The rumors flying around the Web most of last week are true. Amazon has reached an agreement to acquire Comixology, the dominant digital comics marketplace, and a platform that has been instrumental in driving the growth and popularity of digital comics. Financial terms were not disclosed and the deal should close sometime in the second quarter of 2014.
During a phone interview with Comixology CEO David Steinberger and Amazon v-p, content acquisition and independent Publishing David Naggar, Steinberger said he will continue as CEO of Comixology and the company’s headquarters will remain in New York City. The official release is here.
“We’re in a better place now to bring digital comics everywhere,” Steinberger said. “We’re all about diversity of content and diversity of audiences. Amazon is good at a lot of stuff we’re not good at and we can bring out skills to their comics.” Steinberger said the biggest advantage of joining Amazon was its track record of allowing the companies it acquires to maintain their autonomy. “We’re staying in New York City. They have an amazing track record with the companies they’ve acquired, from Audible to Zappos. Their CEOs stay on. We can keep our company culture. They get it. They love what we’re doing. They believe we’re special and we can continue to do that. This is going to be great.”
Naggar said it was too early to “preview” how the two retail platforms would work together. “We’ve got a history of buying companies we admire and Comixology has the kind of customer focus that we love. It just made sense. We do know that the company is staying in New York. After that we’ll have to see.” Naggar also said that Amazon had alerted two of Comixology’s biggest customers, the Big Two of the comics industry, DC Entertainment and Marvel, about the deal.
Asked about staffing and the possibility of layoffs, Steinberger said, “everybody gets to stay and move forward with us. We’re already adding a position and Amazon is just adding fuel.”
Last summer Amazon Publishing launched Jet City Comics, its own comics and graphic novel imprint and it is just started serializing a comics adaptation of Hugh Howey’s bestselling self-published sci-fi novel Wool. Naggar said “we’re big fans of the graphic novel market in general and we’ve built a platform for digital comics into the Kindle Fire and Jet City Comics will be a partner to Comixology.”
Naggar was also enthusiastic when asked about Comixology Submit, Comixology's digital comics self-publishing platform. He said, “Amazon doesn’t make a lot of plans before it makes an acquisition, so we’ll have to figure it all out over time. But Kindle Digital Publishing has been big for us and so we love Comixology Submit. Comixology has had a positive impact on physical and digital comics.”