The first week for Amazon’s new Comixology storefront and app wasn’t pretty

Since Amazon subsumed the comiXology website this past week, the internet has exploded with reactions to the new digital storefront, with an overwhelming majority of people agreeing that the changes were poorly implemented. The Beat‘s Dean Simons and I composed our own thoughts about the ‘team-up’ last week prior to the changes, but now that everything has live the public has had a chance to share their own reactions to the new “comics shopping experience,” and people are not happy.

Here’s a sampling of the reactions from comics pros and fellow:

Even comedian and well-known comic fan Patton Oswalt weighed in on the changes, giving some much needed love and attention to the smaller publishers who would be affected:

The whole situation appears to have left comiXology users some combination of angry and confused. Angry that the digital reading experience is poorer now than it’s ever been and that some of the books they spent their hard-earned cash on are no longer available at all. And confused as to why Amazon would make any changes at all when they already had a perfectly good platform in place. What testing went into this ahead of time? Who were the testers? It seems clear it wasn’t anyone actually using Comixology on a regular basis. And most importantly, how will these changes impact digital readership, both new and returning, going forward?

A few days after the changes took place in the app and on the desktop, comiXology CEO David Steinberger sent the following email out to users of the old website:

Hello comics fan,

As you may have seen, I announced our team-up with Amazon and some big changes to your Comixology experience.

I know when apps I love change, that new experience can be a little jarring at first. More updates are coming and we thank you for coming on this journey with us!

We gave the app a complete overhaul, but fear not, the best digital comics reading experience isn’t going anywhere. You can now experience all the improvements we’ve made, such as:

    • Faster downloads
    • Improved filter, sort, and search, to find your next read faster and easier
    • Read comics borrowed through Comixology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited and Prime programs for free (Amazon Prime members can borrow comics through Prime Reading, a program benefit available to Prime customers)
    • Dynamic library cover sizes via pinching & zooming (it’s pretty fun, give it a try)

If you have auto-updates on your phone, your app may have already updated. If you don’t, then go to the app store (iOS, Android, FOS) and update to version 4.0. Keep in mind that if you have a large library it may take some time for all of your books to load into the new library after you upgrade your app.

In addition to the updated app, web and iOS purchasing will take place on Amazon.com. Android and Fire OS customers can continue to shop in-app or on the Amazon store.

With today’s launch, comixology.com is redirecting to a shopping experience on Amazon.com. With this new store, several new features have launched:

    • With membership, books borrow from Comixology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading
    • Price protection guarantee on pre-orders and series subscriptions
    • Even better personalized recommendations based on your purchase, browse, and borrow history

The Comixology team is already hard at work making the experience even better. Stay tuned to our social channels as we discuss our upcoming improvements to the app and shopping experience. Please follow Comixology on social media (Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram) and feel free to reach out to our amazing customer service team or reach out to us on Twitter if you need a hand.

Interested in learning more? Visit our FAQ page for more details.

(Ed. Note: Was anyone clamoring for “Dynamic library cover sizes”? Must’ve missed that Twitter discourse. -JG)

While I don’t think this addresses any of the issues, I am hoping that Steinberger and the comiXology team really are hard at work trying to build the service back up. Amazon looks to have pulled the rug right out from under them, and it doesn’t appear as though they had as much of a hand in the new store as Amazon might like the public to believe. I’ve noticed that the comiXology support account on Twitter has been sending out conflicting information on how to use their own site, so it doesn’t seem to make any sense to send complaint after complaint to the poor person running the account.

I have seen a good deal of people say “Oh, just go to your local comics shop” or “this is why I only buy physical,” but the fact of the matter is that it can be much harder for some to get out to comics shops or order physical issues online. Whether it be because they are differently abled or the cost of shipping is too much, there are a myriad of reasons why some people use digital over physical. It doesn’t help anyone to act high and mighty about it, so please respect other people’s decisions on how they choose to read comics.

I’m not too hopeful that we’ll see any significant changes to comiXology in the near future (since Amazon doesn’t seem to care all that much about comics, digital or physical), but I do think that we will eventually see some updates and improvements. Whether or not the website will ever reach the functionality of the old site remains to be seen, but we’ll keep you posted here on The Beat.

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