ComiXology Launches Unlimited Reading Service for Monthly Fee

ComiXology logo

It’s what fans want — sort of. ComiXology has launched ComiXology Unlimited, an all-you-can-read browsing service. It’s $5.99 a month; you get a 30-day free trial; and it includes downloads for offline reading. What it doesn’t include is DC or Marvel titles.

Publishers participating include:

  • Image Comics
  • Dark Horse Comics
  • IDW Publishing
  • BOOM! Studios
  • Dynamite Entertainment
  • Oni Press
  • Archie Comics
  • Valiant Entertainment
  • Fantagraphics
  • Humanoids
  • Kodansha Comics

ComiXology Unlimited

The offerings are selected titles only, so check if there’s something you want before you sign up. You can easily determine which titles are included by looking them up at ComiXology; those available display “Unlimited” banners. Aside from DC and Marvel, other featured publishers not participating are Monkeybrain, Avatar, and Viz.

Other caveats apply: You have to use a credit card (no debit cards). It’s US only for now. It requires merging with an Amazon account. Not all issues of any given series are available, with most providing a kind of “sample” first arc or similar.

Since Marvel has its own subscription program, at a higher price, that leaves DC as the only major American comics publisher without a monthly subscription method to read titles. Since they’re currently working on rebooting to emphasize their history, I hope that’s something they’re looking into.

Update: Comic Book Resources interviewed CEO David Steinberger about the new program.



3 comments

  • Jer

    I suspect that DC doesn’t have an “Unlimited” catalog because of their successful bookstore strategy. DC has been doing the collection game far longer and far better than Marvel and so has a lot more of an income stream to lose if they go to an unlimited model and it cuts into their collection sales. Even their backlist can cycle in and out of print for quite a long time – how many different versions of the Alan Moore collections have they done over the years? Or versions of the “Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told”? Even these recent 75th anniversary collections for various characters are basically expanded versions of those “Greatest X Stories” series – how many fewer of those would they sell if they had some version of Marvel’s unlimited that people subscribed to? And how many subscribers would it take to make up that difference? Those are the kinds of questions that I’m sure are being asked before DC is willing to take part in any kind of “unlimited” strategy.

  • That’s very true, and part of this we haven’t seen work out yet. Expanding on your points — will having titles (if only a limited number) available mean people are more willing to wait for digital copies to roll onto the Unlimited offering instead of buying future issues digitally? How will this affect the market overall?

  • Jer

    I agree – and now that I’ve looked at what Comixology is doing I think they do too. Because this isn’t really a Marvel unlimited service or a “Netflix for comics” – this seems to me more like an Amazon Prime model. They have the first handful of issues or trade collection volumes out on the service for a lot of the books they have there and hoping that people will be interested enough to buy the next volumes once they’ve finished with the issues that the “unlimited” service has to offer.

    If that’s what they’re doing – and right now it looks like it is – it’s something that could work. The problem with it is that I strongly suspect that “volume 1” of any series is the most frequently purchased volume and so the balancing act between what Comixology might be paying to the publisher to offer it vs. how much the publisher might make just keeping it for sale digitally will be tough to figure out. Also it won’t quite be what subscribers really want and that could be an issue long term – the Marvel Unlimited model has set expectations pretty high even though I doubt any other publisher is in the right place to actually do what Marvel’s doing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.