Mike Perkins, current artist on Swamp Thing, is not happy with Amazon and ComiXology this week. He posted to Facebook;
It takes a long time to make a comic. As an artist it will take me a month to pull it together – not forgetting that the cover images need to be done 3 months prior. Somebody has to write it before then – talking it through with editorial. Editors, in turn, live with the book long after I've put my brush down and moved onto the next issue. We're talking a fair few months in the creation of that one issue.
Conversely, we generally have one week – or just 1 day – to get that comic in front of the faces of the reading public. Since Amazon took over Comixology that just hasn't been happening. Amazon UK have consistently missed out on updating their new releases on a Wednesday – including the 2nd time they have done this on a week when The Swamp Thing is released. This impacts sales on my title as well as the industry as a whole. There have been a fair few other frustrating things about the Amazon takeover but this obliterates the exposure of a comic immediately.
The photo below shows the Amazon UK page this morning – with LAST week's comics.
Alternatively, and preferably : https://www.comicshoplocator.com/
And then adding and tagging me in, telling me "perhaps something you may want to follow up. Utilise the power of the press!"
You know what? I have checked. It's Friday, three days later after it should have updated, and it still hasn't updated This Week's Releases yet. You can see why some people may be a little annoyed with this state of affairs.
Bleeding Cool has been reporting on concerns about digital comic book distributor ComiXology and its switch to the Amazon website and structure since they were implemented earlier this year. We have reported on the dropping of the ComiXology website comic book reader. It is ComiXology App only on mobile devices and tablets or using a reskinned version of 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. That publishers have noted a drop in digital sales especially after Amazon disabled the Subscription feature in other territories and that previous online links to ComiXology listings no longer work. Some improvements to the initial ComiXology readers have come in. But in general, the reading experience is still compromised, finding what you want is really hard.
The US and UK homepages for ComiXology through Amazon have definitely improved. ComiXology states that the comics store homepage on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk now automatically focuses search results on just comics, manga, and graphic novels content. But that still leaves a wasteland for other countries.
The truth is that this didn't come from ComiXology but from the corporate parent. As far as digital comic book reading experiences. ComiXology was as good as you could get. It really didn't need fixing. Amazon has, in an attempt to smooth ComiXology into Amazon, destroyed what made it work. And is now slowly, slowly trying to get closer to what it once had. With occasional steps backwards.
The two figures most associated with ComiXology, co-founder and CEO David Steinberger has been promoted within Amazon and Head Of Content Chip Mosher has moved on to, we are told, another digital comic publisher – not Tapas or Webtoon but somewhere new. Maybe somewhere that might even compete with ComiXology? It's there for the taking right now.