Comixology stops in-app purchases on iOS. Comics readers unhappy.

Comixology stops in-app purchases on iOS. Comics readers unhappy.
Well, we expected changes, but we didn't expect them to be this quick. As of today, Comixology users on iOS and Android have to update to a new version of the app before they can continue buying comics. iOS users can no longer make in-app purchases on a heavily altered new app - which is an unsurprising development after Amazon did the same with Kindle, but no less unwelcome, particularly as most tablet comics readers simply aren't used to buying their comics via the website, and so rather than doing so, will probably just... not bother.

On Android, meanwhile, you can still buy books in-app (the app is largely unchanged except for adding a "cart" option, which is actually pretty useful) but the Google Wallet payment option has gone. You can still use Paypal, but it needs to be set up via the Comixology website and doesn't ask for a password, nor does it let you choose a funding source. So that's a bit less secure than it used to be.

Tangentially related to the new app, visitors to the Comixology website now have to choose a geographically-specific version - meaning that all purchases are now in your relevant home currency. And yet if you're on, for example, the site, at the moment all sale banners and suchlike still specify "99c", which makes it feel like a half-hearted implementation.

In short: we're not very happy (especially those of us who just bought iTunes vouchers to buy some comics with). Expect this to run and run - Amazon were always going to make changes, but making this one front and centre (and without any prior announcement) feels like a bit of a PR clusterfuck - although perhaps they've simply decided that the loss of impulse purchases is a price worth paying to avoid stumping up that 30% cut to Apple.

Nevertheless, given the haste with which comics readers adopted Comixology, giving them a potential reason to abandon it with equal haste doesn't feel wise. Is this the beginning of the end?

UPDATE: Amid countless reactions to this from various people at different levels of the industry (and one take that we didn't really pick up on above was the point that this does at least prevent Apple from censoring comics releases in future), Gerry Conway's blog post perhaps best sums up why the utter removal of impulse purchases is a bad move for the industry. It's for this reason that we suspect it won't be long before publishers start to consider alternatives, which is a shame for the good people who've done excellent work at Comixology in recent years, but there you go.

Tags:  Comixology  Amazon