Amazon and ComiXology thought their new integration would upgrade the comic experience. They were wrong, and comics fans are letting them know.
Earlier this month the digital comic service ComiXology announced that it was moving to the next phase of its relationship with the e-commerce giant Amazon, and its subscribers, including comedian and actor Patton Oswalt, were not at all pleased with the transition.
ComiXology was founded in 2007 to help comics fans get the comics they want easier. Initially, the service allowed fans to identify comics they want from a list, order them online, then pick physical copies up from a local comic book store or vendor. Subsequently, the service pivoted to going completely digital, where subscribers could preview comics, then buy the online version of the comics they liked. In 2014, Amazon acquired ComiXology for an undisclosed amount but made it clear at the time of the acquisition that the comics site would operate as it had been. To be sure, subscribers could choose to access comic content on the ComiXology website with a standalone account or could link their account to an Amazon account, and access ComiXology using their Amazon credentials
Nearly 15 years later, Amazon has decided to move its comics service in-house. According to the announcement, in order to make ComiXology’s integration into the Amazon commercial network more seamless, subscribers seeking to access the ComiXology site are now being redirected to Amazon.com. While Amazon and ComiXology may have believed that the integration would produce better comic shopping and manga reading experience, for many subscribers and comics fans, the changes have been catastrophic. Moreover, subscribers have had no reservations telling the public why they are upset. Shortly after the change went into effect actor, comedian, and comics fan, Patton Oswalt blasted ComiXology for the change in a series of now-famous tweets.
Ohhhhhh @comixology what have you done?
What’s a better digital comics app than @comixology? Is @CBR good? I need to switch now because holy SHIT.
Guys, just switch it back. You can do it. C'mon. Switch it back and no hard feelings. https://t.co/kcWNBzU0A5
…and @comixology was always this terrific, one-stop location to not only download (and pre-order) from the major publishers, but a great way to explore newer, smaller, riskier outfits, and help get them exposure…
As Oswalt makes clear, with the changes, ComiXology has gone from being a dedicated hub for comics to just another tab for digital content in Amazon’s Kindle storefront. Whereas before the change, in addition to being a place where subscribers could “collect” and “curate” their digital collections, ComiXolgy provided a way for fans to explore the wonderful world of comics, manga, graphic novels in efficient and enjoyable manner.
Oswalt wasn’t the only one to find fault with the changes. Indeed, from hardcore fans to casual readers, from writers to gamers, the change seems to have struck a chord everywhere.
I’m honestly just canceling my subscriptions and not reading comics anymore. I only had about five series I was subscribed to, so it’s not a big loss for me, but it’s still disappointing. I was really digging the new Superman but will probably never get back to it now
Librarian here. @comiXology was an invaluable reference for us in both cataloging and patron interaction. It’s 💯 useless now.
Well said thread. I loved the @comiXology app so much that I went all digital with my comics rather than have mountains of issues (or adding to my existing mountains of issues) but this new thing is a horror show. https://t.co/YIRKJeVlsu
Outside of the ease of use that the old ComiXology site had, another problem fans are pointing to is that with the new integration, while its easy to find currently popular titles from the more well-known publishers like Marvel and DC, is it difficult to find titles from smaller and independent publishers. Additionally, in an interesting complaint for a technology company as large as Amazon, some fans are also upset about what they perceive as a downgrade to the actual technology of reading digital comics on the Amazon site.
This is a disaster. Comixology's reader is going away, so as of next week here are my options to read comics on desktop. There is no two-page view. There is no zoom. I have not altered these pictures aside from markup.
Witness the work of the great J. H. Williams III. pic.twitter.com/8rFzaOSO16
But I truly can't find words strong enough for this. I'm livid. I'm horrified. Comixology was unique among the readers for actually understanding comics and their history and giving you appropriate display options. It has frustrated me for literally a decade that only they did.
The changes that have angered fans do not stop there. For instance, fans living outside of the United States will no longer be able to continue their subscriptions. And the list goes on.
Ah, so subscriptions to comics will no longer be available to people outside the US now comixology has been absorbed into Amazon. Great. Good for creators AND fans!
All great news for someone with memory problems who relies on subscriptions to remember what he's keeping up with.
With so many subscribers and fans upset with the changes, comic readers must be questioning what Amazon and ComiXology were thinking. Indeed, for a company that revolutionized the digital comic experience, made it enjoyable, and efficiently served its fans for so long, these changes speak to a rather surprising lack of understanding of how comics are actually bought and consumed in a digital format. The comic loving public has clearly put Amazon and ComiXology on notice, whether they hear the sentiment and “switch” it back as Patton Oswalt suggests, is less clear.
Next: Marvel vs DC: Whose Comixology Sales Tactics Are Better for Fans?
Marcel Green is a comics news writer for Screen Rant. A lifelong comic fan who originally was a “Marvel Only” collector, he has matured into an “independent” fan of all things comics, manga, cartoon, and anime. Happy to finally be able to put all those hours reading comics over the years to good use.