When it was announced that Amazon had acquired digital comics retailer Comixology, we knew there would probably be some changes coming down the pipe, and the first have arrived. They finally updated the front page of PullList.Comixology.com! Just kidding, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who’s excited about that. What really happened was that they released a new version of their iOS app that removes the ability to make in-app purchases of comics.
Chip Mosher, Comixology VP, spoke to Comic Book Resources, stressing the advantages of forcing iOS users to shop directly from Comixology.com:
Because of the content restrictions our mobile partners have, shopping on the web provides even greater selection of comic books and graphic novels. iOS customers will now be able to save money with comiXology’s exclusive web-only bundles, take advantage of subscription features and enjoy eGift cards. We also made our website more tablet/mobile friendly on all devices to make the purchasing process that much easier. And in Safari on iOS, customers can easily save a shortcut to our webstore with the “Add to Home Screen” feature.
Mosher characterized the move as merely aligning Comixology with Amazon.com’s purchasing model for the Kindle, but refused to comment on whether these changes were part and parcel with Amazon’s acquisition deal, or whether there were any other changes in store resulting from the deal. Amazon and Apple have had a fierce competitor relationship in the digital publishing market, and neither of them have an exactly sterling reputation. Amazon has been known to bully smaller publishers into lowering their eBook pricing, Apple’s been found guilty of colluding to price fix ebooks with several other retailers in a suit levied by the Department of Justice (the announcement of which prompted Amazon to immediately lower prices on its eBooks by up to 30% in some cases). The removal of iOS users’ in-app ability to buy what’s now an Amazon product, adding an extra hurdle for iOS users alone, is somewhat parallel to Target coincidentally removing Kindle’s from their stores after engaging in a partnership with Apple.
The good news, at least, is that in addition to saving a Safari shortcut to Comixology on the homescreen, iOS users may also still access Comixology in app when using third party digital comics apps, such as the official DC, Marvel, Image, and Vertigo iOS apps. At least for now. Comic Book Resources reached out to comics publishers whose apps use Comixology, but as yet have only received confirmation from Boom! Studios.
(via Comic Book Resources.)