Robot 6

ComiXology launches new webstore with big holiday sales

One of the reasons that the digital comics distributor comiXology has done so well is that it syncs well across a number of platforms, including iOS, Android and the web. Their web store is convenient for those who prefer browsing and buying on their computer, but the Flash-based interface is a bit buggy—it never scrolled properly in my Safari browser, for instance—so I was happy to hear that they have relaunched the web store using HTML5 for the browsing and buying interface.

They also redesigned it, which is a relief; if I have one complaint about comiXology, it’s their tendency to throw a bewildering array of comics onto the screen all at once. The original webstore put a ton of comics on the front page (a page that didn’t scroll properly, remember), while this new one mirrors the design of their iPad app, with a smaller selection and tabs to allow the reader to go deeper. Navigation is pretty straightforward—the site is a little slow, but it is still in beta. The comics reader is still in Flash for now.

ComiXology CEO David Steinberger has more details at the comiXology blog, and I spoke to him about the new storefront yesterday. While the iOS app remains the most popular channel, he said, “More and more people actually use our website, once they discover it, to shop and buy, and I hope with the HTML5 release, more will do that.” One of the new features of the web store is that users can gift a cart, rather than just a single comic. “Right now we are going to finish releasing all of Bone, so you will be able to add the whole Bone series to your card and gift it to somebody,” Steinberger said. “We have Sandman at a very competitive price to the paperback. Comics people create more comics people by getting in tune with their friends and gifting them comics.”

Also, if you pay full price at comiXology, you’re not paying attention; they run different sales all week long, and at the moment they have three different holiday sales going on: A Batman 201 sale, a Marvel Major Players sale, and a Holiday Sale featuring indy publishers Oni Press, BOOM! Studios, Image, Dynamite, and IDW. Lots of good stuff here: The Sixth Gun, Robert Kirkman’s Super Dinosaur, Doctor Who, Mark Waid’s Irredeemable, and one of my favorite comics of the year, Spontaneous (the first issue is free, so you can now pick up the whole five-issue arc for four bucks).

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I love Comixology. They have a lot of opportunity ahead of them to better organize their content in terms of collecting whole story arcs & logically organizing series for new readers. But this is all stuff that hasn’t been done before online at a time when we finally have tablet devices that can effectively & practically replace paper comics. It requires creativity, trial & error, and money to get right.

It’s interesting watching them grow and figure this stuff out. I find they’re also good at promptly getting back on questions. I hope they keep this up as they continue to grow. Customer service is key! For the most part we comic book fans are very loyal to “my” comic store. For those of us making the choice to sample digital content in addtion to printed materials, Comixology is the first in what may be a long line of potential digital storefronts, and has the first mover advange to earn the place as “my” digital comic store.

Think I’ll go check out that holiday sale!

they’re site is still full of inaccurate descriptions and incorrect information on what you’re “buying” from them. Also, there’s no way to actually download and own the comics?

example for incorrect information:
http://store.comixology.com/Infinity-Gauntlet-Cover/digital-comic/15731

The description reads:
“Collects Infinity Gauntlet (1991) #1-6. The Mad Titan Thanos has seized control of Infinity Gauntlet and with it near-omnipotent power! Who can stop this deadly new overlord? All of Marvel’s top heroes star in this epic of cosmic proportions!”

but it’s not the collection, tis just the cover of the comic, which is another wtf for me, why does a digital site have just the covers of some of the comics? The ‘free’ section is littered with them, with the “A” section of the ‘free’ comics has over 700 items, and I’d say only about 1/10 of them are actual comic books that you can read. Also in that same section, about 8/10 of the books have no word in the title that starts with “A”.

And from their Terms of Use:

“Digital Content is licensed, not sold, to you by comiXology. ComiXology reserves the right to revoke your license to Digital Content at any time for any reason.”

I’ll stay away from them until they become a little less draconian.

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