Amazon has purchased Comixology, and that’s a huge deal, because it means the largest bookseller in the world now owns the company that brought digital comics distribution to the masses, and essentially forced big publishers like DC and Marvel to get with it and start distributing titles on the same day in print and via digital channels.
It’s hard to understate Comixology’s role in digital comics and the transition of the medium from print to online, but that’s not the only thing Amazon gets through this purchase. They also acquire the relationships that Comixology has built with the major comics publishers, including Marvel and DC, and a direct line to the distribution of digital tie-ins for blockbuster film franchises like The Avengers, Spider-Man, X-Men and more.
Comixology has tremendous value continuing on as it has been, and living autonomously from the Amazon brand, with direct sales through its iOS-based digital storefront delivering a 30 percent cut to Apple (something Amazon has said isn’t viable with its own Kindle storefront, leading to the removal of that feature from its iOS app). But Amazon also recently signalled strongly that it wants to begin tying its product lines together more tightly, with the introduction of the Fire TV.
Fire TV is already being billed as something that works with the Kindle Fire line of devices. There’s cross-compatibility and dual-screen functionality with gaming and video programming, and likely a lot more to come. Comixology being part of the Amazon portfolio offers the chance for cross-platform and cross-media integrations that build in digital comics, which has potential applications not only with the Marvel line of films, but with gaming, too.
If there was a better-suited candidate for Amazon acquisition than Comixology, it’s hard to peg one. The company is almost perfectly in line with Amazon’s ambitions on the digital media front, and has done much to raise the profile of digital comics in general. Amazon gets the premiere digital comics distribution platform with its purchase, but it also gets the potential for countless future cross-sales and cross-promotions, which, when you’re building a media and device empire, is no small win.