Digital vs. Physical Comics: Which Is Better for a Collection?

Choosing whether to buy your comics physically or digitally isn’t easy, but we can help simplify it for you.

We often recommend media and products we like. If you buy anything through links on our site, we may earn a commission.

Whether you’re a fan of the superhero output from Marvel or DC or you’re looking for something more niche, there’s plenty for you in the world of comics.

When it comes time to choose how you actually buy your comics, you’re in for a tough decision: paper or digital?

Both physical and digital comics have their pros and cons, so it can be tough to pick which direction you want to lean. This gets especially tough if you’ve got a local comic shop and picking up new singles on day one is easy.

Let’s break down the debate between digital comics and physical comics and the pros and cons of each for you.

The Case for Physical Comics

There’s just something about flipping through pages that can’t be captured digitally. Even if you’re using an app like Comixology, the tactile experience is missing.

If you’re someone who buys paperback books because you like the smell, physical comics are for you.

There’s also the social aspect of physical comics. Not only can you lend them to your friends, but they can be a great way to meet people if you’ve got a local comics shop you frequent.

Physical comics aren’t much more expensive than their digital counterparts, and picking up new comics at your local shop can be as enjoyable as actually reading them.

The final thing to ask yourself is whether you’re buying comics to read them or you’re buying them to collect them.

If you have more of a collector’s mindset, your decision is already made for you, as there’s no value in collecting digital comics other than that you’ll have them to read.

Keep in mind, however, that even comics as old as the 1980s or 1990s often have very little value.

Why? Because people started seeing old comics sell for massive sums and figured they’d collect new issues in the hope that they’d someday be worth something. This is why everyone and their brother has a copy of The Death of Superman.

The Case for Digital Comics

If you’re a minimalist, you might not enjoy the longboxes filled with comics that will eventually start piling up if you’re buying physical comics.

With digital comics, you can have a massive collection that is only as large as the iPad, Android Tablet, or Kindle you use to read them.

If you don’t live near a local comic shop, getting new issues in paper can either mean a long drive or ordering them online.

Both of these increase the overall cost of buying your comics. They also mean that you may not get to read new comics when they’re first out unless you make a long drive a few times per week.

comiXology Unlimited offers unlimited reading access to a massive library of digital comics, manga, and graphic novels. Try it out for FREE for 30 days!

When you look at the cost of a digital comic and its paper counterpoint, you might wonder why the prices are so close.

Digital comics aren’t cheap on day one, but you can offset this will sales. Sites like Comixology often bundle several issues for the price of one, not to mention digital trades.

You also have subscription services like Marvel Unlimited, DC Universe, and Comixology Unlimited where you get access to a wide range of comics for a small monthly fee.

Why Not Both?

Nobody ever said you had to pick one or the other. For example, there are plenty of people who buy digital single issues but prefer to buy trade paperbacks for collections. This gives you the best of both worlds and won’t start eating up space too quickly.

This works if you’re a collector as well, since you can stick to digital for the comics you want to read. Meanwhile, issues you’re collecting can stay safely bagged and boarded. When you want to read a classic issue, turn to digital.

Start Growing Your Comic Collection

When it comes to comics, there are more decisions to make than whether you’re buying physical or digital comics. If you’re just getting into comics or you’re looking to get more into them, there is plenty to consider.

Japanese Anime & Manga Genres

We all know what fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and thriller mean. But anime and manga go beyond that, and there are all kinds of Japanese genre names that might perplex you.

Maybe you already understand what shonen and shoujo are all about. But what about isekai? What exactly does slice of life entail? What’s the difference between ecchi and hentai? We’ve broken it down for you!

Understanding the Japanese genre names can be helpful when you want to find more anime to watch and manga to read. Download the printable PDF below and pin it on your wall so you always have a handy reference at hand:

Similar & Trending

The 5 Best comiXology Alternatives for Digital Comics

Want to Get Into Reading Comics? Here’s How to Get Started

The 8 Best Manga Spin-Offs Worth Reading (And Why They’re Great)

6 Awesome Light Novels and Manga Worth Reading If You Like Anime

Manga Iconography, Explained: 11 Common Symbols for Emotions

8 Tips to Save Money When Attending Anime and Comic Conventions

Why Watchmen Is the Best Graphic Novel Ever: 4 Reasons

The 10 Best Gritty and Dark Comic Books for Violent Action

The Best Green Lantern Characters From Earth, Ranked