Wednesday, August 21, 2013

3 Ways That Digital Media Can Save You Money

When a new entertainment medium initially hits the market, the cost is usually higher than whatever the status quo happens to be: an album’s worth of legally-obtained mp3s used to cost more than a physical CD, e-books were pricey extras that had to be read on your computer, and video streaming of any kind was expensive and, in many cases, unreliable.

Obviously, all of that has changed in recent years, and the ascension of the digital realm shows no signs of stopping. In addition to its convenience and instant accessibility, many people are discovering that digital media can actually be cheaper than buying something in a store. If you’re looking to explore this new world of content with a tablet, smartphone, Roku player, Google Chromecast, or any of the multitude of streaming devices, here are 3 ways that buying digitally can save you money:

Digital Seasons Of Cable-Based Dramas Are Much Cheaper Than Buying Them On Disc

These days, there’s no shortage of premium television on offer from the cable networks: shows like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Justified, and countless others are constantly pushing the envelope of what serial dramas are capable of. In addition to having a darker, more adult tone than broadcast dramas, cable shows are frequently shorter than their more mainstream counterparts—a typical CBS drama will have a yearly total of 22-26 episodes, whereas a cable drama will produce somewhere around 13. However, if you’re looking to buy a season of cable drama on DVD or Blu-ray, you’ll find that the in-store price is usually comparable to the shows that have double the episodes per disk, not giving you a price break for something that is only half as long.

Buying the same season digitally and streaming it through Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, or several other outlets will give you a direct savings per episode. At $1.99 a piece for standard-quality television episodes on Amazon, a 13-episode run will only set you back $26—even less when there’s a season pass on offer. Compared to the $39.99 and up that you’ll pay in a store, digital is clearly the way to go.

Digital Comics Are Often Half The Price Of Hardcopies

With several blockbuster movies being made every summer that are based on a comic book script, the medium is starting to see a resurgence in mainstream popularity. Combining this new interest with the crisp, HD screens of modern tablets has led to the rise of the digital comic, making countless series and back issues instantly available at your fingertips. In addition to this massive library of offerings, back issues typically sell for $1.99 each—half the cost of picking up a current issue from your neighborhood comic store.

E-books Of New Releases Are Always Cheaper Than Hardcovers

Because of the relatively cheap cost of paperback printings (as well as a significant portion of the public still enjoying the act of buying a book in a store), trade paperbacks are usually competitively priced with their digital counterparts. However, one area where e-books are clearly the cost-effective option is with new releases of popular novels. A hardcover edition will typically set you back at least $19.99, with many books weighing in at $24.95 and beyond. E-books of recent releases are typically under a time-sensitive price markup that pushes them beyond their final price of $8-10, but even a day-one purchase will only set you back $14.99 or so. Also, this practice isn’t undertaken by every publisher—many books will have a $9.99 or less digital version available while their hardcover editions grace the shelves of a Barnes & Noble “What’s New” section.

In addition to its cost effectiveness, digital media is easy to replace or re-download, can be accessed from a variety of devices, and doesn’t need to be physically stored in a home or moved with your other belongings. There will always be a place for collectors who wish to have a physical, tangible product in their hands. But if you’re looking to save some money while still getting access to great works of art and entertainment, digital media will help you build your library on the cheap.

Author bio:

John is a blogger who still loves going to the bookstore, although he buys at least half of his books digitally now. He writes for, an Internet insurer of smartphones, tablets, PCs, and every other gadget that will let you access the expansive world of digital media.