comiXology has been called the “iTunes of comic books.” It was the highest grossing non-game app in 2013. Recently Amazon acquired the popular digital comic app. This weekend, users received an email requesting a new app download that would change the way comics are purchased. Without actually coming out and saying it, Amazon has avoided Apple’s in-app fee by requiring purchased to be made directly from the comiXology website, instead of within the app.
The email states that the old app is being retired and users are encouraged to sync in-app purchases to their comiXology account in the old app using the Restore button. Then, after downloading the new app, users can, “Start shopping on comixology.com. New purchases will appear in the ‘In Cloud’ tab in our new app.”
Users can no longer make any purchases within the new or old ComiXology app. All purchases must now be made directly from the website.
This service is similar to Amazon’s Kindle iOS app. Users visit the website to purchase books, which are then transferred to the designated account. You can then open the app to see your books and download them from the company’s cloud storage.
This new way of purchasing books has already had a negative effect on the comiXology brand, as evident of the 1.5-star rating the app now has in the App Store. User reviews accuse the company of being greedy, having a “hostile” attitude toward customers, and not caring about their customer-base.
Although the initial impression is negative, it will not likely affect the financial bottom line too much. If I know anything about comic collectors, its that they like to complain, but don’t like to do much to change it. Plus, comiXology is the largest carrier of digital comics for iOS. You can still buy comics directly from within the app through Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, and Image Comics, as well as many others. However, comiXology was good for storing all different distributor titles in one place. No other general digital comic app (like Comics Plus) includes the plethora of titles from DC and Marvel.