Amazon Gets Into the Comic Book Business, Buys ComiXology

By April 10, 2014
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After highly publicized efforts to get into practically every facet of the entertainment business, from original television series, movie streaming, the highly popular Kindle eReader family, and a new TV set-top box, Amazon is adding yet another entertainment form to its arsenal: this time, in the specialized comic book business. An announcement today via the CEO of digital comics distributor ComiXology reveals that Amazon has bought the online comic book store outright.

ComiXology is the leader in digital comics sales, featuring new releases from every major publisher including DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, IDW, BOOM!, and many others. It’s available through any internet browser that navigates to ComiXology.com, as well as on a multitude of mobile device platforms like Apple’s iOS, Android, and Windows.

For the past several years, comic book industry insiders and analysts have wondered exactly how long the industry can persist as a print medium. While comic book sales haven’t seen as significant a decline as newspapers and other kinds of magazines, many of these concerns were re-ignited when it was announced that both major publishers, Marvel and DC, would be moving to a “day-and-date digital” model. This basically means that a digital copy of a comic book would be released on the same day as its print counterpart, which called the medium’s print future into doubt. While exact digital sales numbers haven’t been released, print sales have been relatively steady, and had even spiked in the wake of prominent relaunches by DC (The New 52) and Marvel (Marvel NOW!).

With Amazon’s acquisition of ComiXology, it may be likely to see greater integration between the digital comics provider and the Kindle family, though ComiXology CEO David Steinberger ended his announcement letter by saying, “ComiXology will retain its identity as an Amazon subsidiary and we’re not anywhere near done ‘taking comics further.’ We are confident that – with Amazon by our side, who shares our desire for innovation and a relentless focus on customers – we’ve only just begun.” Certainly with the weight of a corporate heavyweight like Amazon now behind them, it becomes more likely that ComiXology, and digital comics in general, may receive greater prominence in the overall industry.

This should be great news for anyone who prefers reading their comics in the undoubtedly convenient digital format. If you tend to prefer print comics, then the best thing you can do is simply continue to support your local comics retailer.

Here’s the relevant info from the official press release:

Amazon.com to Acquire comiXology

SEATTLE—April 10, 2014—(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon.com today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire comiXology, the company that revolutionized the digital comics reading experience with their immersive Guided View technology and makes discovering, buying, and reading comic books and graphic novels easier and more fun than ever before.

“ComiXology’s mission is to spread the love of comics and graphic novels in all forms,” said David Steinberger, co-founder and CEO of comiXology. “There is no better home for comiXology than Amazon to see this vision through. Working together, we look to accelerate a new age for comic books and graphic novels.”

“Amazon and comiXology share a passion for reinventing reading in a digital world,” said David Naggar, Amazon Vice President, Content Acquisition and Independent Publishing. “We’ve long admired the passion comiXology brings to changing the way we buy and read comics and graphic novels. We look forward to investing in the business, growing the team, and together, bringing comics and graphic novels to even more readers.”

Founded in 2007, comiXology offers a broad library of digital comic book content from over 75 of the top publishers as well as top independent creators. Following the acquisition, comiXology’s headquarters will remain in New York.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Subject to various closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation, Batman-On-Film.com, The Huffington Post, and Movies.com. He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.
  • It’ll definitely be interesting to look back in a few years and see if this was a major step toward the death of retail comic book shops. I hope it isn’t, but Amazon certainly knows how to disrupt traditional ways of doing things…