Amazon Angers Fans With Comixology Changes

Amazon Angers Fans With Comixology Changes

Imagine this: for years, you've been going to a local restaurant. You love this place, you love the convenience it provides you, and sometimes it even runs some pretty impressive specials. One day, a huge restaurant chain buys your local store. They tell you not to worry, that you'll still be able to eat at the restaurant, you'll still be able to take advantage of the sales, and you probably won't even notice that they've been bought by the other company.

There is one slight problem, though. You see, the owners of the restaurant had this strange arrangement with the people they were renting the building from. Instead of paying rent, the owners of the building would simply take a healthy commission for every plate of food sold in the restaurant. When the new owners hear about this commission, they lose it. There's no way they're going to be handing over money to those people for every product sold in their store. So, the next time you walk into the store, you're told that there's a slightly different arrangement to how things are purchased. Now, instead of being able to actually buy food in the restaurant, you have to go to a building next door, one that doesn't have the same rent arrangement. You still have to bring your food to this restaurant and eat it there, you just can't buy your food at the restaurant anymore.

If this situation perplexes and maybe even upsets you a little, you now feel the outrage that fans of the digital comics platform Comixology are feeling after Amazon acquired the company a few weeks ago, as we previously reported.

One of the biggest conveniences of Comixology was that it was a one-stop shop for comics. Users on iOS and Android devices could read and buy comics through Comixology's app, producing a seamless experience that made Comixology such a attractive place for fans of digital comics. Comixology was able to do this via in-app purchases, but Apple and Google both take a thirty percent commission on everything bought via in-app purchase. After the acquisition, Amazon decided they didn't want to pay those hefty commissions, so they have completely removed the ability to purchase comics via the app, Comic Book Resources reports. Users are instead being directed to Comixology's website, where they can purchase their comics that will then show up for reading in Comixology's app.

If Comixology users were familiar with Amazon's Kindle apps, this change wouldn't have come as much of a surprise. Ever since their debuts, the Kindle apps have not allowed in-app purchases, instead requiring customers to buy books on Amazon's website to read in the Kindle App.

Still, users of Comixology aren't happy. In order to make this change, Amazon had to create a new Comixology app, one without the purchasing ability. The reviews started pouring in, and fan reaction was angry to say the least. At the time of publication, the app has over 1,200 reviews on the App Store with a rating of just over one star with fans reacting vocally to the changes. The transition for Google Play has gone a little better, as Android allows some wiggle room, allowing users to pay via PayPal or direct credit card payment, both of which avoid the commission Google charges.

Comixology has downplayed the changes, releasing a statement to Engadget:

As we move to complete the acquisition with Amazon, we are shifting to the web-based purchasing model they've successfully used with the Kindle, which we expect will allow us to strike the best balance between prices, selection and customer experience.

There are many advantages to shopping at Because of the content restrictions our mobile partners have, shopping on the web provides even greater selection of comic books and graphic novels. iOS customers will now be able to save money with comiXology's exclusive web-only Bundles, take advantage of Subscription features and enjoy eGift Cards. We also made our website more tablet/mobile friendly on all devices to make the purchasing process that much easier. And in Safari on iOS, customers can easily save a shortcut to our webstore with the "Add to Home Screen" feature.

How Comixology will fare under this new arrangement remains to be seen, but so far, people are not happy with the adjustment. What do you think? Is this a big deal? Or are people just adverse to change?

Sean May

News by Sean May

Sean May is, among other things, an author, journalist, graphic designer, video game fanatic and feared but charming space pirate (one of those isn't true, but which one?). His fiction work has appeared in Crimefactory and other publications, and his music journalism can be found at Has It Leaked?. His novella, The Case, and a short story collection, Crimewave, can be found on Kindle. Sean lives in Carmel, IN with his wife and a cat.

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Jerome Silas's picture
Jerome Silas April 29, 2014 - 3:04pm

I would not want to pay apple or Google 30% commission for the right to sell my products either. 

Boog911's picture
Boog911 April 29, 2014 - 4:32pm

I have a kindle and it doesn't bother me one comixology app allows purchases....only Apple users I imagine that are upset. Maybe they need to do like I did and switch to a kindle fire hdx. I love mine.

Sanbai's picture
Sanbai from the Midwest is reading The War of Art April 29, 2014 - 8:44pm

Yeaahhh... I think it'll be like the Google+ comment changes on Youtube. Large dustup, then grumbling, then a month later peeps get to using it. Six months later few remember how they did it before or why they cared.