The digital comic book platform, recently acquired by Amazon, has removed the ability to make in-app purchases of books from the iOS and changed the pay setup on Android versions of its popular App. So is this gambit by the retailer worth it, or did they just set e-comics back a good deal?
Very recently we reported on the fact that comiXology was purchased by Amazon. The details of the buyout are still foggy, meaning no sum has been revealed, but the effects are already being felt. As of right now, the App itself has been updated to cut out any and all in-app purchases made on the iOS version (and even versions that haven’t been updated) and has been altered as to the the payment method on the Android edition. The idea is to avoid the 30% off the top that the two companies take as a right of doing business using their payment methods.
As a result you’ll no longer be able to pay for your comics through Google Play on Android platforms, but will instead have to pony up via your PayPal account. It’s a small inconvenience for Android users of the service, but a huge one for iPad owners. Apple readers now have to buy their books through the online comiXology storefront and then sync those comics to the App. It might not sound like a ton of extra work (and it really isn’t, generally speaking), but as a user of the App and an Apple iPad owner myself, I can say that it’s more than a little off-putting for me.
That’s especially true since I prefer reading comics the old-fashioned way anyway (paper, please), and this even further makes me want to avoid the digital side of things. Just how many of the other i-readers out there feel similarly remains to be seen, but I have to imagine there’ll be a dent at least in sales on the service. In an age where many comic companies have gone all-out with digital with day-and-date releases both physically and digitally, and have even tailored some books to the platform, it would be a serious shame to see the business take a step backwards.
For their part, comiXology says that the change in policy will get more money from sales into the hands of the creators of the comics themselves, which is great, though CNET points out in their piece about the move that that that could backfire since indeed, sales might drop. At the very least, it should be interesting to see how this all plays out.
For users, one bright point is that, if you’re comiXology account holder right now, the company has a special $5 credit for you as a way of easing the transition. It’s a nice gesture and one that’ll probably make some readers very happy indeed. Stay tuned, lots more to come on this one.