ComiXology Discusses App Changes, Storefront Removal [UPDATED]

UPDATE 4/28/14 12:00 PM PT: IDW Publishing has issued a statement clarifying that despite this past weekend's shift, in-app purchases will remain in the publisher's comiXology-powered iOS apps, saying "everything stays the same for IDW digital comic fans."

You may have learned that comiXology is changing the way to purchase comics in their apps. You can now purchase comics in the comiXology.com storefront, then read your books in their apps.

While comiXology no longer supports in-app purchases, this does not affect IDW's flagship iOS apps. All of IDW's apps - IDW Comics, Transformers Comics, Star Trek Comics and TMNT Comics - will continue to support in app purchases.

This means everything stays the same for IDW digital comic fans! You can buy your comics in the app itself, online at read.idwpublishing.com, or at comiXology.com. Wherever you buy the comics, you can read on all devices or reload anything in your purchased account.

Also, IDW comics are available everywhere digital comics are sold, including the Apple iBookstore, Amazon Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble Nook store.

CBR News has reached out to several publishers who have their own apps powered by comiXology. According to a spokesperson for BOOM! Studios, "We don't currently have plans to remove the ability to purchase through the BOOM! Studios app."

Originally published Sun, April 27th, 2014 at 10:30am PDT: ComiXology announced major changes on Saturday to its iPad and iPhone apps, as the company launched a new app and removed the ability for customers to purchase comics directly.

ComiXology customers will now have to buy their comics through comiXology.com and sync those purchases with the app to read them on an Apple device -- or buy them through the individual publisher apps comiXology supports, which are so far not affected by the change. In addition, comiXology made changes to their Android app, as they removed the ability to pay through Google and added the ability to pay with a credit card or through PayPal.

These changes bring comiXology's business model in line with Amazon.com, which announced earlier this month it will purchase comiXology. Amazon also doesn't allow customers to purchase Kindle books through its iOS apps.

CBR News spoke with Chip Mosher, comiXology's vice president of communications and marketing, about the changes and any further changes that could result from the Amazon purchase.

CBR News: What's the thinking behind this change? Why was this done?

Chip Mosher: As we move to complete the acquisition with Amazon, we are shifting to the web-based purchasing model they've successfully used with Kindle, which we expect will allow us to strike the best balance between prices, selection and customer experience.

Is there any fear that this could affect sales, as customers have to take extra steps to buy comics? Any concern about losing "spontaneous" purchases or the ability to promote sales within the app?

There are many advantages to shopping at comiXology.com. Because of the content restrictions our mobile partners have, shopping on the web provides even greater selection of comic books and graphic novels. iOS customers will now be able to save money with comiXology's exclusive web-only bundles, take advantage of subscription features and enjoy eGift cards. We also made our website more tablet/mobile friendly on all devices to make the purchasing process that much easier. And in Safari on iOS, customers can easily save a shortcut to our webstore with the "Add to Home Screen" feature.

Why launch a new app? Why not just remove the storefront from the current app?

The new iOS reading app is to help customers find and read their books. Also, with the new app we can continue to support customers that purchased without a comiXology account as they can take some time to make an account and move to the new app.

So to download and get reading, customers just need to sign into the new iOS Comics app and tap on the new In Cloud tab. There they'll find their entire comiXology library of books ready for download. Downloaded books will appear in the new On Device tab for reading. We also made our website more tablet/mobile friendly on all devices to make the purchasing process that much easier.

Does comiXology plan to remove the ability to buy comics through the DC, Marvel, Image, Vertigo, etc. apps on the iOS as well?

That's a better question for them.

Why remove the Google Play payment option from Android devices? How does the new buying method differ from Google Play?

In the new Android 3.6 upgrade we have a new comiXology in-app purchase system and a great new shopping cart, one of our most requested features. In the new app, customers may be prompted to update your payment information to continue purchasing books. This is a one-time action after which you can purchase inside the app.

Were these moves in the planning stages before the Amazon deal, or is it a result of the Amazon deal?

We don't discuss the confidential details of our business relationships.

Are there any other changes ComiXology is considering based on the new relationship with Amazon?

We have a policy of not talking about details of our product roadmap.

Are you considering adding the ability to use Amazon credit to buy comiXology comics?

Nothing to announce today, but we expect we'll find ways to make both comiXology and Amazon work better together in the future.

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