Monday, December 06, 2010

Paying For Free Content

I've been thinking about this topic for a while now - supporting those that offer free content.

Webcomics are an excellent example - we, the readers, are given free content that we enjoy and in return are asked to support the creator. The most obvious method is to buy books or merchandise - but how many of us actually do? Some of my favourite webcomics (PVP, Penny Arcade, Looking For Group) all offer collections of the comics for sale, but I only own the PVP Awesomology.

But why is this? My knee-jerk reaction is that (as someone in Canada) we usually have to pay a gross amount for shipping. But LFG is in Canada! I could buy the books at a local book or comic store (or online) but I prefer to buy directly from the creator. I bought The Awesomology from Scott Kurtz at Emerald City Comic Con and had him sign and draw in it. I think the creator makes more money from the sale that way, but I don't know for sure. So in the end I buy nothing?!

There's also the concept of value for money. Scott Sigler (our Future Dark Overlord) has just released The Rookie and The Starter on eBook - each is priced at $7.99; I struggle with the price of eBooks. Part of me thinks they should be under $5 given there are no printing or shipping costs, yet the trend is for people to only buy an eBook version so the creator certainly should be paid appropriately.

To tie this back to the title of this post, Scott has released The Rookie as a free podiobook series, and The Starter free podiobook will start in February 2011. So I could wait until February and listen for free, or I could get off my ass and support a creator whose works I enjoy.


  1. The honest struggle I have with ebooks, is that I like to have the potential to sell off any of my possessions once I no longer need them, but with digital material you don't have that option.
    Yeah, but we for sure need to be supporting creative people brave enough to step out and do their own thing! Especially when they are nice enough to share it with us for minimal cost...

  2. I've bought a few books from web comic artists. I actually still prefer to read them in book form especially from LFG peoples. I find it easiest to buy things from convention or canadian artists.

    I've also occasionally just clicked the donate button.

  3. Good point elzcomyns - I also like to be able to sell/give away when I am done. As well with digital only what happens when you have a hardware failure? Some places keep a record and allow you to re-download, others do not.

    halkeye - I plan on going a bit crazy at Emerald City Comic Con this year, to soothe my guilt :-)