Amazon removes ability to buy comics through Comixology app to cut out Apple

201404261559.jpgWith Comixology’s acquisition by Amazon, the number 1 digital comics app is now but a pawn in the larger Kaiju battle of Amazon, Apple, Google and so on. And as many predicted, the first victim of this has been the ability to actually BUY digital comics through Comixology’s ipad and iphone apps.

Amazon does not allow any of its products to be sold through their ioS Kindle app, to avoid paying Apple the 30% cut that they charge for in-app purchases. When the Amazology deal went through, this is one of the first things that people thought would change, and yo diggity, on their tumblr Comixology has announced that this is the case. They are changing both iPhone and iPad apps to remove in app purchases.

We have introduced a new comiXology iPhone and iPad Comics App and are retiring the old one. iPhone and iPad users will now buy comics on comixology.com and download to the app. All your purchased books will be readable in the new app once you’ve downloaded it and taken the following steps:

If you don’t have a comiXology account, go to comiXology.com to create one, or create one in the original Comics app!
In the original Comics app, log into your comiXology account.
Sync your in-app purchases to your comiXology account by tapping the Restore button on the Purchases tab.
Download the new comiXology app. This will be your new home downloading and reading comics.
Start shopping on comiXology.com. New web purchases will appear in the “In Cloud” tab in our new app.
If you have comics downloaded in the old app, no problem! You can continue to read them there without re-downloading to the new app.

Last, but not least, to thank our loyal customers and ease this transition, we are offering a $5 eGift Card credit to all those who have purchased through the comiXology platform in the past. This credit will be automatically applied throughout the day to those accounts who are eligible and all of those eligible have 30 days to purchase books with that credit. Enjoy!


$5! When you’re owned by a 8000 lb gorilla with no worries about profits you can do things like this.

This news just dropped and Twitter is exploding. More to come!

BTW, there is suddenly some concern on The Street about Amazon and its lack of profitability. Even though sales continue to rise, the profit margin is wafer-thin. Some see pieces like this as simple East Coast jealousy…others as the start of greater scrutiny.

UPDATE: Oh here is the workaround to add the Comixology web store 00 where you can still make purchases — to your Apple device.

Comments

  1. Shags says:

    iOS users have to purchase comics on their website and then sync them up to their iOS device. Huge step backwards in convenience.

    So now will we see another comics iOS app with in-app purchase capabilities fill this void or will comic book publishers create their own apps in house?

  2. Erik Scott says:

    All my credit card information is already saved to my Comixology account. So buying it via the Comixology website on my device versus buying through the app isn’t really as much of an inconvenience as people are making it seem like.

  3. If publishers made their own app it would make sense for them to do the same as Amazon I think.

    Why pay for both maintaining the needed infrastructure themselves AND give Apple 30% cut? Does not compute.

    @erik scott Yep, not too hard. I already bought my comics that way as I did not want Apple to get any of my money. They got more than enough for the iPad itself already!

  4. What’s bizarre is that Google takes the same 30% cut– and the same day they removed in-app purchases from the iOS app, they *added* it to the Android app.
    Maybe Amazon has some deal where the cut is lower, since Kindles run a version of Android? No idea.

  5. b_stel says:

    I did feel that the original Comixology iPad storefront was a more usable and elegant portal than the web page.

  6. Catman says:

    I only use the apps to read anyway.
    I never buy my books with any of the apps. I go to my local comic shops comixology site (ronscomicworld.com) to buy them.

    Apple even lets me put the link on my ipad as if it was a regular app so all I have to do is tap it and I’m there.

  7. I have never bought anything in the app. I always go through the website via DCBS to get DCBS credits.

  8. Yeah and guess what? When you buy on the website from your iPhone, it does go to the new app, but doesn’t show up in your purchased list and you can’t actually open it and read it. Of course. Get ready for more bs like this once the nazis in congress and President Fetchit deed the whole internet over to the 1%ers.

  9. @Niki S The Android version already had in app purchases using Google Play. They removed Google Play as a payment option and replaced it with their own payment processing.

    The nice thing about using an Android is that Google’s policies are better. A developer must use Google’s in app purchases for in app items for games and apps. But physical goods, tickets and digital items that can be consumed outside of the Android app can chose to use their own payment processing.

    I guess Android tablets are now the best way to buy and read digital comics.

  10. comicsatemybrain says:

    Is this something that affects only the Comixology app itself, or does it also apply to the standalone publisher apps that are run off of Comixology’s software and store? I’m not seeing the same changes within the Marvel app as I am for the Comixology app, for instance.

  11. Yeah, no surprise. Wonder if there’s anything Apple can do as retaliation. Sounds like the Comixology store was a good revenue generator for them, but maybe more work than some (I don’t think it’s ever been made clear if Apple actually vet the submissions or Comixology just pre-emptively withholds stuff they think won’t pass Apple’s standards and Apple only reacts if they get a complaint).

    Also curious if Comixology will continue to accept PayPal, or integrate with Amazon Payments, which Amazon still seems determined to make a thing. There’s a chance they might, since Book Depository continues to use PayPal even after being bought by Amazon.

  12. @daveloft Thanks for the clarification. I’ve never used the Android app, so the wording in the recent update was a little unclear.

    Another point: Unless I’m mistaken, if Comixology is no longer going through the iOS appstore, they should no longer be restricted to $*.99 price points. I know Image has some comics that are $3.50 in print and $3 on the app. Will that change?

  13. Yet another example of a handful of big companies in pissing contests with each other, and it’s the customers who end up all warm and wet and yellow.

  14. Dudley says:

    This is terrible news! Maybe I am the only one, but I had a bunch of money on my iTunes account JUST to do things like buy my weekly comics (I’ve been buying iTunes gift cards on sale and stocking away the money).

    I’ve been a huge purchaser on a weekly basis as a result, and they have now absolutely lost my business.

  15. So they’re making it harder to but things? Mobile is the future of the internet. Desktop useage is consistently trending downwards. Asking someone to wait to find a computer to purchase something is kinda silly. They just eliminated the impulse purchase.

    New users will be really turned off by this I think.

  16. I think the loss of casual purchases from people who aren’t big comic fans will hurt the most.

    I mostly buy spur of the moment. I finish one issue I’m lukewarm about, and then I’m like, “mmmwell OK, maybe one more issue.” Again, and again, and again. They made more money off of my snap purchases than from anything I ever actually intended to buy. Because there was a “But the next one?” button right there. Remove that, and the creators are getting 100% of the nothing that I’m paying for things that I never get around to buying.

    Casual readers don’t spend much, but a little from a lot of people is a lot.

  17. *”Buy”

  18. tonyjazz says:

    I’m quite shocked to see the racial statement by Mdk . His bigoted statement about our president (who is far less likely than a Republican to sell out to the 1%) is very offensive.

  19. RAGGEDT says:

    @tonyjazz: Agreed. Thanks for noting that.

  20. Johnny Memeonic says:

    Not really surprising this happened I suppose. I always bought through Comixology’s website and then downloaded the purchases on my ipad app specifically so Apple wouldn’t get 30% of the purchase.

    It’s also likely Comixology was purchased for the excellent comic reader tech that goes along with their licenses and storefront. God knows Kindle and ibooks have extremely laggy (re: BAD) readers. Amazon may eventually shutter the Comixology name and fold the tech and storefront into Kindle.

    But all that aside I hope they start pricing books at 99 cents, but no more than $1.99 for new books. Anything else says to me they’re not interested in new customers or making money after the current older fans keeping the industry alive all pass away.

  21. Jason North says:

    Tony–You realize you just accused someone of being a bigot and in the same sentence made a blanket accusation about republicans based on your own biases, right?

    Sigh. No, of course you don’t.

  22. The one thing I’m interested in watching play out is how the various publishers deal with this. Will they take the Dark Horse route and create their own app and circumvent ComiXazon entirely or not? Marvel’s unlimited app is pretty sweet and could be a forerunner of the next big thing for digital comics.
    In all honesty, this kerfuffle didn’t surprise me and wasn’t unexpected. Amazon’s all about the “squeeze”. One button purchasing patent? Yeah, that took a lot of work. Was able to do the same basic thing using Hypercard in the late 80′s. If it wasn’t for loopholes in sales tax laws, Amazon (as it currently infests our existence) wouldn’t have been able to steamroll over small companies. And the way Amazon treats their warehouse workers… disgusting. But they get away with it. Like they will get away with killing the source of golden eggs.

  23. johnrobie says:

    Feeling some valdation that this latest move is verifying my ongoing assessment of the Comixology con men in these comment boards. When you always look at a corporation with rose colored glasses and allow them to become a monopoly with few questions asked (everything they do is private can’t reveal the terms, lots of non-investigative, all flattering pressetc) , this is the kind of stuff that happens.

    The way they are handling things, the Comixology website will soon look like an abandoned Miyazaki-style amusement park in MySpace land, with constantly rotating carousels featuring Fear Itself bundles, new 52 Super-Paks and the last of the one-eyed Watcher stories before Amazon finally pulls the plug and redirects everybody to the mother ship.

    To the Submit people, think bigger, sell your digital comics yourself and point everybody to a reader & storage sysyem everybody can use, Don’t fall for these kind of guys again though its totally understandable why people tried it. I doubt anybody made money and got little publicity for it. The most you should be paying a 3rd party is a processing fee to Paypal or Gumroad- in the 3-7% range, not 50%–70% of your income and exploitive contract terms. Anybody doing business in comics should be wary of the Comixology story. Much like they are the DC and Marvel story. They were running a racket by humoring all parties and now they are getting paid. The customers and creators are just the dupes at the end. It could be the people in the Comixology office that thought they were going to IPO one day too. The lesson of our times.

  24. This snuffs using Comixology for me. At this point, with the not-so-discounted digital issues in combination with the inconvenience of not being able to just hit the “Buy the next issue” button, I will be making the trek to the comics store and buy the issues on paper. I don’t trust Amazon to “hold on to” my digital goods for me. They’ve twice already deleted or “made unavailable” content I paid for and believe that I legally own. There’s just no re-course against them unless you own the actual object.

  25. Lorrie says:

    Can’t people visit the Comixology website via their phones? Why would they need to purchase from a computer, as Chris seems to be suggesting in his comment? I don’t know anything about Apple phones, do they not have a web browser?

  26. Randy Reynaldo says:

    Boy, it didn’t take long for Godwin’s Law to kick in!

    Like they say, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

  27. If amazon or comixology can think of a better way to distribute their ecomics to such a huge audience and on a better platform than through iTunes and various iPads or iPhones, then by all means pull the app and do it that way. Otherwise pay apple their cut and stop making it hard for customers to use the app. I can’t even log in anymore after the switch because I had signed in using my Apple ID .

  28. This is good news. I was about to spend up to 20 USD in digital comics to keep up with my he-man comics series in my ipad and I couldn’t… I whent to comixology website and the site everything was ok, so I thought my ipad needed somekind of update.
    I installed the new app and nothing, I couldn’t buy with it either… so I googled it and discover I only could buy it on the site.

    The thing is… I’m an impulse buyer and along the way of opening the website, downloading the new app, trying to buy from the app and then discovering I couldn’t I changed my mind. With 20 usd I can buy real and solid things and I have at least 100 things to buy and pay so Amazon just helped me saving about 20 to 30 USD I was about to spend on comixology

    Thank you AMAZON :D

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  1. […] announced a change to its iOS and Android apps that removed in-app purchasing functionality. You might have heard about it. In terms of fan reception, it registered about an 8 on the Affleck scale, and the aftershocks […]

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