I'm uncertain if this topic has been brought up yet, so I've decided to make a thread dedicated to its discussion. I've been thinking a lot about my monthly expenses lately and inevitably came to the conclusion that the majority of my spare money goes towards comic books. Now, I love comic books just as much as the next guy, but I think we can all agree that the price for such a small piece of entertainment (however entertaining it may be) is rather steep. I'm not here to debate that fact, however; I'm here to discuss the formats of the comic book industry itself.
I imagine trade paper-backs are a preference, right? But why? Personally, I find them a lot easier to store and are generally cheaper than their single counterparts. (Keep in mind, I mean they're cheaper if you purchase them from an online outlet, such as Amazon.) With those two points aside--and the obvious advantage of having an entire story arch in front of you without having to wait another month or two for the next part ignored--what exactly makes singles appealing? Maybe I should ask if they are at all?
Do we purchase singles because we want to get our hands on the next part of the story as quickly as possible? Or do we purchase singles because we're collectors and want to harvest the series in its pure, raw form? The more I think about it, the more I see the benefit in collecting the trade paper-backs instead. Does anyone think differently? I understand that shirking the singles hurts the industry, but is it really that selfish a desire? I'm presently on the edge of canceling all of my subscriptions and collecting the trade paper-backs instead, but I can't help but feel really, really guilty.
Also: what's your opinion on online vendors? I would love to support the small businesses and comic shops that rely on my business (and others'), but I can't help but feel like I'm being ripped off royally. I'm not even going to get into the American to Canadian conversion rates here. Does it make me a bad person to want to find entertainment at a cheaper price? I don't exactly make a lot of money, but I could afford to give said shops more business. I suppose this is really more a debate of morals, but who honestly thinks supporting Amazon over a small shop is likened to that of devil worship?
So what's everyone's opinion? I realize this wasn't as narrow a topic as I would have enjoyed it to be, but I think the two issues are inherently intertwined. Feel free to argue for otherwise.