As the fallout from the Dark Horse digital initiative continues to blow like a glowing cloud over the internet, one other digital initiative has been trashed pretty thoroughly by a bunch of retailers in public and private: comiXology’s digital storefronts. The rollout of terms was poorly handled and pissed off a lot of retailers with fears that it was just a front for comiXology to get their customer information. Perhaps in light of this, comiXology has just made a lengthy release about the program’s first few months with news that money has been paid out early and at a lower minimum payment. Also a new TOS perhaps more to the liking of retailers will be released, along with other improvements. And the retailers that did use it have called it a big success.
100 stores — listed below — are taking part in the program. So — consider this a new sales pitch: “Take a look at me now.”
ComiXology is proud to announce their historic Retailer Digital Storefront program, enabling comic shop retailers to prosper from the sale of Digital Comics, is a resounding success. To thank the over 100 Digital Storefronts that participated in this historic digital/brick & mortar partnership, comiXology, along with their Digital Storefront implementation partner ICv2, has now made two months of Retailer Digital Storefront payments one month earlier and at a dramatically lower threshold than promised.
"The retailers who participated in this program really are the unsung heroes here," said David Steinberger, cofounder and CEO of comiXology. “Not only did we have a compressed time frame to implement the Retailer Digital Storefront program, but we were not allowed the luxury to beta test in the way we would have liked. But through thick and thin these stores stood by us and we really wanted to go out of our way to thank them for their support. We’re cooking with gas now and we couldn’t have done it without them."
In direct response to feedback from retailers across the nation, soon comiXology will be rolling out a new Terms of Service (T.O.S.) agreement for the Digital Storefront program with language that is in better alignment with comiXology’s commitment to servicing brick and mortar retailers. ComiXology expects to see an uptick in new Digital Storefronts when the new T.O.S. is released.
In addition, the last several weeks have seen comiXology quietly make a series of improvements to Retailer Digital Storefronts, including:
- Improved retailer branding
- Improved retailer side reporting
- Expanded customer information for retailers
- Streamlined set-up
“This is a great program and getting better all the time," said John Roberts, co-founder and CTO of comiXology. “We received a ton of harsh criticism out of the gate, but that happens any time people try to make big changes in business. Bridging the digital divide for comic shop retailers has always been at the heart of who comiXology is as a company. People don’t remember that we started the company in 2007 offering our ‘Pull List’ service for retailers. Comic shops are a hugely important part of our business and will continue to be a huge part of comiXology in the future.”“ComiXology was the only company that could roll out a program for comic retailers to earn money from digital sales during this huge surge of new interest in comics,” said Milton Griepp, CEO of ICv2, which is assisting comiXology with its retailer programs. “Although the fast launch wasn’t easy, it was great to be part of something that can revolutionize the way comic stores serve their customers. This program is in its infancy and there are huge opportunities for everyone as it grows.”
Announced in January and implemented in advance of the launch of DC’s The New 52 this past August, the Digital Storefront program enables retailers to sell digital comics with a simple integration into their existing site while tapping into comiXology’s vibrant digital marketplace. Comic book fans are now able to purchase digital comics online from their local comic store’s digital storefront with a portion of each purchase going directly to the retailer.
ComiXology heard many success stories and positive comments from participating retailers across the nation:
“The Retailer Digital Storefront has performed beyond my wildest expectations! We here at Comics Conspiracy went out of our way to really promote the digital storefront outside our regular customer base and it paid off tremendously. I can see this becoming a steady part of my revenue stream in the future." – Ryan Higgins, Comic Conspiracy in Sunnyvale, CA.
"We’ve spent more than 30 years showing our in-store and mail order customers that we’re their best source for comics of all ages and types. With that in mind, it only made sense for us to partner with comiXology, offering our customers access to digital comics via our online storefronts at both our MyComicShop Website, our Web store, and on the Website for Lone Star Comics, our brick and mortar stores in Texas.” – Chris Powell, Lone Star Comics and MyComicShop.com in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.
"My customers and I are loving the new comiXology Digital Storefronts — what a great team-up! It’s pretty much effortless to set up, runs like a charm, and gives us analog retailers the power to provide our customers with all the preferred funnybook formats of their choosing. That is a beautiful thing. And hey… don’t feel guilty about loving comics on your iPad. Feel great you can shop for those comics at a place like the Isotope!" – James Sime, Isotope in San Francisco, CA.
“Several of our older and long time customers had decided that digital comics were for them. Some had space issues but still wanted to follow their favorite characters. With Digital Storefront I was able to keep long-time customers and help solve their storage issue. I’m surprised at the number of customers local and far flung that like buying digital while supporting their favorite local comic shop.” – Keith Colvin, Keith’s Comics in Dallas, TX.
“At Challengers, we’re in the business of selling comics. ComiXology helps us do just that. Our comiXology customers use it to supplement their established comic-buying habits, meaning they buy digital comics in addition to print comics, not in place of. We don’t understand the retailers who are ‘afraid’ of digital sales. Who’s afraid of making more money?” – Patrick Brower, Challengers Comics + Conversation in Chicago, IL.
“Samurai Comics was very excited to be among the first stores to go live with the comiXology Digital Storefront. The Digital Storefront has been a great added value for our customers. We viewed having another revenue stream of comic books sales that we have no money locked up in inventory costs as a tremendous opportunity. Rather than have our customer go elsewhere if they want to purchase a digital version of a comic, we would rather have them purchase a copy through us where we get a percentage of the sale. This also enables us to reach out to these customers to offer them incentives to visit one of our stores.” – Michael Banks, Samurai Comics in Phoenix, AZ.
All digital purchases are compatible with the Comics by comiXology platform, providing fans the ability to enjoy their comics on their mobile devices (iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire) and on the Web at their retailer’s websites by way of cross-platform synchronization.
ComiXology’s Retailer Digital Storefronts have brought together participating publishers DC Comics, Image, Dynamite, BOOM! Studios, and many others, along with retailers that sell their comics in print, and their fans in the digital space — strengthening the relationships that have so successfully made comics a major force in world culture.
To request more information about the Digital Storefront program, retailers can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.