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.

via comiXology


About Author

Zach is a recent college graduate who’s love for consuming media is surpassed only by his love for creating it. He has a firm belief that if we could all just play with LEGOs for 30 minutes a day the world would be a better place. If those two statements don’t tell you everything you need to know about Zach, follow him on Twitter at @zwoolf.


  1. Terry Keller on

    Well, that did not take long. I hope this does not make it harder to buy the comics on my iPad. Adding extra steps is going to be a problem.

  2. I used the comixology page to shop from already, because it was cheaper than bying from the app here in Denmark. The change isn’t that big a deal for me, but I’m not that happy with the switch to a new app, because I either have to download all my comics again, or switch between two apps.

    The thing that really pisses me off, is that they make the change with no warning at all. Not that I’m that surprised, Amazon.co.uk pulled a similar stunt this month, and removed the free delivery for a lot of EU countries.

    Maybe it’s just Amazon’s new style, not being that customer friendly anymore.

    Disclaimer: English isn’t my first language. :)

  3. Malone_hasco on

    This was expected, made my purchases a little more inconvenient in a heartbeat. Also, my country was in Amazon UK:s free delivery cut list. All in all, they manged to lose lots of good will in my eyes and became just another scummy corporation. Until now, I always had only good to say about Amazon, but not anymore.

  4. Since I have to use my wife’s tablet to read digital comics I make all my purchases via the website (pc) so this doesn’t effect me that much. If, on the other hand, I was buying all my stuff through the app this would definitely be more inconvenient. Hopefully Amazon, with their infinite power, will come up with a way to make in-app purchases soon. I did like getting 5 bucks free that I just used to buy the first 5 issues of Superior Spiderman.

  5. The sound and fury over this is incredible. Sure, amazon’s top priority MAY be protecting its kindle tablet. Who knows.

    The fact is that 1/3 of the purchase price of every comic sold used to go to a middleman who merely provided a shortcut to the point of purchase.

    Now, as Chris Roberson has confirmed, more profit will reach the creators. That’s the end of discussion for me. I’d rather see money in their pockets than Apple. I mean seriously: the app let you bypass a couple of mouse clicks and that entitles apple to one third of the sale? THATS upsetting to me.
    Surely amazon will take their cut, but I’m fine with that, as long as profits are also passed to the artists.

    I always purchase through the website anyway. I prefer to browse the site, add books to my cart, and check out all at once. There’s also no sales tax.

    The sky isn’t falling. Sure corporations are greedy but that’s not news. I expect this to go pretty smoothly once everyone’s dander settles.

    That said, everyone go check out dark horse digital this weekend. They are having a 50% off anniversary sale.

  6. I don’t even think I had finished reading the article announcing that they were acquired by Amazon before I realized this was coming.

    However, I had no idea it would happen so soon!

    What the hell are they thinking? You can’t even buy comics with your Amazon account yet! I’m not giving them my credit card! That would be just one more company to hack and get it.

    This sucks.

  7. Wow that escalated quickly. After the announcement of the acquisition this was not a surprise and now I foresee a obvious down tick in sales for them.

    But honestly hope that it doesn’t because having creators get a slightly higher piece of that pie would be awesome.

  8. I rarely ever purchased any comics via iTunes. I used my app to see if there are any books on sale.

    I would use the link via DCBS digital store (5% back on all purchase to be used towards my hard copy orders). I would also use the ComiXology website for their web-only special.

    Apparently, Apple does not have a requirement to have an in-store option attached to the app. Or do they? Who is digital comic guru at Major Spoilers?

  9. On a positive note, I was getting tired of comics Apple found offensive not being available from the IOS app. At least now by using a single market place, I will be able to see everything that is truly available that week.

  10. While the article from Jim Zub is dated, the graphic indicates that Amazon’s profit nearly doubles from taking Apple/Google out of the equation. That’s a lot of buffer for any decrease in sales that might be caused by the change.

    The potential major issue here is how Apple will react. This will cause a relatively noticeable dip for in-app purchase revenue for Apple. (Relatively, because it is Apple). Apple could determine that too much of their resources are being used to facilitate Amazon’s profit without any compensation. They could easily block the Comixology app from Apple devices altogether.

    The fact that Amazon had some success with this tactic with their ebooks may indicate that Apple won’t push back, and this may be the end of the matter. However, if I were placing bets, my money would be on some type of push from Apple that leads to some sort of compensation for Apple, which may or may not mean a return to in-app purchases.

    I don’t think Google has the same potential problem, as I don’t believe there is nearly as significant a loss occurring for Google Play sales.

    Either way, I don’t expect much, if any, of that extra piece of pie to go to creators until the dust has settled. Even then, I would not expect more than a 5-8% shift if Amazon does manage to keep it all, and that will probably be split by creator’s and publishers at that.

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