ComiXology isn’t going anywhere yet DRM free downloads are great anyway.


ComiXology recently announced that they’ve started offering comics publishers the option of releasing their books DRM free. This is a fantastic move. It’s great for readers, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

A friend asked on twitter why this was such a good thing, considering ComiXology doesn’t seem to be going out of business any time soon and you can download books into one of their many apps.

I had a few reasons in mind when I started downloading the comics that I’d bought. When I thought about it a while I came up with lots more.

ComiXology doesn’t have to go out of business for your comics to go away.

  • ComiXology may loose the right to host a certain title you’ve bought and have to pull it from the service. For example, is it that crazy to think that Disney might not want Amazon dictating the terms for all of Marvels digital comics sales?
  • ComiXology may get in a dispute with a publisher and decide to pull that publishers books as leverage. If this sounds outrageous, it is. It’s seems more likely if you replace the name “ComiXology” with “Amazon” however, which I guess we should do in our heads from now on.
  • ComiXology may stop supporting your platform of choice. Today, the idea that ComiXology would someday stop supporting iOS or Android seems crazy but someday it’s going to happen. Platforms don’t stay around forever. What if Apple changes their terms of service in a way that forces ComiXology off the platform? What if one platform simply stops being popular enough to support?

In that last case, it’s happened already. Look at Windows 8. Unfortunately ComiXology has all but abandoned their Windows 8 app. On many devices, like Microsofts flagship Surface tablets you’d be hard pressed to buy or read a comic on it.

It’s possible that none of these things will ever happen. We don’t know.

The only thing we can be certain of is that things will change. Nothing stays the same forever, and in the world of technology, which ComiXology exists in equally with the world of comics, nothing even stays the same for very long.

There are other reasons to download books besides safeguarding for the future.

  • You can mix your ComiXology collection with files you got from other places. I have several titles I love that I’ve bought right from the creators site themselves. Now they are no longer second class citizens next to the books trapped in my ComiXology app.
  • You can read comics using the reading app of your choice, and there are a lot of cool ones out there.
  • You can organize your comics however you see fit. Some comics reading apps allow you to make custom comic groups. For example “Comics I never tire of reading over and over again.” “ My top ten comics about Storm” “Comcs I use to get inspired”
  • They are easier to transfer from device to device.
  • You can lend your comics to friends. I know ComiXologys terms of service forbids this, but the portal where ComiXology Submit publishers choose to deactivate DRM also says this:
Even ComiXology is of two minds on the subject.

All this is to say that ComiXology should be applauded for offering this feature. More publishers should turn off DRM (here’s how) and you should go download copies of your comics.

If you liked this post, you might like my graphic novel The Chairs’ Hiatus. You can read the whole thing for free on Medium if you like.