ComiXology Unlimited, Digital Comics Subscription Service, Launched in US

ComiXology Unlimited Launch Image

ComiXology, the digital comics platform that Amazon acquired in 2014, has announced the launch of ComiXology Unlimited, a Netflix/Amazon Prime-styled service offering access to thousands of titles from nearly a dozen comics publishers on a monthly subscription.

Currently only available in the US, the new subscription service includes comics from Image, Dark Horse, IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, Kodansha Comics, Oni Press, Valiant Entertainment, Archie Comics, Fantagraphics Books, Humanoids, Action Lab Entertainment, Aspen Comics, Zenescope Entertainment and more.

ComiXology is the exclusive subscription platform for Image and Dark Horse, two of the top five US publishers in terms of market share, although Marvel and DC are not on board for this initial rollout.

The monthly subscription will be $5.99 initially, which, given the typical price of a single digital comic (anything between $0.99 to $3.99) means this project could be a major boost for digital comics, boosting the platform’s reach.

While other platforms offering similar models in the past, ComiXology has a huge catalogue to draw on, and this is bound to help increase its dominance of the digital comics market. Quite how this will impact other services, such as Panel Nine’s excellent SEQUENTIAL app remains to be seen.

The company is offering a free 30-day promotional offer to US readers to sample the service.

“It’s just like you look at [Amazon] Prime,” comiXology CEO David Steinberger told comics business site ICv2.  “Vikings Season One and Two is on there, and Season Three is for purchase.  So if you’re not committed to the whole thing you can go on sampling for eternity.  There’s so much content on there you have a starting point for a tremendous amount of series…

“Do we think people are going to start buying because they’re going to find at least one series that they’re going to want more?  I believe they will, because I believe in comics.

“We’ll probably add publishers,” Steinberger added. Asked about the addition of Marvel and DC, he responded, “I’m going to keep that confidential…  Obviously we love Marvel and DC and continue to sell their products a la carte, and are always happy to have them as partners.

“We are fully aligned with publishers both to make money on this service and on a la carte,” he insisted, given concerns about other arenas in the digital market offering a poor deal for creators in terms of sales revenue share.

“Everyone’s going to make more money when more people are reading, and this service is a hugely important part of spreading the love of comics and an important part of increasing revenue for everybody.  At $5.99 [monthly subscription cost], we leave plenty of money for your a la carte purchases.”

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