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Amazon acquires ComiXology

SEATTLE, WA – Amazon.com today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire ComiXology, the company that revolutionized the digital comics reading experience with their immersive Guided View technology and makes discovering, buying, and reading comic books and graphic novels easier and more fun than ever before.

“ComiXology’s mission is to spread the love of comics and graphic novels in all forms,” said David Steinberger, co-founder and CEO of ComiXology. “There is no better home for ComiXology than Amazon to see this vision through. Working together, we look to accelerate a new age for comic books and graphic novels.”

“Amazon and ComiXology share a passion for reinventing reading in a digital world,” said David Naggar, Amazon Vice President, Content Acquisition and Independent Publishing. “We’ve long admired the passion ComiXology brings to changing the way we buy and read comics and graphic novels. We look forward to investing in the business, growing the team, and together, bringing comics and graphic novels to even more readers.”

According to a message by Amazon CEO David Steinberger posted on ComiXology’s site:

ComiXology will retain its identity as an Amazon subsidiary and we’re not anywhere near done “taking comics further.” We are confident that – with Amazon by our side, who shares our desire for innovation and a relentless focus on customers – we’ve only just begun.

Both Amazon and ComiXology offer multiple self-publishing options including those for fan derived works and original comics; it will be interesting to see how they push the digital platform further.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed however it is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014. Following the acquisition, ComiXology’s headquarters will remain in New York.

 

Apple Bans 59 Comics

Comics

October’s story on the rise of digital comic sales over the past three years along with Comixology’s growing reach has assured its place within the publishing market. Readers love the look of comics on the iPad screen and they also love the convenience of in-app purchasing, which allows consumers to buy and store their comics within a single app. However, such a vast amount of content must have some sort of monitoring system in place. When Apple bans a comic—usually because of sexual or mature material or nudity – it is a big deal, and so far it has happened to 59 comics this year.

Publishers blame Apple’s inability to clarify what criteria they [Apple] use to judge whether a title should be20099-v1-197x banned. The most recent case of banned comics involves writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky’s series Sex Criminals, published by Image Comics. Sex Criminals is a comedy about a couple who can stop time when they have sex—and use that power to rob a bank. Apple approved the first issue, published in September, for in-app purchase. The second issue was rejected. Last week, Image Comics was notified that the third issue had also been rejected—and now the first issue has been retroactively banned as well. Image publisher Eric Stephenson said that no reason was given for the rejection. “We received notification from Comixology, not directly from Apple, but they give us no explanation whatsoever,” he said. “They just say they’ve rejected it.”

When Apple rejects a comic it means readers can’t buy them from within an iOS app, however, they can still buy the comics on the Comixology or Comics Plus Web storefront or Android platform and sync them on to their iOS devices from there. Banned comics also are available in the Apple iBookstore, but the iBookstore doesn’t sync with Comixology or other comics apps.

Being excluded from the Comixology app is serious business for publishers. The digital distributor was the third highest grossing iPad app in 2012, and in September they reported that comic downloads had reached the 200 million mark.

Stephenson said when Image comics are banned from in-app purchase, “we make sure people are aware of what’s going on and all the various alternatives.”

Asked whether he thinks editors and creators are keeping Apple’s standards in mind as they create or edit a comic, Stephenson responded, “I guess they might, but we certainly aren’t telling people to change anything. I mean, we’re doing the Black Kiss II Christmas Special, and I guarantee you Howard Chaykin isn’t toning anything down to suit Apple’s prudish tastes.”

As for whether the standards will affect Image’s digital strategy going forward, he said, “Not immediately, but it’s certainly an incentive to broaden our efforts.”

Related Sources: http://bit.ly/17UmAM9

Book report due? Relax, ‘Classics Illustrated’ comics are back

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“The Last of the Mohicans” and “Jane Eyre” are two of the first “Classics Illustrated” comic books that Comixology will republish digitally.

In the mid 20th century, Classics Illustrated comics were the salvation of students faced with the grim prospect of creating book report on titles such as “Silas Marner” or “Moby Dick.” Now hundreds of literary classics adapted and illustrated as comics in the pages of “Classics Illustrated” are going digital.

Digital comics distributor, Comixology said Wednesday it made a deal with Trajectory Inc. to bring the entire 120-issue run of “Classics Illustrated” to its digital storefront within several months, with the first titles to include adaptations of H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds,” James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Last of the Mohicans” and Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre,” among others.

UnknownClassics Illustrated was a comic book series featuring adaptations of literary classics. Created by Albert Kanter, the series began publication in 1941. Some titles were packaged in gift boxes with specific themes such as adventure or mystery. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (issue 13) and Uncle Tom’s Cabin (issue 15) – were  both cited in Dr. Fredric Wertham’s infamous 1954 condemnation of comic books Seduction of the Innocent.

Original edition Classic Comics in near mint condition command prices in the thousands of dollars.

ComiXology Hits Milestone

comixology-imageFounded in 2007, ComiXology revolutionized the comic book and graphic novel industry by delivering a cloud-based digital comics platform – ComiXology’s Guided View™. Its reading technology transformed the comic book medium into an immersive experience, helping the company propel itself to one of iTunes top 10 grossing iPad apps in 2011 and 2012. Its vast library offering comic book content from the top 75 publishers, as well as independent creators.

At this year’s New York Comic Con, the company announced a dramatic readership increase since its launch in 2007. TechHive reports that six years ago, women represented less than 5 percent of ComiXology users; now that figure has sky-rocketed to 20 percent. Even more intriguing, the company knows their exact demographic: “She’s 17-26 years old, college-educated, lives in the suburbs, and is new to comics. She prefers Tumblr to Reddit. She may have never even picked up a print comic.”

This readership information arrives just two weeks after the company announced it has surpassed 200 million downloads — impressive since it took three years to reach the 100-million milestone, but just a year to double that. In that time, ComiXology opened a Paris branch (leading to distribution agreements with French publishers DelcourtGlénat and a dozen others, and, just this week, Viz Media Europe), struck partnerships with Seven SeasUDONScholastic’s Graphix imprint and (again, just this week) Avatar Press, and expanded its deal with DC Comics.

It seems likely we’ll see ComiXology readership statistics rise once more in the next 12 months.

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