Comixology's first appearance on Amazon
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Comixology: Amazon’s New Reading App

Amazon: Comixology’s New Store

Slightly more than 24 hours after my article on Tuesday about the issues I have with Comixology’s user interface, Comixology announced today that they’re getting rid of Comixology.com and redirecting the shopping experience to Amazon.

The Comixology App will be upgraded to be a new front end for the comics you shop on Amazon for.

This is all scheduled to happen in the fall (sometime between next month and the end of year).

No, I’m not taking credit for it, but it did make me laugh out loud. I was only upset that I removed a paragraph from yesterday’s article in which I noted that Comixology.com hadn’t had a redesign in years and was due for one. I could have looked like a friggin’ prophet.

I also suggested that Comixology should use the carousel that Amazon uses to show a series’ lineup of books. I didn’t mean they should move the whole site over for it…

Breaking Changes

The Comixology App you have on your phone or iPad will be dead in the water when this change happens. You will need to upgrade to the new version of the app.

If you have an older iPad that runs a version of iOS that can’t handle the new app, you’re out of luck. Funny enough, I only recently noticed that the Comixology App doesn’t work on my ancient third generation iPad anymore. That may have been true for years already, though. It is stuck on iOS 9. You can’t expect them to maintain backwards compatibility forever, so I’m not mad about this.

They haven’t listed which iOS versions the new app will support, but I’d bet it will include a few years’ worth of iPads.

In exchange, they promise the new app will have lots of new features:

“Our upgraded comiXology app will feature flexible filtering and sorting, new book navigation features, faster, more reliable downloads, read-while-downloading, and instant reading on Android devices”

Maybe it’ll be easier to figure out a reading order for an older series? You never know.

At the very least, I hope they get the creator credits back up with each comic. That’s sorely lacking now. It’s the typical Amazon move of listing the bio of the writer and not anyone else.

Comixology Accounts are Dead; Time to Move to Amazon

The one big catch for me: You need to move your Comixology account to be an Amazon account. There’s no more wiggle room with this. This process began years ago, but it wasn’t enforced. Now, it will be. You’ll be cut off if you don’t move.

I avoided that for years so I could continue to pay for my digital comics through PayPal. Amazon doesn’t offer that.

The PayPal money often came from comics I sold on eBay. eBay no longer pays out to sellers through PayPal, so I suppose that path was gone already.

At least this will finally merge my Amazon digital comics with my Comixology digital comics. Then, they say, I can read the books I bought on Comixology on the Kindle App. Believe it or not, I have bought digital comics directly through Amazon before, and those are already in Kindle, but I’ve never been able to transfer them to Comixology since I didn’t have the accounts linked.

Having everything together in one place should be easier, right? Though, to be honest, I don’t want to sync Comixology to Kindle. I only need the reverse direction.

What This Won’t Change

We won’t be getting rid of the tie between print trade paperbacks and digital collections. The major systemic overhaul I outlined is not happening here. In fact, thanks to such tight ties to Amazon, it’s even less likely now.

Not that I seriously thought it would happen…

The New Comixology Amazon Comics Beta

Amazon is taking over from Comixology.com.

That feels like the inevitable is finally coming true.

They have a beta version you can use now. I’ve been playing with it.

Here’s what the front page looks like:

Comixology's new Amazon front end

It’s like someone put the Amazon stripe on top of Comixology and slapped a new CSS file on the server.

Otherwise, it has all the links across the nav bar at the top you’d expect: New Releases, Sales, Comixology Unlimited, Graphic Novels, etc.

The awkward thing at the moment is that trying to find a comic from the “Comics Home” page or even the “New Releases” page is a mess because you’re not searching Comixology. You’re searching the Kindle Store. See:

Kindle Store search prompt

I’m hoping this is something that will be fixed before the site goes live. I want a separate comics-only search.

For example: When you search “Savage Dragon,” only three of the first five results are for Erik Larsen’s comic book. This is the book in the fifth position of those search results:

Savage Dragon search results in Amazon Kindle

Funny enough, “Savage Dragon” has always been my favorite bodice-ripper.

Three of the next five are also “Savage Dragon” books and issues, but after that they’re few and far between.

Surely, they’ll set up a “Comics Search” field somewhere, right?

When you drill down into the Sales tab, Amazon gives you a sidebar with all the filters you’d expect from Amazon.

It’s also where I laughed at all of the reading options available to you:

The Amazon sidebar that outlines all the ways to read comics on Amazon

Good luck picking your optimal Amazon subscription service for maximum comics pleasure.

So, yes, Amazon’s busy sidebar is part of your comics shopping experience if you want it to be now. We’re all trained well on it, so it’s a familiar bit of interface.

It’s particularly effective for manga fans, I’d have to think. They even get their own tab, owing as much to the sadly unique method of having an unbroken string of books in the same series, as much as the popularity of the format. The filter for that tab includes all the major publishers and all the major series types. You can filter down pretty quickly through there.

The graphics novel tab is a portal into, basically, the world of Amazon. Once you’re shopping for regular books-with-spines, you get kicked into familiar Amazon territory. You do, however, get a “Graphic Novels” search bar instead of the general Kindle search bar:

Amazon Graphic Novels search bar

However, once you click through on a single book, the search bar goes back to searching through “All” on Amazon.

They have time to work the kinks out. Maybe they don’t think this is an issue, though. Maybe they’re happy with their comic readers leaving the comic shops and going in to the general Amazon mall, where they might run into an Air Fryer or Power Washer.

Speaking of items that are often the targets of affiliate marketers: Does this mean links to comics on Comixology can be converted to Amazon links and the affiliate program can be applied to them? Hmmm.

One last potentially newsworthy item: The beta allows for customer reviews and star ratings on all the individual comics. Right now, you can put a star rating on a book you bought, but no comments. Someone pass the popcorn, because that could get interesting in a hurry…

Update: The preview pages are missing from comics, too. Amazon does have their “Look Inside” feature for books, so I wonder if they’re converting the previews to that format now, or if it’s a feature that’s under development and yet to be finalized.

Amazon Comics is currently 1-Click purchasing only. Here's what the button looks like

Update #2: (Thanks to Brad for pointing this out.) Currently, comics are a 1-Click Buy only. You can’t throw a bunch in your shopping cart and check out later. As Brad points out, this would impact any Buy One Get One style of sale. I just don’t trust myself on Amazon with 1-Click purchasing. I always load up a cart and then review it before I buy things. It’s a nice sanity check. I do the same with Comixology currently.

Again, this is a Beta. They might still be working on it.

They have a lot of work yet to do, though, given all the times I’ve had to say that so far….

Alternative Solution

Comixology.com is dead. Long live Amazon.com?

If you have issues with Amazon, I happily refer you to Izneo.com — they don’t have Marvel and DC, but they do have nearly the same collection of translated European albums, plus the offerings of a number of American publishers, like Dark Horse, Dynamite, Boom!, et. al.

They even accept PayPal!

Their app reading experience is great, too. If you know the Comixology interface, you’ll figure out the Izneo one pretty quickly.

What do YOU think? (First time commenters' posts may be held for moderation.)

3 Comments

  1. Hehe good thing you addressed it in your preamble, cause this feels so much like sponsored content. The coincidence of the previous post is indeed uncanny. For a second I thought I was watching one of the Khardashian’s Instagram or something 😀
    Now more seriously, do you legally (or morally) have to disclose when you get free books to review or any kind of goodies to push you for a favorable nudge ?

    1. Nope, no special deals with Comixology, but for someone like me who relies so much on digital comics distribution, it’s a major story.

      The timing after my initial story is hilarious, but coincidental. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll happily accept cash, but I don’t get nearly enough traffic to justify that for them. 😉

      Also, if this was sponsored, I might have had to delete half of it.

      By Federal Trade Commission guidelines, all affiliate links, sponsored posts, brand deals, etc must be disclosed with the article. (It’s also a standard Amazon policy, in their case.) All of the links to buy comics through Amazon are affiliate links, and I have little disclosures about those around a lot of them, though probably not all. Someday, I may add a standard “This post may contains links to Amazon, for which I’m an affiliate.” box at the bottom or top of all the pages on the site, but not yet. It is also disclosed on the About page for the site.

      Honestly, I’m debating how much I want to keep those around anyway. Nobody clicks on them.

      The only “sponsorship” I have is that Izneo.com lets me read what I want from their site. But they don’t ask me to read or review anything in particular. They’ve never made any suggestions or asked for anything to be added/removed. I’ll leave it as an exercise to the readers if they think I’m overly positive because of that.

      There are times I’ve not written negative reviews of a book, but that’s just because I want to spotlight great books to bring people into European comics instead. Trashing a book for a thousand words doesn’t feel productive. So I write nothing about that book, and instead write a positive review of something else.

      If I ever try reviewing 100 books in a year again, I might not have that luxury, though. 😉