The convenience of buying comics directly from your iPad through comiXology's app is a thing of the past. The company, which is being acquired by Amazon, announced today that users can no longer purchase comics on iOS devices.
In a post on their Tumblr account, comiXology revealed they are "retiring" their current app for iOS systems and have replaced it with a "new reader app." The new app is, as the name implies, just for reading comics – the storefront is gone. Users will have to purchase comics at comixology.com and then sync their purchases to the new app.
The change apparently only affects the comiXology app -- the individual publisher apps for Marvel, DC, Image and others don't appear to be affected at this time.
The post says that "all your purchased books will be readable in the new app once you’ve downloaded it" and have set up a comiXology account. If you haven't done that in the past, you'll need to do so on comiXology's website or in the original app, and then sync your purchases to it from within the old app. Once you've downloaded the new app, you can use the "InCloud" tab to download comics you've already purchased. The post also notes you can continue to read any comics you already have downloaded in the old app.
The move comes less than a month after the announcement that Amazon has reached an agreement to acquire the digital comics company – but before Amazon actually takes ownership of comiXology. That deal is expected to close this quarter. The change puts comiXology's sales method in line with Amazon's Kindle app for the iOS, which also allows you to sync previously purchased books but not actually purchase them through the app – which means Apple doesn't get a cut of the sale. Both Apple and Amazon are competitors in the tablet market.
While initially this may affect sales as customers get used to buying in a new way, ultimately this potentially means publishers will make more money as they're no longer sharing revenue with Apple, depending on the deals. It also means the possibility of greater variance in price point -- Apple set their price points at variable of $X.99, and now you could potentially see $1.59 comics or $.59 comics, if comiXology and the publishers wanted to go that route.
ComiXology hopes to "ease this transition" by offering a $5 credit to comiXology users, which will automatically be applied to accounts today. Customers using the Android Comics app can still purchase comics through it, but now it will be through a new comiXology in-app purchase system rather than through Google Play.