Comixology

Date Wed, March 29 2017

Just over a month ago I subscribed to the 30-day free trial of Comixology with every intent of canceling right when the month was up. I haven’t canceled yet; although, that doesn’t mean that I love Comixology.

The Comixology App

If you’re not familiar, Comixology is a comics app that’s now owned by Amazon. You can get the app for just about any device (iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, Windows, Mac) or just access Comixology in your browser. So far, I’ve used the Comixology app on my Kindle (just labeled Comics) and in my browser.

I have no problem accessing it. I had logged into Comixology several years before to download some free titles. Last month, I was able to consolidate that with my Amazon account, which I prefer. You can do something similar with your Marvel account. I had no trouble getting or loading the app.

On my Kindle, the app enables me to browse all titles and look through my own library or wishlist. I frequently use the Smart List feature, which shows me my subscriptions, downloads and comics that are currently being read. I can mark as read or unread or archive titles when I’m done. It allows you to rate titles at the end and suggests other titles (either those that I might like or others in the series).

As a Reader

One of my favorite features of Comixology is as a reader. It scales everything to the screen of my Kindle Fire almost perfectly. You can choose to view a single page or two side by side.

Not only does the app remember my place, but there are multiple options to page through them, including page thumbnails and Guided View. I typically read comics in Guided View because the screen on my Kindle is a little on the smaller size, and it magnifies each frame so I can clearly see both text and pictures. Not everyone might enjoy Guided View, however, which can take away from the overall impact of an entire page.

Although you need to be online to download titles, you can read them offline.

Finding Comics

I wanted Comixology to both direct me to new titles that I may be interested in as well as to titles that I already read or knew about and wanted to read. As it turns out, Comixology did well with both tasks.

You can search by company (Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, etc), title or author. Want manga? It’s a click away. If you’re a seasoned comic reader who wants to (re)read a specific story arc (such as Batman: Year One), Comixology lets you do that. Want the newest released? Got it. If you’re completely unsure where to go, there’s a handy link “New to comics? Start here.”

There’s no lack of guidance when it comes to finding the titles you know you want or might be interested in. And as you read titles, Comixology suggests more.

Comixology The app and site also highlight original comics, best sellers, essential graphic novels, titles that are on sale, reduced prices and comics you can grab for free with your Comixology Unlimited subscription.

You’ll find thousands of titles but not all of them. For instance, The Crow is missing. Long graphic novels such as Blankets also can’t be found.

Comixology Unlimited

For around $6 monthly, you can subscribe to Comixology Unlimited. With this service, you get access to comics for no additional charge by “borrowing” the title and returning it once you’ve finished it. I was able to read a number of image titles for free, including entire graphic novels and one series in its entirety (Alex + Ada). And the Unlimited part? Reread as often as you want.

Comixology Unlimited is a great way to try new comics before you buy, and I have since purchased (hard copies of) graphic novels. But it’s far from perfect. The titles available for free through Comixology Unlimited are inconsistent and may change at any time. You might start reading only to realize that only part of the series is available.

Pricing

None of the recent releases are free, so you’re still paying for them if you want to keep up with titles such as those in DC Rebirth. Yes, Comixology prices tend to be more affordable than heading to your local store (sometimes by 50%), and you can keep them all within the app conveniently. But you’re paying that price on top of the Comixology Unlimited subscription.

The pricing structure can also be confusing. You can purchase graphic novels or single issues for a one-time fee through the cart system. Some of those are even free so you own them outright and download them at any time.

You can also subscribe to individual series, but, you guessed it, it’s not free. It’s just a way to automatically access new titles in a series.

This subscription is for new issues in the series.

You will not receive:

  • The current issue
  • Back issues
  • Collected editions

Your primary payment method will automatically be charged when a new issue is released until you choose to cancel. You won’t be charged until the issue is released and we’ll send you an email when your book is available for download. You can manage your subscriptions any time by clicking on “Subscriptions” on your My Account page.

There’s also an option to pre-order upcoming issues individually without subscribing to the series, which might be a better bet if you don’t want to pay for them automatically.

If it sounds confusing, it can be. But it also provides a lot of options for every type of comic reader. For those who follow a number of current titles, Comixology might mean savings over buying actual issues, but you’ll only have them in digital form. Comixology Unlimited enables you to try out new titles or reread applicable titles as many times as you want, but the selection is limited.

As a reader and library, I enjoy Comixology, but I will likely unsubscribe after this month, which will have provided enough time for me to try out everything on Comixology that looked interesting. Unless they add more titles to Comixology Unlimited, I just can’t justify paying for it.

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