It really didn't take long for Amazon to get their claws into Comixology after their recent purchase. Users of the IOS app have just been informed that the app is going to be retired shortly and a new, read only, version will be released in its place. The Kindle app was updated in a similar fashion in an attempt to bypass Apple’s 30% cut on in-app purchases. It only seems natural that the change in the Comixology app is fueled by the same intent.
Android users aren't let off lightly either. Customers can still purchase comics through the app but they can no longer pay using their Google play account. Presumably for similar reasons. It’s not all bad news, though, since the Android app has been updated to include a cart feature, allowing people to purchase multiple comics in a single transaction. A more cynical person, though, might conclude that larger single transactions are more profitable than several single-issue purchases.
Comixology introduced a whole new audience to comic books, and was largely responsible for the surge in popularity of digital distribution and since it’s launch it’s remained high in the list of top grossing iPad apps. Things are about to change of course, if nothing else the lack of continuous transactions are going to keep this out of the iOS charts after an initial surge of downloads. Many of those downloads, too, will naturally be for the purpose of one-star reviews from disgruntled users who lament the loss of not only convenient purchases, but also the ability to use iTunes (or Google Play) gift cards to buy their comics.
We’ll soon see how successful this is for Comixology, but it’s impossible to feel good about a move that sacrifices customer experience in the name of profitability. Unless, of course, those savings are passed on to the customer.