- Posted by Johanna on February 6, 2011 at 7:01 am
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
Marvel announced a new venue for their online comic sales: “Marvel Comics on Chrome”. If you use the Google Chrome web browser and visit chrome.marvel.com, you can buy “over 1,600 comics” at $1.99 each. You can also view, through this … well, it doesn’t really seem like an “app”, anything you’ve bought through Marvel Comics on iTunes, “though purchases made through the Chrome store may only be viewed through the Marvel Comics app on Chrome.”
This is going exactly the wrong direction, and I’m not just talking about the one-way purchase accessibility. Marvel uses ComiXology’s technology, I believe, for their comic store, yet although ComiXology is available on iTunes, browsers, and Android, Marvel has kept their digital comics from being available through the last two outlets. Now they’re trying to dictate what browser software you use?
The best part, I thought, was that it was so badly done. I visited the site using Safari on a Mac, and it let me try to read and purchase comics… only it kept erroring. If you’re going to require a particular browser, shouldn’t you do it better?
Customers want a streamlined, easy-to-use reading experience. If I pay your (too-high) prices to “buy” a digital comic, I should be able to read it in more places, not fewer. I don’t want to have to think about which program I have to open on which platform — a 20-page part of a story just isn’t worth the trouble!
The marketers are even worse. “Marvel Comics on Chrome is the next step of Marvel’s commitment to making high definition digital comics available to users anytime, anywhere,” explained Ira Rubenstein, Executive Vice President, Global Digital Media Group. You say that, but you give us the opposite.
The customer version of the announcement is trying to prevent complaints when people buy in the “wrong” place: “So keep on purchasing comics through your Marvel Comics App for iOS — then read them as you normally would on your iPad, iPhone, and/or iPod touch, and now, via the Chrome store on your desktop or laptop computer!” So I have to go somewhere else to buy comics for it if I truly want portability? What was wrong with the already-existing ComiXology interactivity? Maybe Marvel decided they didn’t want to give away any more of the cut in sales, hmm?
Customer comments on the post aren’t falling for the hype — many are asking for a way to read their Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited subscription on handhelds, another customer desire Marvel is ignoring. Those that aren’t are asking for Android access, a significant platform whose lack of access puts the lie to the “Enjoy Marvel Comics! Anytime. Anywhere.” tagline.