I love digital comics for what they do for my ability to read back issues, try out new series, and get caught up on old. But there’s always that little consumer worry in the back of my head: what I’m trading for this convenience is that technically I’m renting those comics, not buying them. No more, says Comixology. Kinda.
Comixology worked on the same principles that Amazon has for many Kindles, and that iTunes used to have with music on the iTunes store: you can download to a mobile device, but don’t expect to be making local copies, local backups, or sharing files with to your friends’ devices. And hope that the place doesn’t go out of business, change the rules, or ban you from the service: there goes your library. It was the uncomfortable reality that you dealt with for the convenience of digital access to millions of comics. But no longer! Comixology now offers what it refers to as a “backup” service, that allows you to download and save DRM free .PDF and .CBZ files to the hard drive of any computer.
Essentially: now you can buy a comic and instead of having to depend on internet access to read it in a browser, or download it to a mobile device to read it when you don’t have internet, you can keep all your comics files on your hard drive. …for a given value of all. Where that value is most. Ok, some. So far, Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Zenescope Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent, and Top Shelf Productions are the only comics publishers who have taken Comixology up on offering the new service. (The many artists who self publish digitally on Comixology can also opt into the program for their readers.) For this superhero heavy reader, that means that of a library of nearly one thousand titles, a whopping seventeen are available for DRM free download. Not particularly ideal. But better than it was yesterday. Comixology’s official answer to fans waiting for DC or Marvel or Dark Horse to opt in?
Boy howdy, that would be great! It’s up to the publishers to offer DRM-free backups of their books, so let them know you want them! :-)
Well, folks, it is San Diego Comic-Con. Go let ’em know!
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