Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 10, 2014

I Just Got An E-Mail That Says Will Acquire ComiXology, As Rumored And Sort Of Expected


I hope I'm not being pranked. [Update: I'm not; Chip Mosher called and confirmed.] Here it is:
Hi Tom,

Today, announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire comiXology, the company that revolutionized the digital comics reading experience with their immersive Guided View technology and makes discovering, buying, and reading comic books and graphic novels easier and more fun than ever before.

The full release is below, and can also be viewed here:


Sarah to Acquire comiXology

SEATTLE -- April 10, 2014 -- (NASDAQ: AMZN) -- today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire comiXology, the company that revolutionized the digital comics reading experience with their immersive Guided View technology and makes discovering, buying, and reading comic books and graphic novels easier and more fun than ever before.

"ComiXology's mission is to spread the love of comics and graphic novels in all forms," said David Steinberger, co-founder and CEO of comiXology. "There is no better home for comiXology than Amazon to see this vision through. Working together, we look to accelerate a new age for comic books and graphic novels."

"Amazon and comiXology share a passion for reinventing reading in a digital world," said David Naggar, Amazon Vice President, Content Acquisition and Independent Publishing. "We've long admired the passion comiXology brings to changing the way we buy and read comics and graphic novels. We look forward to investing in the business, growing the team, and together, bringing comics and graphic novels to even more readers."

Founded in 2007, comiXology offers a broad library of digital comic book content from over 75 of the top publishers as well as top independent creators. Following the acquisition, comiXology's headquarters will remain in New York.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Subject to various closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.

About comiXology

ComiXology has revolutionized the comic book and graphic novel industry by delivering a cloud-based digital comics platform that makes discovering, buying, and reading comics more fun than ever before. ComiXology's Guided View™ reading technology transforms the comic book medium into an immersive and cinematic experience, helping comiXology become a top ten grossing iPad app in 2011 and 2012 and the top grossing non-game iPad app in 2012 and 2013. Offering the broadest library of comic book content from over 75 publishers -- and independent creators as well -- comiXology will not stop until everyone on the face of the planet has become a comic book fan. ComiXology is based in New York City, with offices in Los Angeles and Paris.

About, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection., Inc. seeks to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon's developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon's own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Amazon Fire TV is a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV for easy and instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, SHOWTIME, low-cost video rentals, and much more. Kindle Paperwhite is the world's best-selling and most advanced e-reader. It features new display technology with higher contrast, the next generation built-in light, a faster processor, the latest touch technology, and exclusive new features designed from the ground up for readers. Kindle, the lightest and smallest Kindle, features improved fonts and faster page turns. The new Kindle Fire HDX features a stunning exclusive 7" or 8.9" HDX display, a quad-core 2.2 GHz processor, 2x more memory, and 11 hours of battery life, as well as exclusive new features of Fire OS 3.0 including X-Ray for Music, Second Screen, Prime Instant Video downloads, and the revolutionary new Mayday button. The all-new Kindle Fire HD includes an HD display, high-performance processor and dual speakers at a breakthrough price.

Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including,,,,,,,,,,,, and As used herein, "," "we," "our" and similar terms include, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.

Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment and data center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect's financial results is included in's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.
Let's assume this is true because I'm in a coffee shop far from home.

This has been rumored for a while, or something similar, based on a bunch of things ranging from it simply made sense, to a sense of the company and its major players that people in the industry might mention to one another, to how they staffed. Those rumors got to the point where the people that run rumors as news discussed it openly. This combined with concurrent rumors, the recognition level of the Amazon brand and the whole "it makes sense" thing to foster even more speculation, which is something I cover here when it happens. So while this is a wow moment just because of the gravity of the companies involved in terms of their relationship to comics, I doubt many are stunned.

It makes sense to me. I don't think I know of any publisher or comics fan with a significant, specific-to-comics complaint about that this move will set off a firestorm of negative reactions based on or two specific, hard-truth facts. At least nothing comes to mind. I'm sure some people will grouse about the monopoly aspects, or consider a bad/suspicious partner for comics in the long term, or consider a bad partner for independent or alternative presses generally (the comiXology submit program will be worried after a ton in the next few days), or be concerned about any sort of potential change in the fee structure that might mean a potential decrease in money going from the consumer to the maker. We'll see what sorts itself to the surface as people react.

I suppose you could point towards previous purchases, but I think there may be a diference in that Amazon has as far as I can tell not been interested in working with serial comics before -- I know a lot of folks including myself tried to get them interested when they were a baby company -- as opposed to purchases that lined up with infrastructure needs they had for something they wanted to do, like stream film. That makes me think that comiXology has made digital comics attractive to Amazon; they are buying that company, not that company as their way to get at digital comics. I'm reminded they also own some other companies that seem more intact. The fact that comiXology is keeping their NYC offices would seem to bode well in terms of projecting that the site will be kept together as a site.

Until the companies announce changes, if they do, a lot of this stuff is 2 AM dormitory hallway talk. For instance, the first thing I thought of was if too much emphasis might be placed on the guided view of doing things as the heart of the acquisition, so you might see some of the other aspects of what people like about comiXology subsumed into Amazon. The second thing I wondered is that this may cause people to really think how they're buying stuff digitally, and maybe even open up more publishers doing more with direct sales. Then I just wondered in general how the 'ownership" of the comics we bought access to will work. But you know, I might as well take a drag on a joint after offering up stuff like that. I really don't know yet. It's all guesses. Which is a lot like the quizzes I took after one too many 2 AM dormitory hallway conversations.

I think that's a good service; it's one I use. Everyone I've worked with there has been nice, and I hope they're all rewarded. Congratulations to them.

Update: David Steinberger's message here seems to indicate the company will operate as a subsidiary rather than have its infrastructure subsumed. This would lend credence to a conception that the digital comics distributor's massive growth and rapidly escalating infrastructure would make an Amazon deal potentially attractive just for the development resources they would make available to comiXology.
posted 5:00 am PST | Permalink

Daily Blog Archives
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
Full Archives