Graphic.ly Calls Quits to Digital Comic Distribution

Here’s the first casualty among digital comic distributors: Graphic.ly will no longer be supporting their comic-reading apps, and they are no longer available to install.

Our iPhone, iPad, and Android applications, as well as our Adobe AIR Desktop application, will no longer be available for download…. [T]he apps will still work, but you will no longer be able to purchase titles within them. You can still use the apps to read your library of comics and whatever future titles you purchase on Graphicly.com, which will still have the vast library of publications from more than 400 publishers still available for purchase. Purchased titles can be read on Grapicly.com and through the Graphicly Facebook app.

So now you’re responsible for backing up those applications, or you’ll lose access to the online comics you “bought” using your preferred reader. There’s also the question of how long Graphic.ly will want to maintain support for these titles on their servers. Most of the best-known online comic suppliers don’t actually sell you anything; they’re licensing the ability to read the comics to you. If they turn off their servers, the app can’t check that you’re authorized, and poof! there goes your access.

I’m not surprised to see Graphic.ly changing their business focus. Their announcement goes on to talk about refocusing on helping publishers get their work made available digitally, and no longer wanting to run a store, but it boils down to this: Graphic.ly wasn’t offering anything to differentiate themselves. Their intent to create interactive extras for comics never took off (although Marvel is now planning something similar, without their help). ComiXology had the most publishers and comics available. iVerse is Diamond Distribution’s digital partner, although their offering is way overdue. There are no other major players. It looks like, instead of learning the lessons caused by the problems of a monopoly print comic distributor, the same kind of structure is being recreated in the digital realm.

If you want to know more, company CEO Micah Baldwin answered questions for Comics Alliance.

Similar Posts: Marvel Comics Now Available on Android Via Graphic.ly § Top Shelf Adds DRM-Free Graphic Novel Purchases to Website § How Is Graphic.Ly Doing? How About Longbox? A Survey of Digital Comic Distributors § Checking in on the Digital Distributors: A Status Update § IDW Dumps iVerse for ComiXology, Goes Same-Day Digital at Full Price


4 Responses to “Graphic.ly Calls Quits to Digital Comic Distribution”

  1. Tom Ramirez Says:

    This makes me a sad panda.

  2. Russell Lissau Says:

    I bought one comic on the Graphic.ly app to support a friend, and I really disliked the software. Biggest complaint: no way to ff or rewind like a normal book, you had to read it page by page. That’s a pain of you just want to read a chapter of a GN or skip forward/backward.

  3. Digital Exclusivity Returns, With Marvel Singles Exclusive to Comixology » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] I think it’s fair now to call comiXology the new Diamond, since it’s locked up Marvel and DC digital issues. While some publishers — Top Shelf and Archie come immediately to mind — follow a strategy of making their publications available on any and every platform, more seem interested in not dealing with the diversity of formats. Handing those details off to a specialized partner makes sense. I had previously noted that some publishers were backing away from exclusivity, but now I think that digital distributors that aren’t comiXology have tough times ahead. Graphicly already saw the light and left the business. [...]

  4. Digital Story Updates: Amazon, Hachette, Diamond, Graphicly » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] aptly chosen for that field) and the digital comic company will be no more. They’d stopped working with comics two years ago. Rumor has it that a number of comic publishers will get stiffed on money due, as […]

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