A few weeks back Amazon announced that they had acquired Comixology. What this meant for digital comic readers was unclear, but the comments from both companies seemed positive.
Thanks Ryan3178 for pulling these quotes;
“ComiXology’s mission is to spread the love of comics and graphic novels in all forms,” said David Steinberger, co-founder and CEO of comiXology. “There is no better home for comiXology than Amazon to see this vision through. Working together, we look to accelerate a new age for comic books and graphic novels.”
“Amazon and comiXology share a passion for reinventing reading in a digital world,” said David Naggar, Amazon Vice President, Content Acquisition and Independent Publishing. “We’ve long admired the passion comiXology brings to changing the way we buy and read comics and graphic novels. We look forward to investing in the business, growing the team, and together, bringing comics and graphic novels to even more readers.”
This weekend however has revealed a further development. Users received an E-Mail from Comixology inviting them to download a new App, and enjoy a $5 dollar giftcard for Comixology.com.
It encouraged users to spend this credit at their website, instead of an in-app purchase. The reason for this quickly became apparent, as this function is no longer available on the new App. This move has seen an outcry from iOS users, who have taken to Apple’s App Store to leave their thoughts. Reviewers have described the change as “massively disappointing” and an “unfortunate downgrade”, while the new App, currently, has a rating of only 1.5 out of 5.
Many comic professionals have taken to Twitter to share their views;
“Comixology just took a HUGE step backward for digital comics. This will hurt every publisher” – Gerry Conway
Comixology is only “tablet friendly” now in that it gives one a headache – Paul Cornell
However the Superior Foes writer, Nick Spencer, views the change differently;
…[the] @comixology move will mean more money going to creators – Nick Spencer
There are certainly two sides, if not more, to this story, and how it will effect future comic sales is unclear.
On a personal note, I have to agree with Gerry Conway. I chose the digital medium for the ease of which I could browse and purchase comics, this process has now become longwinded. The technology exists for in-app purchases, and we are being denied it. I am annoyed as a consumer that my convince has been sacrificed to increase a bottom line, however I am more disappointed that Comixology and Amazon gave no warning to the change in their E-Mail when they presented the news as it felt dishonest, and has certainly changed my opinion of them.
Update: Gerry Conway has written an interesting piece, which explores the downside of this in detail.