Noah J Nelson on Friday, Apr. 11th
Truly this is the age of consolidation.
Every other day it feels like a small or mid-sized player in new media is snapped up by one of the bigger fish. The latest is digital comics pioneer comiXology, maker of the popular comic reading app/marketplace by publishing giant Amazon. From the press release at comiXology’s blog:
“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.”
While comiXology has led the way in digital comics retailing, they have not ignored traditional comics retailers. In fact many comic shops use comiXology’s pull list system in order to track their customer’s orders. Whether or not Amazon will continue to tend to that practice has sent a chill up the spine of comics retailers.
ComicsPRO, the comics professional retail organization, issued this statement via their Facebook page in response to the purchase:
“There’s always a concern when a huge corporation that shows little need to turn a profit tries to convert a niche market into a commodity. Fortunately there is a tactile element to comics that no deep-discounting web entity will ever be able to replicate. So as long as there continues to be fans for the real thing, there will be comics and comic book stores.”
A full press release response is forthcoming, but the initial statement touches on what is a traditional stance for comics retailer: that digital is less attractive than print. However there has to be a fair amount of fear that a company like Amazon, which is known for taking huge losses in order to dominate a category, now has a lock on the most popular brand in digital comics. With many old-school comics readers having already converted to the practice of “waiting for the trade,” Amazon could use comiXology as a bludgeon to push their deeply discounted physical collections.