ComiXology App 4.0 Update Is Just A "Bad Version Of The Kindle App"

Bleeding Cool has been reporting on concerns about the ComiXology switch to the Amazon website and structure over the past week. We have reported on the dropping of the ComiXology website comic book reader. It will be ComiXology App only on mobile devices and tablets or using the Kindle reader on the desktop – which was not designed for reading comic books. Another big issue is for the non-Americans only, as they are no longer able to subscribe to digital series. For some undisclosed reason. Which is a pain for many and may well lead to reduced income for publishers and creators. But as the ComiXology App was also updated, a stream of other complaints came in, talking about how people's libraries had been removed, downloads deleted, the speed of reading delayed, definition degraded, ease of use decimated and we reported an account from a ComiXology Beta Tester looking at the circumstances behind some of the changes. But there are more accounts to share.

In response to a deleted tweet by an Amazon engineer Rowan Hall, Cornelius Stuyvesant wrote; "I am sorry to say your new app is a huge step backwards. Having to redownload everything is super customer unfriendly. Big step backwards in functionality. I am a year one customer with a huge library, and I am sitting here regretting spending that money with you. Just to provide more details so you can understand where your team screwed up and communicate it correctly."

"Redownloading the entire library is not just a small inconvenience. I have over 20k books in my library, over 5k I have downloaded currently. Over 500GB. Having to download over 500GB of books is going to take ages. Not just waiting for the books to download, but the wasted bandwidth. There is no reason you could not have put the resources into an auto-conversion process when updating to the new app. I don't think I am enough of a corner case either based on what I am seeing on Twitter. Additionally, you are not allowed to say "that's not how to use the app". I travel a ton, I often have no data when on the road. A large library is super helpful when away from data. Going beyond download, you are lacking a lot of very useful features on this new release. The smart lists are super heavily used to track items, having that gone is horrible. The sort by series feature is not working correctly either. That's core essential functionality. The general app is less discoverable for functionality. The downloads are slow. It 100% feels like a bad version of the kindle app. This upgrade is bad for customers. I am disappointed in the fact that you did what is good for you without putting customers first. I have had a very long relationship with @comiXology, spend thousands of dollars. As I sit here tonight I regret it all."

Customer Kristian Peak writes to Bleeding Cool to say "When the final note on comiXology's changes came out, I sent out a slew of tweets. You are one of the only people to reply, although a number of creators picked it up too. Thanks for that. It concerns me that I didn't see Marvel or DC say anything about this – doubly so as they moved their digital stores into this sh-tshow…. Purchasing comics on a non-US store requires you to remember a book is out, and then shop one at a time – because Amazon doesn't appear to have a basket, just one-click shopping. I guess we could overlook this, except the PC viewing solution is a dumpster fire, and the updated apps have WIPED YOUR COLLECTION, and the service has lost track of what you have and have not read. The sorting options are woeful too. There is clearly a digital monopoly, because Amazon felt they could just throw this sh-t on the table, and we'd still eat it. It's terrifying to throw $1000s more at them knowing they could pull something worse down the line – they demonstrated that they don't give a f-ck about the end user already, who knows what's next? It's genuinely easier to use torrents, which is never a good thing."

Comic book reader Josh Casper lets rip while stoned – though with a few amends to spare our blushes. "[BLANK] I hope all the [BLANK] butts at [BLANK] buttology read this. They [BLANK] up a pretty good (not perfect) app. The smart list stuff was great and the little on/off switch for the cloud books and books on the phone was great. I wish they had a folder feature or a better way to navigate through unlimited. The new [BLANK] update [BLANK] all the [BLANK] but in the wrong way. I'm not a great speller and i'm kind of buzzed and mad. Being drunk and stoned and reading comics was my jam! This downgrade of the app has messed that all up. This app just feels like Sonic would say "no good" I hope they fix this cuz I have spent a lot of money on the app. End of the day I just want to read my books like before. Also why does the app look worse and where's the [BLANK] auto-rotate?? I may be high and just can't find it cuz I'm dumb. Or it might just not be there."

Landon Chase was just depressed, writing "It's out in the US today and the app is a complete train wreck…. App is slower, clumsy, lacking features, just awful. Everything we feared and more. It's actually worse than the kindle app. 15k plus library here and I feel like I just lost it all."

David Gahan writes "It's sluggish at best on a brand new fully loaded iPad Pro 12.9 (16 GB of RAM, plenty of waiting…). The UI is ugly, and for comics reading absolutely atrocious. The image quality seems fuzzier, with more wasted space. I may stop buying digital entirely after 1,000s of purchases."

ComiXology App 4.0 Update Is Just A "Bad Version Of The Kindle App"

"Here's another new "feature." In your library, @comiXology has replaced books you've paid for with these amazing grey blocks. They truly enhance the experience by creating a longing in you to be able to complete the graphic novel you started reading last night. Quality stuff."

ComiXology App 4.0 Update Is Just A "Bad Version Of The Kindle App"

"And if you're a fan of choice, they provide black boxes instead of grey when you switch to list views! They thought of everything…except making the app useable for reading comics you've bought. Great job @comiXology @cmxsupport"

John Parkinson writes "Agree. Also seems really slow for me on iPad Pro. Sorting, reading, scrolling, all of it. I wonder if it's a large library issue (>25k) but that's not a good excuse really. The more books you have the worse experience you get?"

Adam S. Messinger writes "I just spent about 20 minutes with it. I had a ton of sh-it in the archive because it cluttered the collection (various free #1s and such). That is all scattered about now. My only option is to perminatly delete things from my collection. The removal of the smart lists really strips it of a handy function. I was in the middle of about 4 different books. I've lost my place in all of them. @amazon has royally screwed up the @comiXology app."

And Battle Glove wrote "There's a downgrade in image quality with the update. I've viewed the same panels in 3 places. iPad Pro (old app) iPhone13 ProMax (new update) & again on same iPhone (current Kindle app). New app update from @comiXology has a noticeable drop in quality. You know that Amazon doesn't care about its customers when they choose to take something we love and ruin it, on #ValentinesDay  What are the odds?!?"

Rob: "with this major new version, you will need to login and re-download your books" This takes about 30 hours on iOS and roughly 4 days on an Android tablet. The kicker? The books will STOP downloading if the screen goes to sleep. Your service is AWFUL!

One issue seems to be that, over the years, ComiXology has increased the definition of many comic books that were already downloaded by people, and now the current versions seems to have rolled back on that definition.

Sama Smith wrote to ComiXology support "When the ComiXology app updated to the 4.0 version, it removed any updates that the books received on the original version of the app and are of much inferior quality now. When I download the old DC app it looks like the old version, but the updated app uses the newer inferior Kindle version of the book. How can I get the better version restored on the 4.0 ComiXology app?"

He compared a version of one panel from the Marvel Unlimited app to how it now looks on the ComiXology app. The ComiXology support Twitter account with his details…

 

There are plenty of other accounts detailing people's various experiences and ComiXology Support is replying to them.

Thomas: Wow, this is bad. My iPad has auto update turned off because I can't find a way to manage this situation that has been created. Random novels show up in my comics app. Nothing shows as read. You need massive improvements and most importantly to LISTEN to the people

CMX:  Novels should not be appearing in your new app version. Please contact our customer support team (support@comixology.com) so we can look into this as soon as possible. Thank you.

John Parkinson: Did you test the new app with large libraries? My ~25k library is very slow to do any operations on an iPad Pro. Scrolling, Reading, Selecting, everything has a noticeable lag and the old app didn't have this at all.

CMX: The new app version is likely still syncing all of your book data. We tested rigorously for large library customers and expect the app will perform normally once the update is complete. If you are still experiencing these issues by end of day, please let us know.

ComiXology App 4.0 Update Is Just A "Bad Version Of The Kindle App"

Indeed this seems to be an answer given to many… just wait and let everything sync. We will be checking in to see if people are indeed still experiencing these issues by the end of the day. But right now, the suggestion is… don't update your ComiXology App. Keep the old one going for as long as you can… and let's see what happens. We will be looking at these issues and others through the day and invite ComiXology representatives, if they would like to talk further about the current issues, to reach out. We would be happy to report the perspective on the other side of the digital divide.

 

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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