Right on the heels of being purchased by Amazon, Comixology has made a bold move. With their newest update, the popular comic book application has virtually thumbed their nose at two operating system giants. With one blow, both Apple and Google will no longer be receiving a cut from purchases made on Comixology. The decision is largely unprecedented.
Though the update does little to inconvenience Android users, those with iOS are going to have a more complex buying process from now on. In an email from Comixology today, Android users simply update to version 3.6 and re-enter a payment option. This is a one-time action. They have also added a much requested feature, a cart system. In-app purchases will no longer be through Google Play, but instead be through PayPal or a credit card.
Since in-app purchases have been completely removed, those with Apple devices will have to go to the Comixology website to make purchases. This was always an option, but now the iOS app will just serve as a comics reader. Interestingly, the process is similar to that of Amazon’s Kindle. This has led some to suspect that in the future, all Comixology purchases will be made through Amazon.
In bypassing Google and Apple protocols, Comixology is able to retain 30 percent of their sales. Though yet to be seen, the idea seems to be that this will make for greater profits for the comic creators and publishers, as well as the app developers. It has been surmised that now having retail powerhouse Amazon to back them, the fallout from this seemingly risky move has been mitigated. It is unclear just how much of a blow the Comixology decision will be to Apple and Google.
Comixology has been responsible for over 200 million comic book downloads. These are not all necessarily purchases, since they do have an impressive free comics selection. However, this is still a significant number. Some have even called them the iTunes of the comic book world. With their new alliance with Amazon, that reach could be extended even further.
At a recent discussion facilitated by ComicsAlliance, industry insiders suspected that the purchase of Comixology by Amazon would inevitably lead to Apple being cut out of the picture. Whether by design, or merely serendipitous timing, that is exactly what happened. The participants also agreed however that anything that brings readers and comic books, digital or print, together should be welcome news to the creators and publishers. There has long been a gap between consumer and producer caused by a complex and often convoluted system of production and distribution. Pricing has also been a point of contention.
With the advent of digital comics, these problems have simply been digitized. What is great about Comixology is that consumers can go to one place and find just about any comic they are seeking. It is hoped that the new purchase formatting will not add to the gap. In the end, it may not be Apple and Google taking a blow from Comixology, but the consumers.
by Stacy Lamy