While there are still quite a few good comic book reader apps on the App Store, there's really only one choice for buying digital comics directly from the publishers: Comixology's aptly title Comics app. Comixology launched early on iOS devices, beginning with a web interface and then the very popular iPhone app. Since the introduction of the iPad the company's really started to shine, bringing in huge partnerships with publishers like DC, Marvel, and Image Comics. Comixology provides both a very slick and usable reading interface and a very well-designed store that delivers digital comics through in-app purchases.
Comixology's VP of Marketing, PR, and Business Development Chip Mosher kindly met up with us on the floor of Macworld | iWorld this week, and he agrees that the App Store has brought a lot of success for Comixology, both the app and the company itself (which also runs a few other standalone apps). Even so, Mosher says "really good" still isn't good enough. While Comixology does have most of the major comic titles covered, Dark Horse Comics still delivers its titles through its own store, and Archie Comics also come through a dedicated app run by competitor iVerse Media (though Comixology does carry the comics as well already). There are still some whales out there that Comixology is hunting in terms of delivering digital comics on the iPad.
Mosher balked at revealing any major features of the app in the works, but he does say that Comixology is aiming for a "buy once, read anywhere" plan with its digital downloads. Even before iCloud took off, Comixology offered its own syncing service, so any titles purchased on the iPhone would show up automatically on the iPad and vice versa. Mosher says the company has worked to do that with everything, so purchases also cross over to Android devices, plus any readers on desktop computers or the web. He agrees that as long as the company can provide readers with their purchased comics when and wherever they need them, customers will be happy to jump in and buy them under the Comixology banner.
Mosher shrugs at the mention of Apple bringing comic books to iBooks in a more official way. Certainly, Apple has shown some interest in bringing periodicals to iBooks, and a few comic authors are publishing their own books using iBooks Author. But Mosher believes Comixology will just have to continue to provide content users want in an app they're happy to use and worry about whatever Apple decides to do when that happens.
Finally, we chatted about Comixology's "Guided View" technology, which provides a panel-by-panel look at each comic's art. Mosher says that when the tech was first introduced, "I don't think anyone at Comixology thought people would use it," but in fact "a ton of people have." Mosher says it's probably most valuable on the iPhone's smaller screen, but Comixology still uses the tech to provide the feature on all of its new comics, so clearly the company is committing to support it.
Comixology has had a lot of success on the iPad especially, to the point where anyone looking for comics on Apple's tablet will likely end up in this app eventually. We'll keep an eye on the app and the company going forward, and see what they can do next to keep their growing hold on the iPad's comics market.