Comixology, by far the best digital reading experience, has just taken an important step for digital comics. Inarguably, media consumption is rapidly moving away from "buy" to "subscribe" models. Netflix, Pandora, etc have become huge players, and rightfully so. I've long thought a subscription service for comics would be great. Currently, the only one I'm aware of is Marvel Unlimited. Briefly, Marvel Unlimited has a massive back log of books available to read, and up to 12 may be downloaded for offline reading at a time. Each Monday, it's updated with recent titles as well as older. It's important to note that by "recent" I mean "released about 6 months ago." I am a happy subscriber, and read a number of Marvel books there, that to me, are less imporant and not hurt by waiting. I read enough that way that I am coming out ahead in savings.
Comixology has finally followed their lead with Comixology Unlimited. The short version is that for $5.99 a month you have a huge selection of books available to read, either by streaming or by downloading. Incredibly, Comixology is allowing you to download up to 50 issues at one time for offline reading! That blows away Marvel's offering there.
So why am I not jumping for joy over this; A subscription service where I only have to read 2 to 3 books a month to come out ahead?
It sounds perfect.
Well, to address the elephant in the room, Marvel and DC are not participating yet. Hopefully they will in the future, or at least hopefully DC will. Marvel, you could argue, doesn't need it since they have their own service already. I would potentially double the amount of DC books I read though if this were available for them. The other problem, is that this new option is a little too similar to Netflix (as reported on by Comic Book Resources) and by that I mean content will cycle in and out, so what is there today may not be there tomorrow.
Another problem seems to be the amount of issues they have available. I looked up two popular series from Image Comics, The Walking Dead and Saga. Walking Dead has over 150 issues available for purchase, but only 12 available to read on Unlimited. Saga has 6 available out of the over 30 that are ready for purchase . Another popular series, from IDW, is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which, despite having over 50 issues in the main title and a number of mini-series, I could only find 2 issues on Unlimited.
But lets be fair. Marvel's plan is regarding their own content. Comixlogy is having to make content deals with other companies. I'm sure they would love to offer more, and I suspect over time that they will. And again, I can't state enough how big a deal I think downloading 50 issues at a time is.
Comixology has taken a small, but significant step today. If you're interested they are offering a 30-day free trial. No, I'm not signing up... yet. But I fully expect I will in the future as the service evolves and grows. I use Comixology every week, so I'll be checking in on this regularly.