Trade waiting is a term that many comic book fans use to describe the practice of avoiding the purchase of single issues of a comic with the intention of purchasing the collected edition instead. This is common practice as among readers and is often done for a variety of reasons. Finances are often the major factor, with collected editions generally being slightly cheaper per issue. Although, personal preference often comes into the mix, with some readers preferring to read a collected format.
If you are thinking about trade waiting but not quite sure if you should or not we have created a list of pros and cons that will help you make a decision.
Advantages Of Trade Waiting
- Collected editions generally work out cheaper than the sum of issues collected inside them.
- Some collections are presented in a nice hardcover edition. Some collected editions look great stored on a bookshelf.
- It is easier to store a collected edition than the same amount of single issues.
- No advertisements.
- Do not have to wait month-to-month for each part of a story.
- Popular titles such as Batman, Superman, The Walking Dead and The Avengers will not be harmed if people begin to trade wait as they generally have perpetually high sales.
- Some comics read better in a collected form.
Disadvantages Of Trade Waiting
- Some publishers (especially DC Comics) have long wait-times between the release of the single issues and the collected edition.
- Lower tier titles survive based on sales of single issues and if people are not buying them they will usually be cancelled.
- Additionally, many creator-owned titles live or die based on the difference of a few thousand copies. Multiversity Comics has a great article on the topic.
- If you regularly read comics that are in a shared universe, you feel a little out of the loop if you are not reading them a regular basis.
- There might be the possibility that you may have a story spoiled before the release of the collected edition.
- Hard to store if you do not have the bookshelf space.
Should I Trade Wait?
This is all going to depend on your situation – on a financial, storage and patience level. If you have a limited budget, trade waiting could be a practice that might work for you. This may allow you to stay within your budget and read more the comics that you are interested in. Although, if you are not a fan of waiting then trade waiting may not work for you. While some publishers (Marvel and some parts of Image) can be fast to release collected editions, others like DC Comics can be rather slow and you might be waiting for up to 9 months or more between releases. Waiting 9 months can be tough, especially if it is a comic you enjoy – would you be able to do it? Finally, what is your storage situation? Do you have the bookshelf space to store your collected editions or would storing your single issues in a box that is out of the way work better for you?
Overall, my suggestion would be to look at the pros and cons listed above and apply them to your situation. By weighing the pros and cons you should be able to make a decision that works within the context of your budget, patience and personal preferences.