Amazon’s Big Comixology Changes Have Comic Creators and Fans Concerned
This week, Amazon launched a new app for its digital comics platform, Comixology, and a new Amazon-native online storefront that will eventually replace Comixology’s browser-based store and reader. But the new changes have alarmed users and creators alike.
Longtime Comixology users have taken to social media to list all the ways the new user experience across web and apps is a step back from what they’re used to. Chief among the many complaints is a new web player that doesn’t display double-page spreads correctly, removed creator credits from book listings on the storefront, and lacks both panel-by-panel and zoom functions, making the most comics in unreadable images. .
It is a disaster. The Comixology Reader is going away, so starting next week, here are my options for reading comics on the desktop. There is no two-page view. There is no zoom. I have not modified these images outside of the markup.
Witness the work of the great JH Williams III. pic.twitter.com/8rFzaOSO16
— Amy Dallen (@enthusiasm) February 12, 2022
What Amazon eviscerated from Comixology, for zero end-user gain:
– DRM free downloads
– Subscriptions outside the United States
– Reading in the browser
– LITERALLY A FULL FUNCTIONAL WEBSITE
– Probably a lot of jobs
— Jodie Troutman (@LongTallJodie) February 11, 2022
I think it’s awesome that some comic piracy sites now have more fucking features than Amazon comics now that they’re folding Comixology
— Wretched Non-Binary Candy (@_Godotto) February 11, 2022
When Amazon bought Comixology in 2014, it largely left the digital comics giant on its own, aside from eliminating in-app purchases on the platform. Comixology is unrivaled in its space, to the point of holding a virtual monopoly on access to digital comics from US publishers – it’s the primary digital store for Image Comics, BOOM Studios, and more.
The new changes also allow comic creators to meet the service halfway. British artist Jamie McKelvie reported to his followers on Twitter that under Amazon’s new changes, series subscriptions – in which digital comics are automatically purchased upon release – will only be available to US-based Comixology users. Users outside the United States will have their existing subscriptions automatically deactivated, seemingly permanently.
Smaller creators are also grappling with the recent shutdown of the Comixology Submit program in favor of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, a service designed to self-publish prose e-books. Kindle Direct requires creators to manually format all transitions between panels, and not all comics previously published through Comixology Submit have been protected in Kindle Direct. Smaller publishers should re-upload and reformat their existing Comixology back catalog to make them available on the new site and app. Kindle Direct Publishing would also offer fewer royalties to creators than Comixology Submit, a 65/35 split rather than 50/50.
Polygon has reached out to Amazon and ComiXology for comment on the new online experience and the ComiXology app, but has not received a response as of press time.