ComiXology, the digital comics service owned by Amazon, launched a subscription service this week that gives readers access to thousands of titles for $5.99 a month.
ComiXology Unlimited — which some are calling the “Netflix of comics” — invites readers to “explore comics, graphic novels and manga like never before” and download books that can be read offline on any device. The New York-based service was acquired by Amazon in April 2014.
Readers can join with a 30-day free trial, and right now the service is only available in the United States.
A story on CNET points out that only one or two issues or volumes of each book are available through comiXology Unlimited. As titles are changed out on a monthly basis, the theory is that sales could increase in the long run.
CNET also says there are no DC Comics or Marvel titles in Unlimited. Amazon reached a deal with Marvel last June to load the Kindle with thousands of titles from the publisher of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Spider-Man,” “Daredevil” and more.
In its story, CNET pointed at several tweets from comics creators who were displeased by the new service.
Until creators can walk into Target and get as much of whatever they want for only $5.99 a month, Comixology Unlimited is not a good thing.
— Dan Jurgens (@thedanjurgens) May 24, 2016
But comiXology’s senior director of communications Chip Mosher told the news site that ultimately everyone benefits.
“Comixology Unlimited is designed to spur sampling and the discovery of new series, which spreads the love of comics and increases revenue for all publishers and creators on comiXology. Everyone —the creators, the publishers and comiXology — all benefit when more people are reading and buying more comics.”
Seattle publisher Fantagraphics Books said in a blog post that some of its most popular series will be available on the service. It listed 87 titles, including some from “Love and Rockets” and “The Complete Peanuts,” which was showing up in a “popular” box on comiXology’s homepage on Thursday.
Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds told The Seattle Review of Books about the thinking behind getting on board with Unlimited.
I did not consult with individual creators, but as with all of our digital sales relationships (subscription or otherwise), I’ve made a point to enter into non-exclusive and non-binding contracts that allow us to remove any titles at a moment’s notice from any platform, in the event that we as a company or an individual author decides they want no part of it (thus far, it’s never happened).
I decided to dip our toes into Comixology’s program because I think it is frankly the best positioned to gain traction in the marketplace. We’ll see. We are offering a limited selection of backlist — no frontlist. No frontlist was my primary “demand” in negotiating with Comixology, and they were completely accommodating.
I should also add: I only included titles that we already had rights to sell digitally. Obviously, if we didn’t have those rights, then a conversation would need be had. That should go without saying, but just in case.