Is buying from Amazon / Apple cheating?

Leef from Mission Comics and Art wrote something interesting yesterday in his post “It’s not cheating…when done right (or taking a bite out of Apple).” He talks about retail and online methods of distribution in the comic book industry. TL;DR: he notes the current disruption caused by online purchases, points to examples of digital content driving money to artists and publishers, voices some skepticism about the “digital will save the industry” trope and introduces (to me, at least) a fair way of buying comics online that still supports the local comic book shops.

The whole post, which actually isn’t TL at all, brought to mind Amazon’s recent gambit, the one where they paid people $5 to price check goods at brick and mortar stores and then buy it on Amazon. The ploy got lots of people to use the app, but it rubbed lots of folks the wrong way.

Leef calls the future of comic book distribution “complicated and messy”. True dat. If you do buy things online, try to be judicious. Is there a way reap the benefits of online purchasing while still supporting local businesses (a la Comixology)? Can online purchases be limited to items that can’t be purchased from the little guys? Buying a printer cable from Amazon as opposed to some big box store doesn’t bother LiLo too much. It’s not cheating if you buy online sparingly and with thought.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, LiLo fundamentally believes in the value that local businesses provide the community. They circulate money locally, use local vendors, decrease carbon emissions, support public services and create local character.

Yes, Amazon and ITunes are cheaper, and yes, they are convenient. But if that’s all you’re looking for, why are you living in the Mission anyway? If you want cheaper and easier, go to Emeryville or Daly City. Rent is cheaper, parking is more plentiful, local businesses are rare and Amazon ships there all the same.

One of the many benefits of living in the Mission is the amazing local businesses that are run by and for its residents. What’s the price of being in walking distance of Mission Comics and Art, a comic book store that has tons of free, snack-filled comic events (like the PUPPYKITTY opening reception this Saturday)? Buying a comic book every so often just about covers it.

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