Saturday, April 30, 2011

Torrents


There was quite the debate the other day on twitter about torrenting comics.
I believe the argument went along the lines of "If you are getting readers from torrenting then why not use it as a marketing tool?"

Now I'll state up-front that I have torrented comics. All I will say about it is that I was broke as hell and addicted as shit, and before and after that I hit my local comic shop every Wednesday. Yes, I realize I stole, but I am a very obsessive human being, and the offer was too tempting. Now I just use my library to supplement my Wednesday trips because I just really like holding the physical thing and it is free and someone somewhere gets paid for it in some miniscule amount.

Now that that is out I can continue. I believe that torrent-ing something is stealing. Yes, I do. It also happens. A lot. So I revel in the fact that there are people out there that are using it as a marketing tool. Give away your comic and people will see it and like it and possibly buy it. One thing is for certain, torrent-ing comics and other things is something that people cannot get away with forever. The internet is too regulated and is only becoming more so. Right now it has that Wild West appeal, but that will soon come to a halt for the regular populace (hackers may always roam free, just like in a good sci-fi movie). But I could be wrong in that presumption. Wi-fi rules at the moment, so who knows. I cannot predict that. So maybe torrents are here to stay?

I give away my comic for free on the web as a branding, marketing and name recognition tool, in hope that one day someone will see the comic on the stands, or have a collector habit like mine and want to own a physical copy.

To defend a little of my torrent-ing habits while I was broke, I mostly downloaded out of print and obscure comics, Marvelman, Morrison and Quitely's Flex Mentallo, and old series like Martian Manhunter and Suicide Squad. I know, stealing isn't something that is cool, but I would pick these up now that I have the money if they were out. I know Flex is coming out and I'll pick that up. I've pre-ordered Major Bummer that is getting collected under Dark Horse and that is a title I always wanted to read.

If Marvel or DC collected these titles and scanned them and gave me a great rate to download them I would probably buy them, but them sitting in virtual space and being rare and harder to find made me want to download them.

So now that I know more about the characters in question I am more likely to buy their new comics when they come out.

From a creators perspective I get wanting some money for what you are doing. Money puts the roof over your head and food on your plate, and it looks as though people that torrent are taking the food off your plate and the roof from over your head, and they are. For an indie creator who struggles to have a couple hundred or a thousand readers a month, these are marketing tools to broaden the horizon of someone stealing on the web.

Will that person eventually buy your comic? Well if I am a model of that, YES they will. But for those that torrent, here is some advice, lobby for a section that carries Graphic Novels in your library, and ask your comic companies to collect those obscure issues in digital form cheaply so that you can read them on your computer.

Anywho, never really sorted anything out here, but I never said I would,

Martin

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