert “Rob Base” Greenwood

Comic book piracy

Before anyone bashes this article let me just say. Piracy and theft of copyrighted material is a crime and is not something that should be supported.

Now that the formalities are over,lets talk about the music business for a second. Since the whole piracy issue really affected them the hardest.

Back in the early 80s cassette tapes brought on new dimensions of listening pleasures and with that the first true modern advent of ”piracy” took hold.

But as far back as I could remember we still purchased the record or tape no problem. Sales grew ten folds as new genres of music paved it’s way across the air waves. Even with this knowledge labels screamed abuse due to blank audio cassette tapes and the creation of the ”mix” tape.

Yet rock stars still flew private jets and rap stars still sold out arenas. So years pass and the next big thing took hold, it was called the compact disc. The CD created new level of sound and listening euphoria.

This new age of enlightenment was dubbed  the “Computer Age” and with it came the dawn of coping disc to share across the Internet via file sharing sites. This spurred much debate. On top of everything else sales started to slump, keep in mind that these sales slumps weren’t across the board and music stores still existed.

So what changed?

Why was the music business hit so hard? There are many theories out there but never fully touched on this subject.

Supply and demand.

The high cost of music production be it in the realm of sales or R &D. Pay checks to Execs who for the most part do nothing. Walk into any real record label I dare you! you will find that they have a ton of low paid people who know their stuff and the Execs are never in their office , they party on money racked in by the performers.

Cd sales dropped so what did the music stores do ? Raised the price of a cd. The average price of a cd was 11 bucks and here’s the thing , we all buy blank cd’s to do many a task and we know how cheap it is. 32 cents per disk even less now and it costs roughly 10 cents for a case. So, the real question is why? Why is a cd with 12 songs costing 15 to 22 bucks?

The lovely little term ”overhead”. Instead of knocking down the price of a cd, they raised it to keep their personal bankrolls stable.

Invention of the Internet will always bring Good and bad things. On to the subject at hand comic books. Unlike CDs which retain no value or have little collect – ability. Comics have always been a market based on a collector,who wish to read the comic and collect the book.

Artist and publishers can blame piracy for the down fall of comics but the truth is comics created the downfall themselves.

With the creation of image comics and companies relying on hyperactive art over substance and the ”chase” cover. Comics slowly sealed their own doom. Plus the ever raising price in a modern market place is another factor.

No kid will spend 5 bucks on a 32 page comic with 6 pages of advertising. Comic books have been on a rise due to better stories and better art. Yes people pirate comics. So the question how do you stop it?

Piracy is created out of a lack of money or the lack of willingness to commit to a product. People are willing to spend money if the price is right. Yet understand that Comics and all printed medium fight for that 32%. (All printed media are fighting for less than 40% of all consumers. This was from a consumer report from 2011)

If it’s free they will read. I want a comic artist nowadays to tell me they buy CDs!

Ask anyone if they buy music and they will say “Oh I download and buy from apple or amazon.” Well good for you, I do the same for comics. make it worth while and I will buy.

In the end piracy will always be there. Nothing can truly stop it nor completely control it.

On the subject of digital comic books the price is still a bit high but on any given day Comixology has 99 cent deals. In the end, if you want and enjoy these comics buy some.