In their struggle to stay relevant in the technology-obsessed 21st century, many public libraries have turned towards e-book services to keep membership levels high. Historically, comic book publishers have been slow to embrace digital reading, with Dark Horse Comics only having joined Comixology this week. However, today DC Comics began its partnership with public library e-book app Hoopla to bring select titles to subscribers around the United States.
Right now, 18 titles are available via the service, comprised of a number of collected trades including Batman: The Long Halloween, Watchmen, Superman: Red Son, Final Crisis, and The Killing Joke. In order to access these titles, you will need a local library membership at a branch that supports Hoopla. According to Engadget, Hoopla will add additional DC titles to its library each week, and there will be over 200 DC titles available for borrowing by the end of the summer. Hoopla’s digital service uses an “action view” feature akin to Comixology’s guided reading mode.
It’s great to see major comic book publishers like DC providing free access to titles and supporting local libraries. Comics are an expensive hobby, and the cost can be a major turnoff for new readers. Granting the public access to classic titles like Watchmen will hopefully expand paid comics readership in the long term. For now though, I need to get a new library card.