There's iVerse, but their way of "competing" is pretty poor. Why not have a strong web store, when Dark Horse and Comixology do?
Because this purchase is just a pawn in the hardware war that Amazon is at with Apple and every other ebook reader, it will be harder to read comics on other platforms as a result of this.
Gerry Conway has a nice take on it:http://comicbook.com/blog/2014/04/27/gerry-conway-the-comixology-outrage/
Impulse buys are crucial to hooking new readers to new books. I bought my first comic by impulse at a candy store around the corner from my parents’ apartment in Brooklyn in 1961. (Yes, I’m very old. Age makes me cranky sometimes but it also gives me perspective born of experience.)
fantastic-four-no-4-1961That initial impulse purchase was Fantastic Four #4, and after devouring it I rushed back to the store where, surprise, issue #3 just happened to still be on sale. Bought it too, and I was hooked. From then on I bought every comic I could find with a superhero on the cover, along with tons of other comics with science fiction themes, or pure adventure, or even some with Ducks. I became a regular reader because the store was right there, on the corner, and it was easy. It had to be easy because comics were simple, quick fun — candy for the mind, a quick fix of entertainment. You don’t make quick entertainment hard to access. You may it simple and easy — an impulse buy.
Comixology’s in-App storefront did that. It provided quick and easy access to comics from the majors to the indies, one-stop shopping at the point of sale, at the moment where the customer is most vulnerable to the casual pitch: while he or she is actually reading a comic, and is in the comic-reading frame of mind, and is mildly (or intensely) interested in another nibble of brain-candy.
By forcing readers to leave the app and go searching the Comixology website, add books to a cart, process the cart, return to the app, activate download, and wait for their purchases to appear, Comixology has replaced what was a quick, simple, intuitive impulse purchase experience with a cumbersome multi-step process that will provide multiple opportunities along the path for the casual reader to think twice and decide, ah, never mind, I don’t really want to try that new book after all. I’ll stick with what I know. Or worse, when a new casual reader opens the Comixology app for the first time and sees that THERE ARE NO COMICS THERE, and that he or she will have to exit the app and go somewhere else and sign up for a new account, maybe he or she won’t bother buying a comic in the first place.
This is a disaster.
So why did Comixology do this? Why did they take a successful platform with a proven track record for introducing new casual readers to comics, and turn it upside down?
The answer, of course, is simple. Comixology didn’t do it, because Comixology as a company no longer exists. It’s a software product and a website; it isn’t an independent entity anymore.
DC Comics Amazon StoreAmazon did this. It did it for one reason, and one reason only: to advance their proprietary hardware platform, the Kindle, at the expense of Apple’s platform, the iPad and iPhone. They have deliberately degraded the iPad and iPhone Comixology app so that users of the Kindle will have a better reading and purchasing experience. That’s all this is about. They’ve destroyed the future of digital comics to give an advantage to their hardware platform — and, in passing, to leverage their control of digital comics distribution to do to comic book stores what they’ve already done to brick-and-mortar book stores.
Now, I’ve heard some folks say that Amazon is just trying to avoid paying Apple’s “greedy 30% fee” for in-app purchases. This is such nonsense it almost doesn’t require a response, because there are people out there who have a knee-jerk reaction against Apple that goes beyond critical thinking, but in the hopes of reaching more open-minded readers who might be tempted by that argument, let me address it.
Apple charges 30% for in-app purchases of eBooks, music, video, games. Amazon charges 30% for digital distribution of eBooks, music, video, games. Same deal. Period.
There’s a long and fruitless debate to be had over whether or not Apple “deserves” to make a profit off its App Store. Anti-Apple deniers say no, and their arguments usually boil down to just a dislike of Apple making a profit (or what they consider a “greedy” profit). The fact is, Apple provides a storefront for developers to sell their apps, and as any store owner would, asks for a piece of the money the developers make as a result. Mall owners ask store owners to pay rent. It’s a normal business transaction. Happens every day. Apple’s App Store provides developers with access, and gives them three ways to pay for the privilege: developers can charge for the app directly (and Apple takes a cut, 30%, same as Amazon); developers can provide the app for “free” and Apple will place ads in the app (ad-supported payment, like Google search); or developers can offer in-app purchases (and Apple takes their 30% cut, one step removed).