The Case Against ComiXology

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Since 2009, ComiXology has been the preferred digital comics platform on iOS and Android devices. They made it fast, easy and secure to quickly acquire back-issues and brand new comics, even the day of release. All trends were pointing towards ComiXology remaining successful in an upward trend for the foreseeable future. Then, Amazon happened.

Earlier this year, Amazon.com acquired ComiXology, bringing it into the ever-expanding Amazon empire. Before I start on my rant, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I love Amazon.com. I visit the site on a near-daily basis, I buy several items a month from them and I even have my wedding registry set up through them. Okay, now that that’s over, let’s get into the nitty gritty of this, from my perspective.

I am a relatively new monthly comics reader. I didn’t start buying single issues until about a year after DC’s New 52 initiative started. Starting out, I went way overboard, obsessing over collecting every back-issue of the series that I was reading, including over-priced 1st issues. This went on for a few months. I spent way too much money hunting down single issues (that HAD to be first printing) to add to my collection. Eventually, I came to my senses, and realized that this was not a necessary thing. I was buying them for the thrill of the hunt. Hunting down that one single issue on eBay or at a con became a game to me, a game that I enjoyed way too much. Then, a couple of things changed. Firstly, I got engaged. Secondly, I was forced to buy a new car, and the car payments that came with that. With those events, my perspective changed. I didn’t have the money to burn on over-priced issues that I didn’t need. I wasn’t halting my collecting, but I really needed to scale back. I started this process by removing books from my pull list. Simple enough in practice. But, there are always new comics on the horizon. And there are always ongoing books that I just hadn’t discovered yet. What was I going to do if I picked up a new series around issue 12? I still want to read what happened before hand, but I didn’t want to hunt down the single issues anymore. I also didn’t want to pay DC or Marvel’s inflated graphic novel prices. The solution, came in the form of ComiXology.

ComiXology became my easy to access outlet for catching up on back issues. They were cheaper, easy to buy and required no storage space. On top of that, the high-resolution scans looked incredible on a tablet screen. I was in a comics seventh heaven. I could continue to save money, but still continue my OCD desire to read everything that came before. Then Amazon ruined all of that for me.

Before the changeover, ComiXology had a digital storefront. You could search for almost any comic and find it there. You could buy single issues, or trades, depending on the book. Once you found what you were looking for, you could use your Apple ID to quickly and easily buy books, which would immediately start downloading. After the Amazon buy-out, that storefront disappeared. Now ComiXology is a glorified pdf reader. There is no storefront, and no option for searching for comics. Now, you have to go through a separate webpage, enter your credit card number there, search for the book, (easier said that done), purchase the book, then sync your account on the website to the app on your respective device. All of this because ComiXology (read: Amazon) doesn’t want to pay for Apple’s fees. While I understand this in principle, it puts the general consumer on the outs. They added three more (annoying) steps to a process that was easy, fluid and allowed for impulse purchases.

It is hard to overstate how disappointed I am with the status of ComiXology. As a regular customer of theirs, I feel like I’ve been wronged. I will no longer be using their service, unless they bring it back to the way it was. Suck it up Amazon. Deal with Apple’s fees so that your customers can be happy about this.

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