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Amazon acquires digital comic provider comiXology

DC Comics

Amazon has announced that it is acquiring digital comics platform comiXology for an undisclosed amount of money. Rising as a leader in digital comic distribution, comiXology is well known as one of the go-to places for comics across a variety of platforms. David Steinberger, CEO of comiXology, had this to say:

“ComiXology’s mission is to spread the love of comics and graphic novels in all forms. There is no better home for comiXology than Amazon to see this vision through. Working together, we look to accelerate a new age for comic books and graphic novels.”

For the other side, Amazon released this statement from David Naggar, Amazon Vice President, Content Acquisition and Independent Publishing:

“Amazon and comiXology share a passion for reinventing reading in a digital world. We’ve long admired the passion comiXology brings to changing the way we buy and read comics and graphic novels. We look forward to investing in the business, growing the team, and together, bringing comics and graphic novels to even more readers.”

It isn't entirely clear how (or if) Amazon will integrate comiXology into its own catalog going forward, but this is a deal that clearly makes sense as Amazon grows its digital content library even further.

Source: Amazon; comiXology

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Comments

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vakama94 says:

If that means I'm getting comics here in Mexico or more comics in the US store, then sign me in too

A great service, but no WP8 app is a major let down. Especially since they used to have a WP7 app o_O

AriesDog says:

Technically that was just a DC Comics app (backend by Comixology) that they reluctantly released because DC insisted under contract. They didn't support it and discontinued it as soon as they could. The CEO is very pro Apple.

I emailed them about six months ago about a WP8 App or any status on a WP8 App.  I got an amazingly RUDE email from their customer support. It was so out there, my jaw dropped. Needless to say, I quite using their service.

 

Let's hope that Amazon is a bit better about customer support and also hope that with Universal Apps they offer a WP8 App.

If that means getting a half decent ComiXology app... great

theefman says:

Judging by the kindle apps on WP and Windows 8, not likely to happen.

Stevied1991 says:

I use the WP and Windows 8 versions of Kindle all the time with no issues.

STXVI says:

I agree. Actually one of the best apps on my phone. I'm hoping that with the Comixology purchase, comics will now be purchase through Amazon and viewed using Kindle.

HeavyHanded says:

Nope. This means Kindle, Android and iOS will get awesome comixology apps. Windows apps won't be updated and Windows Phone won't get shite.

Kormiko says:

Two things...

First, Windows Phone is growing and will grow much faster over the next couple years. 

And second, Amazon has pretty good Amazon store and Kindle apps on both Windows Phone and Windows 8 already.  They do need to make an app for Amazon Prime, but they also need more shows and movies first.

I'm sure they'll fix Comixology since it would represent Amazon... or just tie it all in with the Kindle app.

Jack Janik says:

Amazon's support for WP is *almost* as bad as Facebook..

aemehran says:

Amazon should update its WP kindle app.

pressstart says:

Prime with free comic rentals would be excellent. :)

traceamar says:

The more I read all these lagging/missing apps on WP....
This concerns me that WP might be fighting a loosing battle....
Hopefully 8.1 fixes this in a hurry, else we're all doomed
Not sure how long MS is willing to loose millions on this venture...
Yes I'm very worried

You needn't worry so much. WP might not be a leading platform, but its way too big for MS to just give up on a whim.

bbennett40 says:

Goodness!! You would have had major concerns a year or so ago then! We've come a LOOOOONG way since then and still getting better.

Ticomfreak says:

Its always been an uphill battle. But the odds of becoming a major player has never been higher.

Jazmac says:

You must have a bad handset or don't own a WP. Nothing lags on my Lumia 920.

He means lagging as in lagging behind, slow to release or be updated compared to other platforms.

DalekSnare says:

I hope they merge the catalogues, it's been awkward using two comic stores, one with better apps and the other with better device for the black and white comics.

Loiselle says:

I'll be excited for this kind of news when Comixology releases an app for the Windows side of things that doesn't suck.

The Comixology app for Windows 8 is utter garbage, barely usable at best. Nothing like the iOS or Android counterpart.

I'm a former user of the Android app, and a current user of the Windows 8 app instead. I'm pretty happy with their Win8 app, actually. Perhaps the Android app has improved since I stopped using Android?

heystartrek says:

Yes. The Comixology app is terrible. I can deal with the catalog being a total mess. I can deal with it booting into the store. What I can't stand is the app breaks itself so often that I've simply gotten used to uninstalling the app and reinstalling it before I even try to read my library. Complaints about the app just plain not working have been around forever. I've read every hopeful tweet that they were planning a fix. I even read an article where someone said that the app felt like it was coded to fail--to convince users to give up on the win platform. And now it's bought by someone who seems to care just as much. I wanna be optimistic, but this acquisition could put us even further on the backburner. Boo.

GSOgymrat says:

I share your frustration with the Comixology app for Windows 8. I subscribe to 12 titles plus buy several others so I use it frequently.  I try to use my Surface but often go back to my Nook HD just because I get sick of stuck downloads and reinstalling the app. Perhaps Amazon will improve the app.

There goes me patronising comixOlogy, as I don't agree with Amazon's business practices. I recently bought a bunch of comics from them, too. I guess I'll buy all my comics from Kobo in the future.

What business practices specifically?  Personally I find Amazon's practices to be overwhelmingly ethical and its a part of why I prefer to shop there vs Google or Apple.  If I have one complaint its thier continued avoidance of sales taxes.  Otherwise their committment to building a sales platform that everyone can use (even their competitors) and not turning thier customers into commodities like Google via selling of their personal info are ethics I strongly endorse.

I disagree with them doing their utmost to avoid collecting sales taxes, as you say, especially when that puts the onus on the consumer to self-assess the tax (which few will ever do). I strongly disagree with them promoting "showrooming" where someone goes to a retail stores, tries something on (for example), and then buys online. It's theft of service. Amazon specifically encourages it with apps that help someone in a retail store scan a barcode and look up the price on Amazon, for example. I don't think Amazon has an obligation to try and prevent showrooming, but they shouldn't specifically encourage and promote theft of service as they do. Time is money, so theft of service is a real cost to brick-and-mortar businesses, and unethical when the customer has no intention of buying in their local store.

I don't have a problem with showrooming.  The problem with a store is that they have a captive audience, and the customer has no ability to do a price check.  The counter to showrooming, and which many stores are implementing is price matching.  That was already a common practice among brick and mortar stores, and it is simply being extended to include internet operations.  These days I can go into a Fry's and get them to price match Amazon, and that is not a bad thing (and Frys is still profitable which should show you what kind of markups are on things).

 

In my mind 'showrooming' would be predatory if Amazon offered to *beat* the store price by default.  Otherwise its simply the digital equivilent of driving around town for the best deal but without wasting all the fuel.

 

But we are in agreement on the sales taxes.  Fortunately that is changing.  And that alone is not enough to make me not shop there, although I have always done so ethically.

I have a problem with showrooming, when the customer accepts the service of the store, already knowing there is a better price online that they intend to pay. In that instance you're out-and-out stealing the service. And for things that need to be sized, that service is incredibly valuable. Since online has a harder time reliably helping a customer with that. And I don't use Amazon's services anymore so can't personally attest, but I recall news stories that suggested Amazon's showrooming app (not it's official name) actually would price beat. Several U.S. politicians complained about it on that basis during the recession, because they saw it as contributing to small businesses going under.

I'm not certain what sense that makes.  If someone already knows what they want, and already plans to buy it online, why did they waste the fuel to go to a store?  In most cases the item isn't even out of the box for display, and its not like reviews don't exist online.

 

Furthermore, in that instance Amazon is not stealing a sale since the person never intended to buy from the retailer anyway.

 

Its true that online is not the best for some things, such as checking the size (although I generally can find measurements of about any common item), but really most of your complaint seems pretty trumped up.  This really is just digital price comparisons, and the only people really suffering from it are gas companies not having as much fuel wasted while you drive around town.  As I said before, stores already compete with it via price matching, just as they always competed with this sort of thing in the past.  Remember all the ads saying "We will beat any advertised price or your money back?"  Same thing.

Showrooming where people have already decided to buy online, but want/need to be sized in person, not only happens, but is increasingly common in the U.S. Some things (apparel, shoes, bicycles, etc.) either benefit from, or strictly require, being experienced/tried on in person. And re-read my post: I didn't say the store lost a sale, I said that the store experienced theft of service. The store's paying someone to help this non-customer buy something. That employee could be helping another customer, or doing some other task that benefits the store. Or even being sent home to save on labour hours. Instead they're helping the person decide what they're purchasing from Amazon. That's theft of service. Retail store labour isn't free.

As for fuel to go to the store, maybe it's on the way home. Maybe they had some other reason to go to the area. Maybe they ride a bicycle. Maybe the store's a two minute walk from home, or work. Maybe they simply couldn't decide on the purchase without the personal touch, the store labour that's embedded into the price. Then they save a few dollars online, despite pretending to be a potential customer (i.e. lying, when it comes right down to it, if they already know they intend to buy online).

1) It seems your problem is with consumer behaviour, not with Amazon.  If you feel consumers are abusing retailers, take it up with them, not with Amazon for simply existing and having a scanner app.  Something that our own Windows Phones can do via the built in Bing search which will also get us current prices.

 

2) Yes, retailers know that their employees aren't free.  However part of good service is finding a way to make the deal happen.  Which should include obvious tools like price matching.  If the retailer is unwilling to price match the competition they absolutely *should* lose the sale, that is the nature of capitalism and competition.  Not being willing to take advantage of the impulse buy is the store's failing, not some unfair advantage of Amazon or other online retailers.

 

3) While it is true that some people may have cheaper alternatives to go to a retailer, I'm pretty certain most people just take shopping trips on the weekend.  There is a reason the mall and big box parking lots are so busy at those times.  Given that, it is reasonable that retailers should do their best to seal the deal when customers walk in the door.

 

4) I'm certain most of those potential customers who you see as 'fake' could be converted to real customers were the retailers simply willing to price match Amazon, Newegg, eBay and other retailers.  If they are not, then they deserve to lose the sale.

I have more of an issue with the consumer doing it than Amazon aiding and abetting it, true. That doesn't absolve Amazon of said aiding and abetting, IMO. And retailers aren't always allowed to match pricing. I own a bicycle shop with 15 staff. I'm in Canada and showrooming is not a big problem here because shipping is slower and more expensive. But we do have online competition, and we're not allowed to match it in some cases. Some suppliers specify MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) policies. Online merchants sometimes sell grey market or OEM parts/accessories at or below our wholesale. It's actually not a big problem for our shop, as we target bicycle commuters and family bike riders who don't tend to go online, but it is a big problem for the industry at large. Especially in the U.S.

I am aware of the issues with manufacturer set prices, that is an issue in a lot of industries.  But that is really not about Amazon or even price conscious shoppers so much as manufacturers attempting to preserve pricing models that are essentially obsolete.  It is hard on shops like yours, but it is something that needs to be pushed to your OEM's so they understand they are destroying their own market in the long run.

 

I do understand where you are coming from.  But my point is that Amazon, at least in my opinion, is not doing anything unethical here.  If nothing else they provide a platform you also can take advantage of.  In the US they are often blamed for the destruction of local bookstores, but the truth is that Barnes & Noble and Borders wiped out independants largely in the 90's before Amazon was a force.  Once Amazon opened up their platform to third parties, smaller bookstores started having a chance to compete again and there are now more independants than there were ten years ago.  This has been accellerated since B&N and Borders started vanishing, freeing up a local retail market that had been unprofitable before.

 

Yes Amazon can be a threat, but they can also be a great benefit.  Ultimately I feel they are ethically neutral economically speaking, but I greatly admire their committment to customer privacy and customer service, especially as compared to Google.

I don't hate on Amazon for the independent bookstore thing, as book store's are the new buggy whips. There's an inevitability to the digital distribution of e-books dominating, and it's just a matter of how much longer until that happens. And the wholesalers aren't the problem with MAP, it's websites who are grey market selling, or selling OEM. OEM is not meant to be sold direct to the consumer, it's priced to be sold to an intermediary who will use it in the assembly/construction of something new. Ditto with anything grey market. I have no problem with cheaper online pricing when there's a level playing field, but I object when they circumvent rules and policies to their benefit and to competitor's detriment.

Honestly though you have to ask yourself if the existing model makes sense anymore.  I went through this when I was a PC builder/reseller in the 90's and Dell came in and circumvented the channel and sold direct.  It sucked, and a lot of retailers went out of business, plus it blew up the grey market into something huge.  But in the long run it was best.  PC prices came down to where anyone could afford one, OEM's had to step up their customer service since they actually had to deal with end users, and honestly PC quality got better over time.  In the short run a lot of destruction occurred and these days there aren't PC shops all over town, but at the same time the average computer is far higher quality with far better service than what you saw back then.

 

The shops that survive will be the ones that compete on superior in person service, not on price.  And that is not a bad thing, IMO.

Stevied1991 says:

I pay sales tax on Amazon. They charge sales tax in states that they have a physical presence in. The funny part is that they have no plans to put up their warehouse here for over a year, so they are really preemptively charging sales tax here. I must say that is a pretty big let down.

Collecting sales tax at source, and you having to pay it, are often two different things. You may be legally required to pay anyway, and they're simply saving you the trouble of self-assessing. Unless you had no plan to do so, even if legally required to do so (which is a little like theft).

Interesting header picture.

If they fix the app for my 2520, I'm all for it!

Well... I hope they make the windows Phone version now... Ive got thoushands of comics bought!!!

Haris Ayub says:

Nice HTC HD7

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

AriesDog says:

One of the best things about this is that Amazon is more platform agnostic. Hopefully, that means Comixology will come to WP8. The company half heartedly released a DC Comics app only due to contracts and never supported it. Killed it off as soon as they could.

Makai5 says:

What app is he using there. I've been looking for an app to use to read my comics now that I'm on WP

AriesDog says:

That was the DC Comics app (backend by Comixology) that was only released for WP7.

TofuDelight says:

I'd be more interested if the comics didn't cost so much

GSOgymrat says:

Agreed. I find digital comics are like potato chips or episodes of "24"-- I try to just read one... maybe just one more... okay let me see what happens with this character... suddenly realize I've binged on $50 worth of comics.

KTH B1 says:

I would rathe have an Amazon Music app that lets me stream my Amazon music purchases first.

 

One ok shopping app and one decent Kindle app does not exactly convince me that Amazon is so pro-Windows Phone.

 

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