For the last two years, people have been buying comics like they do their music — in pajamas (optional), on a tablet, and mostly through a specific app called Comixology. Not unlike iTunes, Comixology allowed readers to search and buy comics with a flick of the finger, saving a trip to the brick and mortar store and (more importantly) possible embarrassment from looking like a comics newbie.
Comixology began showing its dominance in the app market place at the beginning of 2011. By September, it was in the top ten of the highest-grossing apps in the App store, and remained in that upper echelon for the next two years. In 2013, the company announced that it was the top-grossing non-game iPad app for the year. So it wasn’t a huge surprise when Amazon announced it was buying Comixology last month.
As with many acquisitions, neither company really spelled out what that meant for consumers.
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The Verge’s Adi Roberton was told by Comixology that the app would remain safe, even unchanged. Robertson reported:
A Comixology spokesperson confirmed that its brand and apps aren’t going away in the foreseeable future, saying that the companies would likely find ways to make Comixology and Kindle work better together.
On Saturday, users found that Amazon had gutted the app, killed one-touch buying, and in doing so, alienated publishers and rabid readers alike.
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Amazon’s changes mean buying a comic is now a tedious, multi-step process with logins, account creations, and is done through a web browser. The original app is now more or less just a fancy PDF reader for all the comics that clients have already purchased.
Link to the rest at Vox
PG claims little expertise in the world of apps, but understands this change (which applies to iPad and iPhone users only) is because Apple won’t allow apps sold through iTunes to implement in-app purchases unless those purchases pass through Apple, which takes 30% of the purchase price.
Amazon is not inclined to process content sales through Apple because of the 30% fee but also, more importantly (PG suspects), because Amazon generates a lot of additional sales based on the customer data it captures through direct sales. Apple doesn’t pass any customer data to the owners of apps (just like Amazon doesn’t pass any customer data to the people and business who sell direct on Amazon).
It’s an indication of how valuable customer data is to Amazon that it’s willing to irritate current Comixology purchasers with iPads by removing in-app purchasing.
At the risk of triggering an avalanche from Apple fanbois and fangurlz, PG humbly reminds them that Android tablets, including Amazon’s Kindle Fire, are very nice devices these days and typically cost a lot less than iPads.
PG seems to remember reading that the Fire HDX has a higher-res screen than the latest iPads which would seem to benefit comics readers.