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Posted by No_name_here (1247 posts) - - Show Bio
 Objectively, a long box isn't as sexy...

WarChild and the Dark Huntress both asked me if it’s better to collect trades or singles on the thread I set up. If any of you maniacs have a comics-related question you want me to answer here, ask it there and I’ll get around to it.

I prefer to call individual comics "singles" because it’s kind-of equatable to music (“pamphlets” always sounded a little belittling and “monthlies” sounds like something you need to shop at CVS to take care of.) Anyway, this seems to be the way the wind is blowing with entertainment, in general. Swap the relevant nouns and the discussion’s basically the same as the one Rorie tackled a few weeks ago on Screened about whether it’s better to watch a TV show week-to-week or “marathon it” once the seasonal box set comes out. People opting out of watching a movie in theaters because they’re planning to get the DVD would be the same deal, too. == TEASER ==

 ...as a book shelf stocked with trades.

As a reader, you face trade-offs with both. If you get the singles, you get the great community experience of debating how a story’s going to develop with friends. It's just a lot of fun to speculate on how a cliffhanger's going to play out for a month. Then again, it can get kind of tiresome to get a story in chopped-up morsels when you already know you want the whole thing. If you only get trades, you're going to get everything in a tight, slick package, but you're going to have to cover your eyes and ears for months to avoid the spoilers as the singles-readers chat the book up in the meantime. There's also the thorny issue of the publisher possibly not collecting a trade if the singles' sales are low.

On my end, HYBRID BASTARDS! was serialized originally, but it made much more of an impression as a hardcover collection. The content was the same, but the package made it seem more respectable to people (and much of that had to do with Archaia's super slick presentation.) My next comic, UNIMAGINABLE, was designed to be a three issue mini-series, but Arcana’s opted to release it all at once next month as OGN - - and it’s a choice I agree with. Readers will get the complete story in one go - - in a concentrated shot - - instead of it being needlessly spread-out. 

As a creator, I've yet to write a comic specifically designed to be an OGN yet. My only concern is that, once you soften space constraints, you might be less disciplined about keeping the comic tight and concise. However, I do think there's a tremendous benefit to treating the story holistically and getting to revise it before it's released (instead of being stuck to what you did in each part while you were meeting deadlines.)

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here  &   here.  Follow him on Twitter:  @tompinchuk

#1 Posted by ReverseNegative (2974 posts) - - Show Bio

I prefer trades. They're more durable.

#2 Edited by Adam Michaels (483 posts) - - Show Bio

I have never been big on singles. The only singles issues I make an effort to purchase are milestone ones like a #400-500-600 and so forth. Other than that, I always, ALWAYS, go for the collected edition. I generally prefer the hardcovers than the soft ones, but I'm not too picky concerning that. 
I'm not patient enough to read it in pieces. It's like a novel. I can't read Chapter One and then wait a month for Chapter Two. I want the entire story in my hands and I'll read it at my own pace. I follow the same principle for comics. 
Not to mention I can read a single issue in 10-15 minutes give or take, depending on how much attention I give each panel. So it really comes down to me not wanting to wait 30 days to read for less than 20 minutes.

#3 Posted by longbowhunter (8469 posts) - - Show Bio

Trades have alot going for them. Price, durabitly, no ads, etc. But I just hate waiting for 'em. That being said I have about 200 trades on a bookshelf in my bedroom right next to 12 longboxes. I buy both.
#4 Posted by MatKrenz (1513 posts) - - Show Bio

I read the singles because it give's me time speculate on what's going to happen next month or next week.Now let's say I want an older series then obviously I would go get the trades since it will take less space.But it kinda susck since I really want to read the whole "Agent X" series but for some reason Marvel hasn't released it in trade yet,I mean this year was the Deadpool boom,I would imagine they would release as much as they could relating to the guy.
#5 Posted by Icon (2233 posts) - - Show Bio

Trades: more affordable for collecting, each story is presented as a whole (as opposed to single chapters/issues) in a more durable form, there are no ads within the pages, and they often come with extra features like artist sketches, reprinted issues, galleries/portfolios, etc. 
The only downside is having to wait for a series to come out in trade form, but for some series there isn't much of a wait any more these days (if you get single issues you're always waiting a month or so for the next chapter anyway). 

#6 Posted by Dipic (132 posts) - - Show Bio

I trade wait ALL my books. The waiting part really does suck, especially when you are looking for a paperback and have to wait nearly a year sometimes for a book that is first released as a hardcover (which seems to be more and more these days, unfortunately... I mean, why is Streets of Gotham released in HC? Red Robin, Batgirl, even "Batman" (collected issues of 'Tec or what not) are released in soft.)
Waiting forever for Green Lantern books to come to softcover really, really sucks. Can you believe the Agent Orange arc only just recently became a softcover?
But, for a multitude of reasons, I don't nor ever plan to pick up singles, so patient is what I will have to be.

#7 Posted by CrimsonInuTears (697 posts) - - Show Bio

I like singles better, but sometimes trades are just easier than tryin to find that 1 single ya missin an is not in any store round ya. Though I own a number of singles from trades I own too, so really, not picky, just like to have~  
Though huge pluses singles come out faster than trades, an scan much much easier~ ^_^

#8 Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir (19148 posts) - - Show Bio

I like the floppies, but because of them I also need to buy boards and bags. Trades, I can just put them on the bookshelf

#9 Posted by chalkshark (1241 posts) - - Show Bio

I 'll always be a singles man. I prefer living in the  now, & experiencing all the various forms of media I enjoy, as it is happening. Especially with comics. Events are occurring so quickly in so many different titles, that by the time a particular story hits the trades.... assuming it ever actually does.... it just reads like reprint material, as it's relevancy is largely gone.

#10 Posted by haydenclaireheroes (10316 posts) - - Show Bio

I like both 

#11 Posted by N7_Normandy (2504 posts) - - Show Bio

I enjoy both.  Singles for current stuff and trades for older stuff

#12 Posted by Morbus (72 posts) - - Show Bio

I buy both, personally. For titles that I KNOW will have a trade (most Vertigo titles), I'll wait for the trades. For titles that that PROBABLY WON'T have trades, I buy the singles. For DC and Marvel comics, I almost always buy both - singles because Not Every Comic is wrapped up in a trade (Batman, Superman, etc), and trades because only the "best" stories become trades, and a reread of them in one sitting is more enjoyable. 
Like @longbowhunter, I keep both my trades and longboxes near to each other, but I have so many trades that they no longer all fit on a bookshelf (like the one pictured in this post), so I actually have a few longboxes devoted to just-trades too ;)

#13 Posted by goosehorn (848 posts) - - Show Bio

trades for me i like all the extras that come with most ..from time to time i pick up singles only if i see an artist i like or if a cover catches my eye

#14 Posted by never_again (48 posts) - - Show Bio

I used to collect trades because I live in England, so are much easier to get hold of. But a few years ago I found a comic book shop locally so I  now get all of my books in singles.  
There is nothing more satisfying then searching though my boxes of bagged and boarded comics looking at individual comic covers deciding what to read. I will never buy all my trades in single form ( they are on a book case in my room) as it will cost way to much but I am a single man now and always will be (probably in every sense of the term)
#15 Posted by iloverobots (466 posts) - - Show Bio

Both for me. 
Some series I picked up a bit late, so got the first couple of trades then switched to singles (Chew would be one of those). Other series I stick to trades (such as Invincible and The Walking Dead). As for the DC stuff I stick to singles for the main stuff, but buy trades once in a while, especially for popular story lines (ie. I didn't buy any blackest night singles, waited for the trades/hardcovers)

#16 Posted by jakob187 (1030 posts) - - Show Bio

I typically go with trades if it's a very self-contained story.  Northlanders is a perfect example of something that is an ongoing series, yet it's also something that holds self-contained stories within each five or six issues.  Those are something I pick up in trade rather than singles. 
However, Superman and Batman is something where picking it up monthly makes sense. 
The middle portion is stuff like Daytripper or Joe The Barbarian, even the Oz stuff by Shanower and young, where it's a limited series that would work great in collected form but you'll more than likely want to pick up month-by-month.

#17 Posted by GothamBat (652 posts) - - Show Bio
@Adam Michaels said:

I have never been big on singles. The only singles issues I make an effort to purchase are milestone ones like a #400-500-600 and so forth. Other than that, I always, ALWAYS, go for the collected edition. I generally prefer the hardcovers than the soft ones, but I'm not too picky concerning that. 
I'm not patient enough to read it in pieces. It's like a novel. I can't read Chapter One and then wait a month for Chapter Two. I want the entire story in my hands and I'll read it at my own pace. I follow the same principle for comics. 
Not to mention I can read a single issue in 10-15 minutes give or take, depending on how much attention I give each panel. So it really comes down to me not wanting to wait 30 days to read for less than 20 minutes.

I'm the same way. I wait for the bigger story lines, like Blackest Night and Final Crisis, to come out in trade.
#18 Edited by rlmay3 (273 posts) - - Show Bio

I really should just wait for trades, but the singles just have a hold on me. I NEED to know what's happening!!!! But trades have a lot going for them as far as longevity, space-saving, not to mention saving money... It's just the damn waiting.
When I do buy trades, it's usually to fill in larger gaps I've missed or to check out storylines/characters that have been recommended to me that i really don't want to subscribe to or read regularly.

#19 Posted by jamdown (301 posts) - - Show Bio

people call comicbooks pamphlets???
#20 Posted by BradBrains (115 posts) - - Show Bio

im too impatient to wait for trades buy do buy them for stuff i missed or want to experience. being a newer comic reader its been a good balance. read the current ongoings and i always have a few trades to read when im done. 

#21 Posted by Om1kron (1219 posts) - - Show Bio

trades for the most part aren't littered with ADS!!! I see them as a premium membership. They're also great for series I may have missed or dropped without having to scourge the earth to pick up 20 back copies of a book to find out 3 of them were limited print/special edition/one time only 10-20 dollar collector additions.  
I just ordered The X-Cutioners Song trade paperback, I was following this storyline in xmen back in 1995 when I was actively collecting but I just got into so many other titles I stopped reading xmen or had no interest in picking up xforce. ETC.  
Episodically to keep the story tight is good discipline for writers and artists, we all saw how long it took Travis Charest to do WildCats and Xmen. And because he had the whole thing on his plate at once he didn't even come close to finishing Metabarons. Even regrets it too.  
It's just good to stay short and simple, if you can imagine the strain it puts on a writer to come up with something on a deadline, just imagine how it is for an artist to pump out 27 pieces of art monthly while still maintaining a shred of their dignity by making everything exceptional quality. 

#22 Posted by JairamGanpat (1009 posts) - - Show Bio

I decide whether to but singles or trades based on priority. 
If its a number one priority I will buy singles because I can't wait. (ex. Green Lantern)
If it isn't a priority, I'll trade wait. (ex. Spiderman, Haunt, Batman)

#23 Posted by Mighty Thorion (918 posts) - - Show Bio

Trades are a last resort to me - or something I occasionally pick up if I'm not a big supporter of a particular series. I am a Comic Collector - not a TPB collector.

#24 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3606 posts) - - Show Bio

I greatly prefer just waiting for trades. I don't see the point in buying both the individual issue then the trade. You are buying the same thing twice.
There are also the times that they spread a story out into so many comics. It's impossible to get the whole story unless you buy every single issue. Doing that is more than likely cost you far more than buying the trade.
Some stories even just read better when it's all together. 
Mangas are sold in Japan either in weekly or monthly magazines. Only later are individual magas released as volume collections. The major source in the US is mainly the whole volumes.

#25 Posted by -Eclipse- (7650 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm mostly a 'singles' guy, partly because I like the experience of going to get my comics once a month, partly because I can afford it (we'll see if I still feel that way in a year's time, lol) and mostly because I don't want to wait. Especially for DC. I got back into Red Robin and wanted to get the trade to catch up, but I had to wait MONTHS. So for the first few issues of Red Robin, there were a few things that confused me. Marvel are generally pretty good at releasing their trades at the 'jumping on' points, but DC? Not so much. 
I generally buy trades for two reasons. One, if it's a major storyline that I missed (like Civil War, Battle for the Cowl and a trade I have collecting the original Venom storyline) but mostly if I want to catch up with a series, or want a taster of that series to see if it's worth catching up. They're also more feasable as Christmas/Birthday presents from my parents, lol... I've got trades collecting the first issues of Invincible Iron Man and Captain America for this reason and might get more eventually. Immortal Iron Fist is something I have mostly through trades, the only singles I have from that are the crappier ones once the creative team left. I'm currently catching up with Invincible via the 'Ultimate Collection' trades and I should be fully caught up soon, but once I am I'll definitely be picking up the singles. 
I'm also considering picking up the Walking Dead trades. I can see that series being something that is a good read, but not something I would be so desperate to read that I wouldn't be able to wait more than a month.

#26 Posted by THALASTDRAGON (383 posts) - - Show Bio

gimme tha floppies.  i only get trades for questionable stories, and even then if i really like it, i'll try to find tha indy issues, kinda like what im doin for 'umbrella academy'.  i just love havin tha individual issues.  i never even started collecting trades til sometime last year.  i volunteered at a wizard convention and we got a bunch of books among other stuff.  then i joined borders rewards, and those 33% coupons helped increase my tpb, hc, and gn collection.
#27 Posted by Mainline (1157 posts) - - Show Bio

One tangential note... creators signing works seem to be more appreciative if you present them with a hardcover edition of their work rather than a periodical if only because it means you enjoyed it above and beyond the investment into a single issue and, perhaps, because they see royalties off of the trade editions.

#28 Posted by dewboy01 (2362 posts) - - Show Bio

that's what I ve been doing sometimes/ all the time: selling limited running series for graphic novels, but I don't like the ones with mix issues.
#29 Posted by shawn87 (2796 posts) - - Show Bio

trades only for me

#30 Posted by cbishop (8741 posts) - - Show Bio

I used to get both, but currently don't have the fun money for either.  I think when I have fun money again though, I will probably gravitate to the TPB's.  There's only a couple of titles I want issue-by-issue.  Overall, I think the industry should go to numbered OGN as a standard.

#31 Posted by GothamRed (2615 posts) - - Show Bio

Personally I like trades because they are easier to keep track of and are more organized

#32 Posted by Bobafeet (5 posts) - - Show Bio

I actually collect both. Which is really weird, I know, but my friends and I swap books to read so I'd rather just give them a trade than the singles.

#33 Posted by Ry Fryy (375 posts) - - Show Bio

Trades, baby.  Specifically hardcover.

#34 Posted by Girth (1053 posts) - - Show Bio

Trades are more durable and are easier to organize. They are more money, but I think they are worth it.

#35 Posted by zombietag (1612 posts) - - Show Bio

i like miniseries in trades and single issues for ongoing series. i mean how cool is it to have 100 issues of ASM all nice and in order? ill tell you its way cooler than having the random trades. 
stuff like walking dead is cool for trades though. or y the last man. 
but single issues are cool too just because of value in the future. even if you if you dont plan on selling them, its cool to check on ebay and see the values gone up for big issues. 
but in the end it kind of just depends on how much i want the series when it comes out and how much stuff costs. if im not really excited about it, im totally okay with buying the trade later used on amazon or stuff like that. ive gotten a ton of trades through ebay or amazon for like $4.

#36 Posted by ecm1285 (100 posts) - - Show Bio

I'll get the single issues of the series that are out right now.  However, if it's something older, I'll probably get the trade.  It just makes it easier so I don't have to go find each individual issue...

#37 Edited by Danial79 (2515 posts) - - Show Bio

I only buy trades. As I've mentioned in other threads, buying singles, to me, is like buying a novel one chapter at a time. I like reading a complete story. Having to wait a week for a TV show is hard enough, let alone a whole month for a comic.
Also, on a tactile note, I much prefer the solidity of a trade in my hand when reading.

#38 Posted by comicbikerscott (152 posts) - - Show Bio

i read both trades and singles but i got a marvel comics unlimited account its mostly siongles and a grapchly account and a comixlogy account so it's a mix of both but its all digital i think there are more singles.
#39 Posted by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge (1362 posts) - - Show Bio
@haydenclaireheroes said:
" I like both  "
Same here. With trade paperbacks you have a whole (or a half of) a story from many single issues from past years/decades. Singles on the other hand have a better quality because they are not collected like a trade, and stand out as unique. For example, who here has a trade paperback of DC/Milestone crossover "WORLD'S COLLIDE" or "AMETHYST - PRINCESS OF GEMWORLD"? DC hasn't even never done a trade paperback on these titles as the remain singles and have to go to comic book shops and/or conventions and buy each issue....
#40 Edited by bobtv (86 posts) - - Show Bio

I collect singles of the best titles the distribution brings to my country ( which is not that much), and the things that i like but don't arrive here I wait for trade and order it (in softcover, which mean, more waiting time).
The thing I hate here is that sometimes as a mayor drawback in the singles department, some titles are not consistent, here they skiped THE FLASH one month (got #2 and #4, no #3) and # 5 to this day hasn't arrived. and they skiped Red Robin #11 (which luckily I found online and ordered "in a flash") and lest not talk about spidey, which from the 3 issues per month, since I started reading again, only brought the first and the third, skiping the secon, EVERY MONTH! I just dropped it already and waiting for the trade.

#41 Posted by ComicCrazy (1640 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm more of a trade guy mostly because I love reading one full story, its always cheaper, reading comics issue by issue and following any particular series is absolutely impossible around here so Trades it is for me.
#42 Posted by staceydillon (59 posts) - - Show Bio

I started with a trade but then got way into it so I couldn't wait for the trade to come out I had to buy singles. But the pro of trades is if I want to read an older story line I can find 4 trades easier then 16 comics.

#43 Posted by gordocomics (126 posts) - - Show Bio

i started out with trades, mostly of books that weren't current. eventually i tried catching up to the current storylines by reading more recent trades (when i knew dark reign was going on but wasn't reading any of it, i got secret invasion.) then i gradually started buying single back issues around siege/heroic age i really got into the current stuff and since then ive been getting more and more subscriptions. Along the way i read up on stuff on the marvel website and on comicvine. I actually spent more time reading about comics/characters than actually reading comics. This worked really well for me and i recommend this process to new readers. I still occasionally buy trades but like i said im more into current stuff. Both trades and singles are great for different stages of comic book fandom.

#44 Posted by Bergquist (794 posts) - - Show Bio

"Single" are for collecting
  Trades or paperbacks are for reading   and you can get them at the library
trades don't go up in value most of the time @Icon:

#45 Posted by foxglove (80 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd prefer to buy singles, but I don't have regular access to a comic shop, so I've found myself indulging in trades to support my favorite series. While I don't think I'd ever be comfortable lending out a series if I had clean bagged and boarded issues, I share my trades like it's my job.  I like being able to put the title right into my friends hands and force them to fall in love with it too. 

#46 Posted by Icon (2233 posts) - - Show Bio
@bergquist: Anything can be for collecting really, but if you're collecting for the value of the comics than obviously you have to go with single issues. So I agree, but the article specifically asks us which we prefer to "collect" - single issues or trades. And I said I collect them in trades simply because that is how I follow a series. I do however have some valuable single issues. 
Anyway, if one really wants his or her collection to be valuable than they would have to do their homework and find valuable issues. Following a series today, issue by issue, isn't likely going to give you any value. The vast majority of issues released each week regardless of series will never be worth more than their cover price so it makes no sense to collect a series for that reason alone. 
#47 Posted by Demonturtle (571 posts) - - Show Bio

Ive tried to collect the trades of books that I dont get on a regular basis
#48 Posted by GraphicCasualFreak (347 posts) - - Show Bio

Considering the current state of the comic market, I'm feeling trades are going to be the way to go.

#49 Posted by Silkcuts (6040 posts) - - Show Bio

I believe there needs to be a balance of it.  Trades are nice because they read all collected and what not, but if monthly sales are low, it hurts the series.  This is Vertigo's problem and what did Wildstorm in.  Most Vertigo fans trade wait and only the high profile series tend to survive like Unwritten, while Greek Street didn't even get a chance for the 2nd trade to improve fan support.
I find myself being reverse of the superhero readers, I am going more to trades with superhero stuff since it doesn't need my support and things I feel need the support I look into.
One thing I like about "singles", I may never use Pamphlet again because of this well written article. Is that something like Grant Morrison's Return of Bruce Wayne it was easier to dissect it and look for all the symbols with all six at hands reach.  My single issue reviews came out the way they did because the singles allowed me to open more then one issue at a time and see the parallels.  The trade I am sure would read nicely as well, but some things I would of missed like how the writing on the cave walls in issues #1 and 3 are almost the same pages.
It is about the balance.  Some things read nice in trade, some read nice in singles.

#50 Posted by Fantasgasmic (1092 posts) - - Show Bio

Trades. In paperback. Who wastes money on hardcovers? Dusty old farts, that's who (hence, the dust covers).