ComiXology’s transition to its new Amazon ownership is complete, but the hero of the digital comic service has turned villainous by compromising what’s best for the consumer in favor for what’s better for business.
A veiled statement in ComiXology’s press release announcing their acquisition by Amazon, on April 11, noted that ComiXology readers will not encounter any changes to their reading experience. Missing from this cleverly crafted sentence, explaining the way you read the comics won’t change, was the fact that the way you shop for comics and purchase them will. Drastically. Today came notice that the old ComiXology app would need to be replaced with a new improved version on both Android and Apple devices. Peculiarly, the notice included a $5 credit to anyone who had previously made a purchase through the service. Free is good, but this is too good to be true, right?
As many comic-lovers either rushed to update the ComiXology app or claim their five bucks, they were shocked to find the once robust app had been stripped of many useful features. Android’s update removed the Google Wallet payment option, leaving many angry Google fanboys in its wake. But that pales in comparison the iOS changes. Apple users needed to backup their purchased comics to the cloud in the existing app, download the updated app, then restore their purchases in the new app in order to read them. It seems a lot messier than it is, until you try to find a way to spend your $5 “gift”. Gone is the colorful home screen showcasing new releases and recommendations, the robust search options and more importantly in-app purchases. iOS users must now purchase comics in the web store at comixology.com, then sync them to their device. The $5 bribe isn’t worth what we’re giving up in exchange.
You Made me Promises, Promises…
We all groan when we hear that our favorite thing has been scooped up by some big, evil corporation because we fear that no good will come of it. Suddenly it’s no longer the faithful users that matter, it’s all about the money, the shareholders and the stock price. Even when promises are made that nothing will change or things will change for the better, we still wait for the other shoe to drop. And it almost always does. The ComiXology app has been one of the App Store’s highest grossing apps for the past three years, but by allowing in-app purchases, Amazon would be required to pay a portion of its sales to its competitors. ComiXology claims the savings will be passed on to the comic writers and artists, but we know better. Axing the things that made the ComiXology app convenient, while trying to buy our favor for a measly $5 is insulting. Yes Apple and Google get stiffed in all of this, but in the end, we the consumers are the real losers.
But What Can I Do?
We strongly encourage you to write ComiXology by using the contact form on their site. Let them know you’re disappointed that their business strategy is interfering with what’s best for the consumer. Ask them to bring back the features that made the ComiXology app such a great comic reading and purchasing experience. Or copy and paste the statement we’ve provided below.
As an avid comic reader who uses your app, I am disappointed by your decision to remove the Android Google Wallet and iOS in-app purchase features. The convenience of the ComiXology app has been greatly compromised by these changes and it’s obvious the changes were made for business reasons and not in the best interest of the consumer. Please bring back these features, which made the ComiXology app not only a great comic reading experience, but a great purchasing experience, as well.