If you are looking to purchase new digital comics straight from your digital device this weekend, you are going to be greatly disappointed if you use comiXology as the company has removed in-app purchases.
When the Amazon/comiXology acquisition was officially announced many feared that it could lead to the end of in-app purchases due to Apple and Google receiving a percentage of each sale. As of this morning, that fear has become a reality as comiXology has launched a completely new app that will only allow users to download comics they have purchased through comixology.com.
If you go and open your comiXoloy app on your iOS device you will be greeted with a screen saying that the leading digital comics provider has created a new app and they want to tell you about it. Clicking on “Learn More” users will be instructed to sync all of their comics to the app, which I honestly do not understand, seeing as how the transition to the new app is inevitable. Users will still be able to use the old app (presumably for a short while) to read their comics, but, of course, will not be able to make any new purchases.
The old comiXology app does include a link to download the new app and once a user takes the few seconds to allow it to download, will be prompted to enter the username and password of their comiXology account. When the account is activated, users will see a similar design to the previous app but with a reduction in what they can do. On the bottom of the screen are tabs for “On Device”, “In Cloud”, “Search”, “More Books”, and “Downloads” once you find the comics you want to read in the “In Cloud” section.
This new app from comiXology appears to just be the “My Books” and “Purchased” section for the first app, at least from the iOS standpoint. Which I should clarify, this new app only pertains to iOS device users. Android users will only be prompted to update the comiXology app on their device. The changes made to this app removes the option to purchase comics in-app using Google Play, essentially removing the method in which Google would collect a piece of each transaction.
Removing in-app purchases from one of the largest grossing apps in the Apple App Store is really a bold move by Amazon/comiXology as it removes the option for readers to make impulse buys, which many do with the sales that comiXology runs each week. However, this might not all be bad.
If you followed any of Skullkickers creator Jim Zubb’s writing over the business of comics, you will know that he directed readers to go buy their digital comics straight from the comiXology website. In an article breaking down how the money from in-app purchased comics is spilt up, he showed that the creators of the work receive very little for each comic purchased. But, that percentage going to the creator could be increased if the 30% cut going to Apple or Google was removed, which is made possible by purchasing your comiXology comics straight from the website.
The big question is though, will the increased percentage from buying through the website outweigh the loss of sales due to removing in-app purchases? Only time will tell.
So, it seems that we didn’t need to wait months to see if changes would occur after Amazon acquired comiXology. What are you reactions to this huge change in which readers can acquire new comics each week? Are you ready to make your comic purchases solely through the comiXology website? Give all your thoughts in the comments below.
Oh, one more bright side: all previous comiXology app users do receive a $5 credit to their account. Have fun picking out which one Marvel book you want for free.