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Discussion in 'Comic Book Culture' started by John Pannozzi, Apr 10, 2014.
This would be great if it means that I can buy single issues straight from Amazon.com
If they tie it into Prime and have a free comic book service like video streaming, I'd be overjoyed.
But wait, isn't that Marvel already has with it's "Digital Comics Unlimited"? "Amazon Prime" is kind of like Netflix (which is kind of like "Marvel Digital Unlimited"): you have access to anything in the library as long as you pay your yearly (or monthly) fee. Still, have to admit, with Amazon behind Comixology, this has potential...
Shawn Hopkins isn't too happy about the app changes, which just came into effect.
I have a Kindle, so the app change doesn't affect me. The only thing that happened is that I got a $5 gift card, so I'm happy about that.
I can understand why Amazon did it. Why give 30% to Apple? I'd imagine creators would be happy since Comixology already takes a cut. Now they can get that extra money themselves.
Anyway, does anyone here have an iPad and had to change their app? I'm wondering because there seems to be a lot of hysterics on message boards right now and it's hard to tell what's fact and what's overreaction.
First, did people have to reload all their comics back onto their iPad? If anyone here did, I can sympathize. This week, my Dark Horse app decided it didn't want to download any new comics, so I had to reinstall it and download all my books again. I kept getting an error with the app install and, until all was said and done, it took 2 hours to get everything straightened out.
Secondly, did they do away with the one-click purchase completely, or did they link it to your Amazon account like the Kindle app?
Yes, you have to redownload all your comics if you want them in the new app.
There's no one-click and no link with Amazon, just the cumbersome website and its cart system. Just so we're clear, there's no store at all in the new app. Just as on iOS there's no store in the Kindle app.
I would not automatically assume ComiXology is passing on the whole 30 percent to publishers.
I've never bothered with the app, since I've heard there are problems and glitches with it. I just use the website--it's easy to navigate and hasn't changed at all.
I've used the app for years. It wasn't too glitchy, and it wasn't hard to navigate. It was one of the better-designed apps on iOS. The website has changed over the years, by the way. To more closely remember the app. It's like a less convenient version of it. The site is horrible on mobile, because it's too sensitive and often interprets any attempts to swipe and scroll as clicks. Lots of hitting the back button.
Yeah, I downloaded the new app last night on my iphone. This will take getting used to; I mostly use my phone for to purchase and read because of its convenience, so this does feel like a minor irritation.
Comixology doesn't have anything to do with that 30%. Comixology gets a cut (I don't know the percentage) of every comic it sells, but that 30% percent is an extra fee that Apple gets when you buy anything through iTunes. So, if you buy something through the Comixology site or use the Kindle one-click pay through Amazon, that fee doesn't apply. So, not using the app actually gives more money to the creators.
Apple gets 30 percent of the purchase price up front. It's not an extra fee, it's just what they take as their share. ComiXology then gives the publishers their share, in all the cases where I've seen the fee made public it's half, of the 70 percent left.
What may happen is now the publishers get a full 50 percent, instead of 35 percent, but I seriously doubt that comiXology is going to give the whole new piece of the pie directly to the publishers. It will take its additional 15 percent.
"Fee" was a bad choice of words on my part. It's their cut. My point is that cut only applies to purchases using the Apple app. If you buy something through the Comixology website, Apple doesn't get a cut of anything. A creator gets less money from a sale of a comic through Apple than through the Comixology site.
Using your numbers, a comic bought from the app was 30% Apple, 35% Comixology, 35% Creator. A comic bought through the website is 50% Comixology, 50% Creator. Both Comixology and the Creator make more money from a purchase. That's the system already in place.
Comixology simply gets a "bigger piece of the pie" by cutting Apple out. Instead of having two systems of purchase, they get rid of the one with the middleman. From a business standpoint, it makes perfect sense. They don't have to change the system to make more money, they have a better system already in place. Comixology will get 15% more and, more importantly, so do the creators.
The Apple app may have been more convenient for you, but it was just bad for Comixology and the creators.
Sure, that sounds about right. Just pointing out it won't be the full 30 percent.
The bigger problem is that publishers get nothing if they don't make a sale, and making buying the comics more difficult and obscure will lower sales. I think a lot of the comiXology diehards might stay around, but forget about future growth and impulse purchases. Not through iOS, anyway.
Over on Android, the app still works the same, just using Comixology's payment system instead of Google Play's (and thus avoiding Google's own 30% take of in-app sales). No external browser required.
Elaborated more on my blog, but: while I can see how it's less convenient on iOS, I can also see why they did it. I think the long-term benefits (more money to Comixology and the creators, assuming current website's 50/50 split stays intact; less running afoul of self-censorship of comics like "Sex Criminals," etc.) will be worth the extra clicking. It doesn't seem to be hurting Kindle (similar iOS app state). If anything else, hopefully it'll get people thinking about *why* DRM-free comics are important, as well as the need for a range of digital comics stores to choose from (vs Comixology's excessive dominance) like we have for every other digital media (videos, music, etc).
Very good blog post, Anthony. I recommend everyone go read it, even if the take is a bit different than mine.
Also, thanks for linking to Gerry Conway's post. Wow, he hates the change worse than me.
Gerry Conway: The ComiXology Outrage | Comicbook.com
Conway's got a good point about the Kindle. A lot of the people online who are telling me it's no big deal use the Kindle, or at least Android. Who has a vested interest in making comics better on the Kindle than iOS? Amazon does, and now comiXology suddenly sucks on iOS and is better on the Kindle and Android. I'll note that before they bought comiXology, Amazon forced limitations on the Kindle comiXology app that were obvious efforts to keep it from being competitive with Amazon's (crappy) Kindle comics store.
He also makes a good point that the censorship argument doesn't hold water. I could buy Sex Criminals from the website BEFORE the storefront was taken away. Supporting this for that reason is like being for burning down a bookstore because it won't carry certain books.
I don't know if he's right about Amazon taking 30 percent too, though. If he's right, then that changes everything by changing nothing. There's no upside. Unfortunately comiXology has completely shut its mouth about the deal, offering press release non-answers to everyone who asks, so we may not know unless creators complain.
I don't understand what you're saying. Apple maintained the right to deny selling any comic through it's app and chose not to sell Sex Criminal. Isn't that true? I'm not being snarky, I just don't follow what you're saying.
Amazon doesn't take 30% from Comixology purchases. They do that for eBook sales, but that's a totally different thing. When you buy an eBook from Amazon, you're buying it from Amazon. When you use the app to buy a comic, you're buying from Comixology, not Apple.
And I really have to take issue with Conway's argument, "What Amazon is doing is finessing Apple’s deal with developers by providing an app for free, yet not paying Apple’s fee for the privilege. In effect, Amazon is a store owner in a mall who isn’t paying rent to the mall owner. And anti-Apple deniers think that’s fair, why?"
So, he thinks it's unfair that someone can put an app on an Apple device and buy something and not pay Apple a cut? That's nuts. I can download a free app from Dark Horse on my Kindle and read their comics and Amazon doesn't demand a cut. I buy my Comixology comics on my PC, should Dell, Microsoft, and Internet Explorer get a percentage?
Sex Criminals. And yeah. Apple has content guidelines and some comics weren't sold on the app because of them. The thing is, though, you could ALWAYS buy them on the site. Not having the app at all isn't an improvement.
I get what you're saying, but I don't think that's precise enough. I don't think you're buying it from Amazon. They aren't, after all, Amazon's books. Amazon acts as a middle-man for the publisher when it comes to e-books, just like Apple does with all of its content and on the same exact terms. The question, more precisely stated, is should Apple be allowed to act as a middle-man in an app where ComiXology is ALSO acting as a middle-man for the publisher? Some argue that they should, they're providing the platform, hardware and service to make the sale possible. Some argue that they shouldn't, because, uh, well wouldn't it be nice if those things were free and also screw Apple (the most common arguments I've seen). More rationally, I guess, is the argument that Apple doesn't provide a significant enough service to justify such a big cut.
And I haven't seen anything that explicitly states Amazon is NOT taking a cut of comics purchases, so something official on that would be welcome. Comixology has chosen to freeze the press out instead.
Also, the last I checked you can only download the REAL Darkhorse Android app if you illegally sideload it. The app made for the Kindle doesn't have an online store. Has that changed?
I have no problem with Apple taking a cut. I just think that 30% is waaayyy too much.
Creators have been vocal about Apple's cut. If Amazon was doing the same, I think someone would have complained about it by now.
Downloading the app isn't illegal (Dark Horse wouldn't have a step-by-step guide on their site if it was). You just have to go into the settings and click "Allow Installation of Applications From Unknown Sources". It's true that Kindle originally blocked non-Amazon apps, but they opened up to Android apps (I'm guessing after Android complained). The only thing is that you get a warning that, if you screw up your Kindle because of something you downloaded, they aren't responsible.
And, yes, the app connects to the store.
BTW, if you haven't tried the Dark Horse Digital, you really should. The prices are usually very good (especially the "Bundles", where you can pick up a whole mini-series for a couple of bucks). However, the "guided view" is nowhere near as good as Comixology. Comixology zeroes in on the panel and the panel only, DH's is basically just a "zoom in" on the page.
The side loaded app does. I don't think the official fire app does, unless that description is out of date. And Amazon doesn't allow you to connect to Google Play at all, so if you want the real Dark Horse app you have to get it from an alternative site. The site I got it from was definitely devoted to piracy.
That brings up something work talking about. A lot of the sentiment that's in favor if this seems to be, at its core, the same anti-Apple sentiment that's always been around. But ComiXology didn't get bought by some hippy free love startup. It got bought by AMAZON. Everything people complain about about Apple, Amazon invented. Amazon is the king of consumer controlling, anti-competitive, publisher screwing practices.
I side loaded it right after I got my Kindle Fire, then got it on my iPad as soon as I bought one. It's inferior to the old ComiXology in almost every way, I only used it because it was the only way to buy digital Dark Horse comics.