And let’s face it, I think we’re all due one!
Miffed is putting it mildly when describing my reaction to the decision my Comixology/Amazon to remove the store front from their once awesome app and turn it into a glorified reading app only. Suddenly, an excellent, easy to access and user friendly interface between us, the comics consumers, and the comics we love was made that much harder.
Sure, you can visit the website, buy your comics through PayPal, port them over to your app, close said website and then open the app and then your comics. What the f*!k!? That just sounds like a massive pain in the ass compared to what we’re used to as good honest comic consumers.
Comixology had it down. They had it all going for them and we the comics consumer really benefitted from a slick interface that was hassle free and really intuitive to use. An extra, wholly unnecessary, unwanted and (and this is what really sucks) unheralded, change to a process That. Was. Working.
Every Wednesday, I used to look forward to New Comic Books Day, that one day of the week when I was guaranteed to find something cool and inspiring to read through my Comixology app.
That experience has been tainted by this greedy move. No longer is it a painless, user friendly experience – it’s an irritating, fiddly and frankly off putting one. If I sound petty, then perhaps I am on this subject but my understanding was technology and the advancement thereof was meant to make things better, not worse and more annoying (at least in terms of the consumption of digital media).
I read an interesting blog post on this subject that described comics as having been living in a ghetto for the past thirty years. I’ll echo that esteemed bloggers comics in saying that I love comic book shops, but they are dying out and dying on their arses. They have been for a long time. Digitisation of this media not only made it really accessible, it also played to the inherent strengths of the visual medium with panel view and Marvel’s wonderful guided view in a way that only comics can really exploit.
So what do the biggest retailer of digital comics do? They superbly and selfishly scupper that digital outlet by reducing it’s accessibly and attractiveness to a growing market of digital comic book readers. And this is just the bought and paid up members of the comic buying community; what about the initiates who are yet to experience how great digital comics are? This clunky, hamfisted approach is going to put them off and could very well endanger the future of the digital medium for comics.
When you are the market leader, you have to lead and move forward, not backwards. This, however you might wish to spin it is a backwards step. I felt compromised moving to the new app and the new clunky system, I felt like my years of loyalty to this digital industry was effectively being reduced to the dollars and pounds signs in the eyes of big businesses. Not businesses who are here to promote comics and make it a more profitable, wider reaching medium but a business that purely wants to line its own pockets and doesn’t care what damage it does during the process.
I hope that Comixology feel they’ve been backed into a corner with this move. I hope that the genuine fans of comics and the comics through the digital storytelling medium are regretful and can see the damage it has already done.
I for one feel betrayed, and I’m sure that a lot of other fair-minded consumers of digital comics feel the same.
Don’t let’s make this about the difference between an iPad and a Kindle guys, why can’t it be about the comics. Somewhere in between the lines this message has become lost…