ComiXology unleashes second wave of DRM-free publishers

Less than two months after launching its DRM-free backup program, digital comics platform comiXology has announced a second wave of 14 more participating publishers.

Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Zenescope Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent and Top Shelf Productions are now joined in the program by IDW Publishing, Valiant Entertainment, Oni Press, Fantagraphics Books, Aspen Comics, Action Lab Entertainment, Th3rd World Studios, A Wave Blue World, Blind Ferret Entertainment, Caliber Comics, Creative Impulse Entertainment, Devil’s Due Entertainment, GT Labs Comics and Kingstone Media.

Digital rights management (DRM) allows comics to be read only with proprietary software. DRM-free comics are simply files -- usually PDF or CBZ  -- that can be accessed using different readers. They don't come with any bells or whistles, such as comiXology's Guided View.

ComiXology customers can now download high-resolution PDF or CBZ files as backups for their digital titles from all of the participating publishers. Simply go to the "My Books" section of comiXology.com, and click the button that appears next to the comics titles.When the company unveiled the program in July at Comic-Con International in San Diego, CEO David Steinberger said DRM-free comics have been "an oft-requested feature."

"We do this 'Ask Us Anything' -- we have done it for many years -- and inevitably, a question every year is, 'Why is there DRM on my book? I want to own it,'" he said. "My answer has always been that it is more important to get all the publishers on board than to do DRM-free. The experience was going to be, you don't have to have stacks of hard drives, you don't have to load a file onto your computer … We decided it wasn't where we were going to put our development resources, given that no publisher of note wanted to do it. It's just the right time. Image started offering DRM-free, Top Shelf been doing it for a while -- I just felt like I couldn't sit up here and answer that question any more with a straight face."

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