What is ComiXology? Everything you need to know about Amazon’s digital comics platform

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ComiXology is a leading digital comics, graphic novels, and manga distributor owned by Amazon. JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images
  • ComiXology is a cloud-based digital comic distributor featuring more than 75,000 comics from major publishers like DC, Marvel, Image, BOOM, IDW, and more.
  • ComiXology has a two-tier subscription model, including a free option and an Unlimited level costing $US5.99 a month following a 60-day trial.
  • You can read comics through ComiXology on multiple devices, including the iOS and Android apps, Amazon Kindle, and desktop web browsers.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Since debuting in 2007, ComiXology has become a leader in distributing digital comics, graphic novels, and manga.

The platform’s library features tens of thousands of comics, including hundreds of free comics, from more than 75 publishers like Lion Forge, Dark Horse, Oni Press, Dynamite, Valiant, indie creators, and cartoonists.

Many digital books are available on the same day as their print issues. And you can use the search function to find specific titles or artists or ComiXology’s menus to browse new additions by creator, genre, publisher, rating, story arc, and more.

In addition to its extensive library, ComiXology uses the platform exclusive Guided View technology, offering readers a more immersive experience by allowing them to read panel-to-panel instead of page-to-page.

Here’s everything else you need to know about ComiXology.

How ComiXology works

You can log in to the platform using your Amazon account or if you had an account before ComiXology was bought by Amazon, your designated ComiXology account. Signing up for ComiXology is free — though the majority of the library is not — and you can currently only sign up through an established or newly created Amazon account.

While the digital comics distributor offers several titles without cost or for the low price of $US0.99, the rest of its catalogue must be paid for. Typically, they are the same price as it costs to purchase the book in print from a comics store.

You can buy individual issues or bundle books at discount prices, in addition to purchasing entire collections. ComiXology also gives you the option to subscribe to your favourite series, so you never miss the latest issue.

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You can register for a free ComiXology account or use your established Amazon account. Ron Lyons/Business Insider

The wishlist feature and gifting options make it easier for you and those who buy your comics to keep track of what you want. You can also use the service’s In Progress and Unread lists to track what you’ve started reading or the Recommended list to start something new.

And once you’re ready to buy, you simply add the title to your shopping cart before using the purchase feature to check out. Following checkout, you’ll be able to read the purchased comics instantly.

What is ComiXology Unlimited

After being acquired by Amazon in 2014, the platform introduced an Unlimited subscription for $US5.99 a month. Once on the subscription tier, members have access to a selection of more than 20,000 comics titles from various publishers. These can all be read without having to purchase the books.

The digital comics subscription includes ComiXology Originals, independently owned original comic books exclusive to the platform. Unlike the digital distributor’s other offerings, which roll out weekly or monthly, these drop all at once, giving you immediate access to every issue. Plus, those with an Amazon Prime account get access to free ComiXology originals as a Prime membership perk.

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An Unlimited membership gives you the ability to ‘Borrow’ 50 comics at a time. Ron Lyons/Business Insider

Despite being a paid tier, you don’t have free access to the entire ComiXology library. And once you cancel, you’ll lose access to the free content you did have. It’s also currently only available in the United States, though there are plans to make the service available in other countries.

To help offset that, ComiXology Unlimited offers a 10 to 15 per cent discount on any comics that aren’t included as part of the tier’s free titles.

How to read comics on ComiXology

Once you’ve made a selection and decided on what you’re going to read, the interface is quite simple. The digital reader makes your comics full screen while you navigate through pages using your computer’s arrow keys or fingers if on a mobile device. ComiXology also includes many advanced features that improve the digital reading experience.

The platform lets readers move through an issue page by page or in a double-page view. Settings like Fit to Width and Zoom help you control visibility and readability. Meanwhile, the platform’s exclusive “Guided View” makes reading comics interactive. Instead of flipping through pages, use the screen’s navigation arrows or tap your keyboard’s left and right arrow keys to slide through your issue panel-by-panel, giving you a more dynamic, almost cinematic, viewing experience.

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There are numerous tools to make your reading experience enjoyable. Ron Lyons/Business Insider

And if you’d rather take your reading off-browser or off-app, you can go to ComiXology.com and download your comics to your computer in the DRM-free CBZ and PDF formats. This way, you can read them in digital comic book apps like Perfect Viewer.

The ComiXology Android and iOS apps

One of the best aspects of ComiXology is its cross-platform integration. Because purchases are tied to your account, you can access your books across devices, including your web browser, the Kindle app, or the ComiXology Android or iOS mobile app.

Much of what is available through the desktop browser is available on the Android and iOS apps, including the platform’s exclusive Guided View feature, which makes reading comics on a smaller screen easier on the eyes.

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The app optimises pages to read better on smaller screens. Ron Lyons/Business Insider

The apps do diverge in one key area, though, and that’s the purchase process. Android users can purchase books within the app, but iOS users will be redirected to buy their comics through their phone’s mobile browser.

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