ComiXology Comes to Android

This was announced last month, but with the holidays, I didn’t have time to write about it — and I wanted to, since I use an Android phone instead of an iPhone/iPad/iTouch/iWhatever.

The Comics by comiXology Android app has been released in beta for devices at version 2.1 or higher. Just search for “comics” in the Market. Says CEO David Steinberger, “Our enthusiastic community has been asking us for an Android app and it’s with great pleasure that we bring it to them in time for the holidays. … Now, more people who want to read a comic will have the opportunity to do so, when and where they want, while giving our content partners another major distribution outlet.”

Unless you’re Marvel. All other comics are available across platforms — buy it on the web, read it on your handheld through the same account. But Marvel’s online comics are only available for the iOS versions. There are over 36 other publishers available, though, and DC is prominently mentioned in the release as supporting this new platform.

Although the announcement promotes the existence of over 300 free comics, I found that the vast majority of them are “special 10-page previews” or other limited releases, not full issues. Vendors sure want me to buy — but I’m an Android user, I rarely pay for software. :) If you do want to purchase, you’re sent to PayPal, another detriment to me. I don’t trust their service; I would rather use the Google Checkout that is used for downloaded Android apps, or even have the charges put on my phone bill, as T-Mobile allows.

I liked that I was given a “how to use the app” comic to read before my first comic — it helped me understand the special views and options to pick. I liked how it demonstrated what I could do as well as showing how different sized panels were treated by the application. It did take me a bit to get used to the app zooming from panel to panel for me, so I’m glad I started with previews of comics I’d already read, since that familiarity was a help.

Competitor graphic.ly also has a beta version, but it’s in a much earlier state, closer to an alpha, and it only works with comics you have bought through their web store (so no testing for me).


8 Responses to “ComiXology Comes to Android”

  1. david brothers Says:

    I’m pretty certain that the Paypal issue is because Android apps, including in-app purchases I believe, are returnable within 24 hours, no questions asked. Steinberger mentioned that as a concern of their expansion into Android, and that another competitor had taken a beating on those returns. I think that by going through paypal, they get to sidestep that issue.

    Far from optimal, though. Paypal is a pain, and like you say, it going directly onto my bill would be great. As-is, I’ve been buying on the web site when new books drop and reading on my phone or at my computer later in the week.

  2. Kelson Says:

    Nice writeup! I tried it out briefly, but only took the time to read one of those 10-page previews. I still haven’t tried buying anything, so I didn’t even know about the limited payment options.

    I’m not sure if the 24-hour return period is a Google Checkout policy or an Android Market policy. I do remember when iVerse(?) first launched comics on Android, they couldn’t sell within the app. They had to sell the comics as individual apps, subject to that return policy, and offered a free app that would let you move the comics to your SD card (this being a big deal back when the phones had so little memory on then)…but only after the 24-hour return period had passed. So you *could* read stuff for free if you wanted to by buying it, reading it, and immediately returning it, but you couldn’t keep a copy. (In theory. I’m sure someone figured out how to. Sooner or later, *all* copy protection gets broken.)

  3. Johanna Says:

    Google reduced the return time to something like 15 minutes from the previous 24 hours. The plan-ahead-using-the-web idea is a good one, but eliminates the “impulse purchase”. So, early days yet. I’m sure changes are still coming.

  4. Michelle Says:

    I’ve got the Comixology app on my Android – I really like it! The guided view is fantastic for reading on the smaller screen. Thankfully they’ve just released an update which fixed a problematic bug which stopped panels from being viewed (some sort of memory thing, I believe), so it’s a peach to use.

    I have noticed that through Paypal (and on the Comixology website) that comics are at a lower price. For example, an Archie comic will set you back just 99 cents on Android or on the web, while it will cost you $1.19 on iTunes, etc (every other platform that starts with an “i”). Not that I’m against Apple at all, but, well, that’s a bit rich.

    I do hope that Marvel come to the party soon. I also wonder how long it’s going to take for the publishers to have the digital comics out at the same time, or soon after, the print release. Surely they can see that would be to their benefit.

    Anyway, just some musings. The digital comics platform is really happening at the moment!

  5. Mike Kowalczyk Says:

    Plus, The Walking Dead publishes on Comixology the same day as print! Been reading TWD through them for two months and I love it! No Marvel is not exactly detrimental. Since I’m a big trades-only guy, and the closest comic shop is 30 miles away, this service is perfect for people with similar situations.

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