Why DRM-Free Comics Matter

Matthew Bogart has posted a great summary of why it’s a good thing that ComiXology added DRM-free functionality. He called it “ComiXology isn’t going anywhere yet DRM free downloads are great anyway”, and it’s posted at Medium.

He sets up two categories. The first, “ComiXology doesn’t have to go out of business for your comics to go away”, talks about why titles become unavailable, either through publisher or distributor choices, or because someone’s using an unpopular technology. I didn’t realize, for example, that ComiXology 1) had a Windows 8 app and 2) didn’t support it any more.

The second category is more wide-ranging, listing “other reasons to download books besides safeguarding for the future.” These mostly fall in the categories of “organization” and “choice” (of apps, devices, and sharing), both things I support.

5 Responses to “Why DRM-Free Comics Matter”

  1. Thad Says:

    Most of the people I’ve seen asking the question “But why does it matter?” support their position using the phrase “But I don’t” a lot.

    Well, some people do.

    You don’t read your comics offline? Some people do. You don’t have CBZ files that you read in other apps? Some people do. You don’t use Linux? Some people do.

    Decisions like this aren’t necessarily made just to appease existing customers. Sometimes they’re made to appeal to people who AREN’T already customers because they are unsatisfied with the service as-is.

    Though in this case, I suspect it’s because the publishers realized being locked into a single vendor is not good for them. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Image announced DRM-free comic sales right after the Saga #12 debacle.

  2. Johanna Says:

    I agree. I think publishers are often happy with the way things are until a change makes them think about the disadvantages, whether it’s Apple’s restrictions (as you mention) or Amazon’s acquisition.

  3. Anthony Says:

    Figured publishers would’ve learned their lesson from Diamond’s monopoly status before stampeding off to give another platform a near-monopoly (Comixology), but I guess “OMG piracy! Heavily locked down DRM will protect us!” triumphed over remembering that. :-p

  4. Johanna Says:

    I suspect “we don’t want to bother dealing with this ourselves” plays into it too.

  5. Julia L. Says:

    I also wonder how much Comixology’s lengthy outage featured into this. It might not bother the DC/Marvels, but the smaller presses where this is a large chunk of their revenue might be thinking about it.




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