Digital comic book lovers are in a very justifiable tizzy. Amazon and ComiXology are now one. Actually, let me be more colorful. Amazon ate ComiXology and pooped out a crApp that currently pales compared to the original ComiXology experience. User digital comic book libraries are turned upside down. The useful digital comic functionality is seemingly lost, and general unsatisfying UX plagues the comic reader app. Amazon has fallen into that oh-so-common trap with acquiring another company’s codebase. Legacy code.
Amazon and ComiXology make a terrible baby.
I have no inside information on the issues with carrying over the ComiXology experience to Amazon. I’ve worked through tech acquisitions. Merging both code and user bases is no easy task. Only made harder by the sheer number of users and digital baggage involved. The e-commerce giant simply NEEDS to own that digital comic book experience, which is why they decided against ComiXology operating on its own.
The UX of the new app seems to have regressed in the transition, leaving many digital comic book lovers confused and discouraged. The downside is Amazon wouldn’t (or couldn’t) port over the ComiXology codebase in total, which has been tailored for years to provide digital comic book users the best reading experience possible. Instead, functionality like guiding reading, DRM-free downloads, hidden in-browser libraries, the ability to submit user-created comics, and much more are all left on the cutting room floor (for now, I assume).
It’s so bad Amazon sent out an email asking users to bear with them on their journey back to the starting line. They also included a sole JPG of the comic app for, I don’t really know why.
It will be fine, though
I rely on digital comics. I simply don’t have the space for physical ones anymore. A clean, seamless reading experience is a must for digital comics. Something ComiXology nailed throughout many years of updates, user testing, and hard work. This new Amazon experience lost a lot of that. I believe it will be restored to something close to the experience fans came to love about ComiXology. Whether it be incompatible code, reconfiguring designs to work within the Amazon brand space, or rebuilding the comic creator submit function, Amazon will eventually have an experience not as terrible as the current one. This is just an awful first impression.