Yesterday I peeked behind the digital curtain at ComiXology, the cloud-based multiplatform digital comics reader, as co-founder and CEO David Steinberger talked through what’s new for ComiXology, what’s been working well according to a recent survey of over 16,000 readers.
ComiXology just passed the milestone of 200,000,000 downloaded comics. A good handful of those have been downloads in our household. As someone relatively new to comics, ComiXology is my favorite way to read them. I like the shopping experience of having comic book discovery at my fingertips, and the guided view technology used make comics so beautifully cinematic. I’ve been pleased as well with their nice selection of independent and kids’ comics.
It turns out, I’m part of the changing face of comic book readership. In their survey of readers, they found that the core customer of ComiXology is who you might expect:
- Age 27-36
- Has been reading print comics for a long time
But a new customer is emerging:
- Age 17-26
- Newer to comics, with many reading comics for the first time digitally
Of buyers new to ComiXology in the last three months, 20% are women. That’s up from less than 5% when they started the app, and it’s a number that Steinberger says is changing rapidly. Comic book publishers, take note. The survey also found that of the readers who were reading their first comic digitally, many went on to buy comics in print. Again, comic book publishers, take note.
I suspect that the ComiXology Submit program is helping, and will continue to help, cultivate new comics readers. In fact, since its launch, Submit has become a top 20 publisher by revenue. Content creators can deliver their independent comics to ComiXology, and if it’s professionally-created, it will likely get approved. (Unless you use Comic Sans. Be prepared to face certain rejection.) Browsing through the independent comics, you’ll see a huge range of voices and styles represented, including many underrepresented voices in mainstream comics. It’s great for creators. Steinberger said he sees much more risk-taking here than in mainstream comics. And these creators can go from having their comics in a few shops to having an international marketplace to find their readers.
Here’s a handful of things I learned about ComiXology:
* The average ComiXology customer spends about $100/year. A quarter of readers spend over $400/year. A single reader has spent $63,000 and counting. Is it you?
* There’s a line of comics that are Guided View Native (GVN). These comics take deeper advantage of the deeper platform with cool effects on lighting, focus, etc. Motorcycle Samurai is a good example worth checking out.
* Your local comic book shop can have a digital storefront that allows you to still give your business to the small guy while buying digitally. Stores can even run deals and keep pull lists for their customers.
Naturally, ComiXology also has some launches and deals to align with New York Comic Con, too:
* There’s a new Android Holo release with a refreshed design. HD content will now be offered for the first time on Android.
* Apps have a new Fit to Width function that helps the reading of portrait pages in landscape view.
* DC graphic novels and collections are now available.
* If you’ve ever thought about reading The Walking Dead, now’s the time. Issues #1-114 are on sale for $99.99, or $0.99 each.
* Ape Entertainment is coming to ComiXology, with titles like Sesame Street, Kung Fu Panda, and game-based comics like Cut the Rope. Hurrah for more kids’ comics!
If you’re at New York Comic Con this weekend, definitely check out all that’s new with ComiXology. And have a look around and all of the different types of comic book readers you see.
Amy Kraft is a kids' media producer, writer, and game designer living in New York City. She also writes the kids' media blog Media Macaroni.