Many questions surrounded the news Thursday that ComiXology — unarguably the leading digital comics platform for the Western comics industry — had been purchased for an undisclosed amount by Amazon.com. One of the most common questions was simple: how does the rest of the industry feel about the purchase?
A statement from DC Entertainment issued in response to the news noted that both Amazon Kindle and ComiXology have “been great digital publishing partners to DC Entertainment” in the past, adding: “We are confident that Amazon’s purchase of comiXology will make both our partners that much stronger and allow us all to continue to enhance and build the fastest growing segment of our publishing business as we bring our digital comics and graphic novels to our fans all over the globe.”
Similarly, Marvel Entertainment emphasized that the Amazon.com purchase would not impact the existing Marvel Comics App, nor the company’s digital comic store (both powered by ComiXology). “We continue to invite all Marvel fans to use the Marvel Comics App and our digital comics store for all their browsing, purchasing and reading needs,” a company spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. Image Comics, when contacted, declined to comment on the buyout.
The ComiXology purchase was also welcomed by other digital comics platforms, with Ben Wolstenholme of Madefire, a digital studio with partnerships with Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing and DC Entertainment, calling it “fantastic” news. “Comics and visual books are perfect for reading on devices,” he continued. “Amazon has just demonstrated that to the world!” (In addition, the official Madefire Twitter account called the news a “game changer for #digitalcomics and everyone in the industry.”)
THR also reached out to ComicsPro, the trade association of comic speciality retailers in the U.S., for comment. Many initial reactions online to news of the Amazon/ComiXology partnership focused on the potential damage such a pairing could do to brick and mortar comic stores, pointing to the effect Amazon had had on independent booksellers; however, the statement provided by the organization proves to be more optimistic than some may have suspected.
“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,” the statement from the organization’s board of directors began. “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.”