A little over a month ago, Comixology launched their subscription digital comic book service, Comixology Unlimited. I signed up on launch day for my free trial and here are my thoughts on the experience.
Every source I saw promoting this service called it a “Netflix style” subscription service. All in all, the reviews seemed positive and said that the cost was worth it. Well, neither Comixology nor parent company, Amazon, advertise with me so here is my honest opinion on Unlimited. I’m all about ethics in comic book journalism.
For $6 a month, let’s not squabble about that penny, Comixology Unlimited allows you access to a curated library of content. Now, the access is unlimited, but the content surely isn’t. Despite the hype, once I got into it, I discovered that what is available is either the first collection of a series, or the first few individual issues that make up that collection.
Ok, so the program is geared to introduce new readers to a book, and to drive sales on their site. That’s ok. Comixology sells comics, that’s what they do. I’ve been a consumer on their site for years. If they want to start an initiative to drive sales, good for them.
DON’T tell me that this is an “all you can eat” style subscription service and compare it to something like Netflix. I know Netflix doesn’t always have up to date episodes of shows available, but they don’t give me the first season and then charge me to watch the rest.
Even back to when this service was rumored to be coming last year on Bleeding Cool, it was assumed that this would feature a majority of the content Comixology offered. Instead we are getting introductory stories like an expanded Free Comic Book Day that you have to shell out for.
It was at this point that I couldn’t reconcile why Marvel and DC Comics aren’t a part of this program. All they are giving you is the first 6 issues or so of a series. In some cases, less. How could they not convince the Big 2 to go along with this? Their absence will always be noted with a service like this. Marvel already has the superior Marvel Unlimited program that I subscribe to. DC doesn’t seem interested in any type of program like this. (Despite my numerous tweets. Whatever happened to “Because you demanded it?”)
Are they really opposed to fans sampling introductory stories that can be rotated out and maybe purchasing future issues? It just seems odd since they already have so much content on Comixology. If Marvel just didn’t want to compete with their in house (of ideas) service, that’s understandable. What’s keeping DC out of this? Do they think this will cut into their digital sales that considerably? Unlimited only offers the first arc, so that would be older content that probably isn’t moving too much later on. This is all speculation on my part, since digital sales aren’t reported to the public.
When I signed up and started looking around, I did find things I wanted to read. There are always indy books that I am interested in, but don’t have the funds or time to pick up when they come out. Of course, there were some of those on there that I read. I am apprehensive about checking out an indy title if I can’t continue to read it. However, there’s really not enough here to keep me interested.
Comixology Unlimited is “unlimited” in name only. There is a very finite selection offered here. They plan to rotate content in and out, and have already announced some upcoming titles. Despite that, “Unlimited” is a misnomer and a more appropriate name should have been selected. Comixology Plus or Comixology Select or something along those lines. If they had marketed this as a “best of” Comixology I probably would have had a different view of it.
If you’re a new reader who wants to try some new books and find something you will like, Comixology Unlimited is probably worth it. It is a good way to sample independent books that don’t always get the spotlight that they deserve and can be overlooked. I have been collecting comics for 27 years and know what I like and what I’m looking for. For me, this service isn’t worth it and I cancelled my membership before the free trial ended. It will take some expansive changes to get me interested in coming back to this service.
Now, I can sit in judgement of Comixology, but as you know, only Jack Kirby can judge me.