For more than a decade, the Comixology app has enabled me to conveniently keep up with reading a vast array of comic books; not just providing an easy way to find new releases from various publishers, but also making them easy to read across a wide range of devices and screen sizes with the excellent panel to panel reading formats. Grouping comics into various series and keeping track of what could be a messy library was also a cinch, with plenty of features and options that made sense for comic book fans. It was clearly an app with functionality by fans, for fans.
Though Amazon bought Comixology way back in 2014, they have kept a generally hands-off approach, letting Comixology do its thing in continuing to provide standard setting features and benefits for digital comics fans. Yet this week, with a staggered rollout of an update to the Comixology app, all that changed. And it’s so, so much worse than you could possibly have anticipated.
Now, the Comixology app is merged with the Kindle codebase – so it’s essentially the Kindle app in all but name. Though the guided panel tech is still there – and still the best experience there is for digital comics – it works on the app, but not from a web browser or using Kindle Cloud Reader on PC, which lacks even the most basic functions that you’d expect. It’s designed for books, not comics – and it’s awful as a result.
The app loses out in terms of sorting and discoverability of comics too, with the Kindle storefront now ordering comics and new releases in a way that can best be described as illogical. Remember, this is designed to work for books with less than regular sequels in a series – with monthly or even more frequent comic books, it’s hellish to try and find the issues that you’re after using the ‘updated’ system.
Oh – and the comics you had downloaded with progress tracked as to where you were and which you’d read? Say goodbye to those and hello to redownloading absolutely everything. Good luck finding all the stuff you’d been digitally stockpiling to read.
Weirdly, comics you’ve already purchased don’t even show that they’ve been bought – the price is displayed, making it look as if you need to purchase it again…until you go through to the comic’s page itself, whereupon you can then redownload it.
There’s so much more that’s lacking too – and it’s frankly depressing to see such a brilliant app (and my main method of comics reading for many years) – absolutely made multiple times worse through a complete lack of care from the corporate behemoth. Indie comics are going to be made so much harder to find too – and that truly sucks. I’ve stumbled upon countless awesome series because of how straightforward the Comixology app was in terms of ordering new releases etc; that seems to now be consigned to the past. Do Amazon care? Let’s hope they notice sales dropping amid the huge and very vocal, much deserved backlash that they’re now experiencing. That’s the only way they’ll listen, I fear.
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