Home News Business News The first week for Amazon’s new Comixology storefront and app wasn’t pretty

The first week for Amazon’s new Comixology storefront and app wasn’t pretty

Longtime comiXology users met the changes to the platform with a resounding mixture of anger and confusion.

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Since Amazon subsumed the comiXology website this past week, the internet has exploded with reactions to the new digital storefront, with an overwhelming majority of people agreeing that the changes were poorly implemented. The Beat‘s Dean Simons and I composed our own thoughts about the ‘team-up’ last week prior to the changes, but now that everything has live the public has had a chance to share their own reactions to the new “comics shopping experience,” and people are not happy.

Here’s a sampling of the reactions from comics pros and fellow journalists:

Even comedian and well-known comic fan Patton Oswalt weighed in on the changes, giving some much needed love and attention to the smaller publishers who would be affected:

The whole situation appears to have left comiXology users some combination of angry and confused. Angry that the digital reading experience is poorer now than it’s ever been and that some of the books they spent their hard-earned cash on are no longer available at all. And confused as to why Amazon would make any changes at all when they already had a perfectly good platform in place. What testing went into this ahead of time? Who were the testers? It seems clear it wasn’t anyone actually using Comixology on a regular basis. And most importantly, how will these changes impact digital readership, both new and returning, going forward?

A few days after the changes took place in the app and on the desktop, comiXology CEO David Steinberger sent the following email out to users of the old website:

Hello comics fan,

As you may have seen, I announced our team-up with Amazon and some big changes to your Comixology experience.

I know when apps I love change, that new experience can be a little jarring at first. More updates are coming and we thank you for coming on this journey with us!

We gave the app a complete overhaul, but fear not, the best digital comics reading experience isn’t going anywhere. You can now experience all the improvements we’ve made, such as:

    • Faster downloads
    • Improved filter, sort, and search, to find your next read faster and easier
    • Read comics borrowed through Comixology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited and Prime programs for free (Amazon Prime members can borrow comics through Prime Reading, a program benefit available to Prime customers)
    • Dynamic library cover sizes via pinching & zooming (it’s pretty fun, give it a try)

If you have auto-updates on your phone, your app may have already updated. If you don’t, then go to the app store (iOSAndroidFOS) and update to version 4.0. Keep in mind that if you have a large library it may take some time for all of your books to load into the new library after you upgrade your app.

In addition to the updated app, web and iOS purchasing will take place on Amazon.com. Android and Fire OS customers can continue to shop in-app or on the Amazon store.

With today’s launch, comixology.com is redirecting to a shopping experience on Amazon.com. With this new store, several new features have launched:

    • With membership, borrow books from Comixology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading
    • Price protection guarantee on pre-orders and series subscriptions
    • Even better personalized recommendations based on your purchase, browse, and borrow history

The Comixology team is already hard at work making the experience even better. Stay tuned to our social channels as we discuss our upcoming improvements to the app and shopping experience. Please follow Comixology on social media (TwitterFacebook, or Instagram) and feel free to reach out to our amazing customer service team or reach out to us on Twitter if you need a hand.

Interested in learning more? Visit our FAQ page for more details.

(Ed. Note: Was anyone clamoring for “Dynamic library cover sizes”? Must’ve missed that Twitter discourse. -JG)

While I don’t think this addresses any of the issues, I am hoping that Steinberger and the comiXology team really are hard at work trying to build the service back up. Amazon looks to have pulled the rug right out from under them, and it doesn’t appear as though they had as much of a hand in the new store as Amazon might like the public to believe. I’ve noticed that the comiXology support account on Twitter has been sending out conflicting information on how to use their own site, so it doesn’t seem to make any sense to send complaint after complaint to the poor person running the account.

I have seen a good deal of people say “Oh, just go to your local comics shop” or “this is why I only buy physical,” but the fact of the matter is that it can be much harder for some to get out to comics shops or order physical issues online. Whether it be because they are differently abled or the cost of shipping is too much, there are a myriad of reasons why some people use digital over physical. It doesn’t help anyone to act high and mighty about it, so please respect other people’s decisions on how they choose to read comics.

I’m not too hopeful that we’ll see any significant changes to comiXology in the near future (since Amazon doesn’t seem to care all that much about comics, digital or physical), but I do think that we will eventually see some updates and improvements. Whether or not the website will ever reach the functionality of the old site remains to be seen, but we’ll keep you posted here on The Beat.

11 COMMENTS

  1. The faster downloads thing just rubs me wrong when we’ve seen evidence that the files are at least twice as big in a number of cases and the quality appears to be less.

  2. This is such a disaster! I have a little bit of credit left on my Amazon gift card balance, and I am finishing it this week. Once it is done, all digital comics will be purchased directly from publisher, bypassing Amazon altogether! This sh-tshow was totally inexcusable, esp. for a billion dollar company such as this!

  3. Thank you for acknowledging that going back to physical isn’t a great option for some of us. I just don’t have the space for physical copies anymore. I like the experience of physical, but it doesn’t fit into my life now. So I desperately hope this situation gets improved.

  4. Also, I haven’t canceled subscriptions yet, but if i keep getting emails about my upcoming pre-order for every issue, I totally will. Hoping those are one time per series things.

  5. I bought digital comics because they were easier to read after my eye surgeries. Since the update I can’t increase panel size enough for them to be readable. Amazon’s suggestion to just send them to a Kindle is useless — I own a Kindle Paperwhite. That means my comics library would only be seen in black and white and still can’t be expanded enough to read.

  6. From Germany:
    – The link to the German Kindle website is basically a link to an undistinguished Kindle Shop, so useless.
    – They kept my Wishlist in Amazon, let’s hope they at least occasionally still implement sales and special offers or they’re frankly all too expensive.
    – Luckily I can still read the comics I already own through the Comixology app, which has a few new Kindle-based feature but still remains largely the same reading experience.
    – Unfortunately, there’s no archive anymore, so the books I archived are back in my massive library.
    – Previously purchased DRM-free are still available, so I’ll try and download them to an external drive before they get around to screwing that up too.
    To sum up:
    – Amazon ruined the online comics shopping experience for me.
    – On the plus side: They saved me a lot of time and money. I suppose I should be thankful more than anything.

  7. I mostly buy paper comics at the shop, but over the last few years I’ve been using Comixology more and more to read older comics. Especially the really old stories that are prohibitively expensive to buy in physical form. It’s been a fun way to reconnect with the history of the medium. But I guess that’s over for now.

    Comixology is pretty much dead until they can roll the changes back or come up with some kind of fixes. I can’t imagine anyone buying comics on the new site. Their revenue must be zero right now.

  8. As a South African I just can’t afford to buy print comics. Any print comics available to me here are imported and therefore SUPER expensive. Digital is really my only viable option. The fact that my Wishlist is gone is what annoys me the most though, but also the fact that there is no way to add items to a shopping cart is just absurd. If I’m buying 20 $1 issues together but one at a time then my bank will automatically cancel my card and that leaves me completely stuck. What is the point of removing the shopping cart?! How does this help anyone? And I’m rather concerned now that issues may have disappeared from my library. I haven’t noticed anything specifically but with several thousand books in there it’s possible things have slipped through the cracks. Have people noticed many books disappearing?

  9. ” Whether it be because they are differently abled” Thank you, this is me, last year I had a stroke and mobility is an issue. Also I have used up my time off and fighting insurance over short term benefits. During rehab comixology helped me from eating a bullet. Not anymore.

  10. None of you actually bought anything. You were simply renting and Amazon just revoked your library card. I’m pretty certain they made sure none of that is actionable. Good thing I never gave up on paper.

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