Amazon Buys Comixology

Pretty scant on details; it'd be interesting if this adds comics to that Amazon Worlds thing.


  • Yeah, I've been reading the reaction to it.
    I'm okay with this -- so far.
    I'm just curious what will happen to Comixology's Submit program vs. Amazon's self-publishing program.
  • Yeah, I've been reading the reaction to it.
    I'm okay with this -- so far.
    I'm just curious what will happen to Comixology's Submit program vs. Amazon's self-publishing program.
    If it speeds the first up to the same time as the latter it's already a win.
  • edited April 2014
    My main concern is censorship.  Comixology already does it, largely because of its connections to Apple's ecosystem, which aren't going away.  Amazon already does it, with even more inconsistency and arbitrariness.  And that sort of thing tends to be additive: you don't get less censorship when there are multiple masters to serve, you get more.
  • @marioboon - Amen to that.

    @JasonAQuest - But yeah, that's a concern, especially with Amazon's history.

    That said...I don't think it's Comixology censoring anything, at this point. As far as I know, Apple has the final say on rejecting books or not if they're to be sold through an Apple-product app; Comixology then offers those through their site, which can then be downloaded into the Apple app. Apple's more like an LCS refusing to carry a book than Diamond not even offering it to them, to use a print analogy.

    There was that one Saga issue that they pre-emptively didn't offer until The Comics Internet yelled at them and they played it off as a big misunderstanding, but I've not heard of anything else where there wasn't a way to get any given book on any given device.

    (That said, I've no idea who's driving Miracleman being offered in Censored/Uncut versions like they were Dragonball Z VHS tapes, but I'd imagine it's Marvel doing that to duck Apple.)
  • edited April 2014
    Comixology has outright rejected two books Submit-ed by Dale Lazarov (the writer of the gay smut story I drew, which he was planning to add to the queue later).  No wink-nudge work-around to buy it on the web site instead of on your iPad, just a final: "nope", despite him jumping thru hoops to present the books discretely on the site (he literally hid the covers with brown paper bags). 

    He doesn't have a high-profile publisher like Image to go to bat for it and raise a stink, and it isn't like the ridiculous incidents where Comixology initially rejected books with just incidental male nudity and simply needed a "come on now" to fix it.  He's an independent creator of high-class erotica, and as far as Comixology was concerned, he could just go try his luck with, say ... Amazon.
  • Welp, shows what I know. That's basically crap of them, then.

    (I was going to ask "wait, is there any other erotica/smut on there?", but then I remembered how search bars work. If, say, Chester 5000* made the cut**, I got no idea what their criteria is.)

    *though not on an iPad search
    **no knock on that book, it was just the second smutty comic I could think of after XXXenophile
  • I'm a little nervous if Amazon is taking a cut - we already make so little from individual digital sales as it is, especially as independent creators - but if it helps to increase awareness and digital distribution, then I'm all for it. 
  • Comixology does allow some smut.  But not others.  It's totally arbitrary ... not even silly rules like the Hayes Code, that would allow a creator to self-censor and get distributed.  And with this merger, the only viable alternative is self-distribution (which has a host of its own challenges).
  • It probably won't be an additional cut for Amazon, just the Comixology cut being handled by Amazon's accountants.
  • When Amazon bought Book Depository there was a lot of discussion about whether that would effect the service (which competes directly with

    That was 2 years ago and so far I haven't noticed any changes.

    Amazon bought Goodreads one year ago, to similar consternation. Again, so far no actual change in service.

    I'd be surprised if Amazon suddenly started messing with Comixology. If precedent is anything to go by they are veeery slow to integrate, if they plan to integrate at all.
  • Image folks pipe up: 

    Now that Image is selling digital copies directly from their site, how do those digital sales compare to your comiXology digital sales?

    I'm not married to comiXology as a platform for selling digital comics, but as of now I've made a couple hundred dollars through their SUBMIT program and exactly $5 selling the exact same files on Gumroad. 
  • According the Eric Stephenson, the Image direct sales are a tiny fraction of the Comixology sales. As best i can recall, we've sold ONE book from the Image site.
  • For what it's worth: I bought the first issue of Sex Criminals on both Comixology and as an Image DRM-free PDF, viewed both on my iPad, and Comixology's, um, image quality was head and shoulders above the publisher's.

    By way of example: that splash where Suzie's floating around after Jon at the party while he recites Lolita? On Image's PDF, you couldn't actually see that her feet aren't touching the ground, on account of the PDF's...levels? contrast? (Jimmie, help) being skewed way dark, making her black stockings blend in with the dark brown floor.

    I'm not usually a snob about HD/standard def stuff, but it detracted enough from the scene that I've been sticking with Comixology (and trades) since.
  • edited April 2014
    As for Image's direct digital sales.... I don't think I've sold a single book.  Five Weapons is more of an all ages book and right now the bigger sales are with mature titles (I should bring Bomb Queen back, heh).

    And Bomb Queen isn't even offered digitally from Image, only Five Weapons.

    It makes me wonder what's going on because I recall signing an exclusivity deal with Comixology through Shadowline / Image for the digital rights.  Then Image started doing their own digital and now Amazon owns Comixology.  I'm not sure where my rights are at the moment.  But I'm not worried.

    As for the contrast problems... I don't know why such a difference would happen, except for the possibility of converting CMYK to RGB.  A computer monitor works in RGB, printing on paper is CMYK (no such thing as an RGB printing press).  I can only assume that the files were converted and if there was a heavy K (Black) percentage then it would be shared among the RGB spectrum, resulting in mud.

    Another possibility is that file size / resolution was high for printing (400 to 600 or higher) and it created a problem when converting to a PDF (which only needs to be 72 resolution at the lowest -- that's the standard resolution for computer monitors -- though I'm not sure how Apple's Retna display work).

    It all gets kinda fuzzy when so many factors are involved.

    Bottom line... Comixology HIRES people just to convert files and break them into *guided view* for the user.  Image (I assume) is only converting printing press files into PDFs.

    That's my best educated guess.
  • Yeah, if they're just using the printer-ready PDFs, but in RGB, that would explain it.

    Digital contract wise, my experience with most places has been it's usually an exclusive-format-non-exclusive-content deal; you can land your comic with as many digital publishers as you want, but Image couldn't offer the Comixology Guided View version of Five Weapons as their DRM-free download.
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