If you don't read your comics in digital fashion, last week's announcement tha..."/> If you don't read your comics in digital fashion, last week's announcement tha..."/>

What Amazon’s Purchase Of ComiXology Means For Digital Comics Readers


If you don’t read your comics in digital fashion, last week’s announcement that Amazon was acquiring comiXology probably wasn’t a big deal to you. Inside the industry though, it’s huge news with the potential to shake up the both the number of people consuming digital comics and the ways in which they have access to them.

That first part is obvious. When it comes to exposure, few companies can offer it to any product the way Amazon can. As Jeff Gomez of Business Insider explains, just putting digital comics on the front page of Amazon.com exposes them to millions of people who wouldn’t ordinarily give them a second thought, or even know they’re out there, quite frankly.

The more interesting parts of Gomez’s musings are about how the audience for comics might continue to involve if Amazon can succeed in getting more people to try them. More female readers, more younger readers — these would both be welcome developments, ones that the comic book industry has not had much success in aiding on its own. Of course if you’re a longtime fan like me, you’ve heard lip service paid to these ideas before, but the difference is that Amazon actually has the potential to make them a reality.

When it comes to the short-term effects of the deal and the impact on current readers of digital comics, it sounds like not too much will change. There are no changes planned to the comiXology Retailer Tools or Digital Storefronts for physical retailers, meaning people will use comiXology’s services — including the technology that powers both the Marvel and DC digital comics apps — won’t notice much of anything. The acquisition also can bring some peace of mind to readers who worry about what happens to the rights to digital comics purchased through comiXology if the company ever went out of business. No worries now, as Amazon isn’t going anywhere.

Of course, some people simply won’t care for Amazon having one of its many tentacles get an even tighter grip on the world of comics. That’s understandable, and more than one internet commenter had pointed out the potential for Amazon to have a monopoly on the distribution of digital comics the same way Diamond does (for all intents and purposes) over physical comics. Those are valid concerns, but there are a lot of good things that can come out of the deal, not the least of which is more people reading comics. If it takes Amazon to make that happen, I’m all for it.