When Amazon purchased leading digital comics provider Comixology and subsequently removed in-app purchases from Comixology on iOS devices to avoid paying Apple a 30% cut, the big question was whether Apple would notice and act or not. Motley Fool has a typical think piece on the matter here.
While Comixology absolutely put digital comics on the Apple map—CX was the #1 grossing non-game app on iPads, and Apple had definitely started chatting up some digital comics content providers—the total amount of money involved may not have been a painful loss to Apple. For instance, using back of the envelope math, Motley Fool guess that digital comics were a $75 million a year business, and Apple’s cut of that would be $22.5 million. Not exactly chump change, but really little more milk money for the oft inscrutable behemoth that is Apple.
However, a Beat correspondent just forwarded a promotional email from iBooks with the headline “Comics: Injustice Issues Free + Series Starters” which offers an iBook store deal on Injustice Among Us, which has been one of the top selling digital comics for months and months. As you can see from the screen shot, Apple is offering the first issues of both Injustice and Injustice Year Two as “jump on” issues. They also have special “starter” sections for Marvel, Dark Horse and IDW— all publishers with their own apps run via Comixology. Here’s the hype:
The DC Universe goes through a seismic shift after Superman faces a shocking tragedy. In this popular series, the last son of Krypton enforces peace on Earth by any means necessary, forcing the world’s heroes to decide if they’re with him — or against him.
Get the first issues of both Injustice and Injustice: Year Two free for a limited time.
Individual issues of Injustice are still 99 cents. Graphic novels are at the ebook price, not the Amazonian deep discounts. So yeah maybe Apple wants to stay in the comics sale game?
That potential $22.5 million in revenue may not even be the biggest enticement for Apple to get into the game via iBooks, but rather the chance to stick it to rival Amazon. In the wake of the Comixology/Amazon deal, we hear publishers are looking for other e-outlets in at least a casual fashion, and Apple would make a pretty good replacement date for the tablet prom. And a war to see who could sell more digital comics between Amazon and Apple, would be pretty much a dream scenario for any medium.
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.