Amazon’s digital comic platform Comixology reportedly lays off employees

A comic read via Comixology, on an iPad. (Thomas Wilde Photo).

Amazon has laid off employees at its Comixology service, according to reports from former workers.

News spread via social media Wednesday that much of the Comixology team had been let go, with some of the former employees alleging that the department had been reduced by as much as 75%.

Amazon began an 18,000-person layoff on Wednesday. Comixology is part of the Worldwide Amazon Stores business, which has been hit with the majority of the eliminations so far.

When asked for comment, an Amazon representative pointed to a Jan. 4 memo from Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.

Amazon has been shutting down several services and products over the past year as it looks to trim expenses amid the broader tech downturn, including: primary care service Amazon Care; a video calling-device for kids called Amazon Glow, the Treasure Truck deals program, and charity program AmazonSmile.

Comixology is a cloud-based digital distribution platform for electronic copies of comic books. It was originally founded in 2007 and was acquired by Amazon in 2014.

Comixology offers digital copies of both American comics and manga, which are made available to readers via cloud servers on browsers and mobile apps.

By the time Amazon purchased it, Comixology was already far and away the leading distributor of digital comics, with frequent flash sales and freebies that made it an attractive option for readers on a budget.

Further, many of Comixology’s competitors, such as Marvel’s digital library Unlimited, are subscription services and/or limited to a single company’s comics. As far as a single digital storefront for most if not all of the comics on American store shelves, Comixology was just about the only game in town.

Post-acquisition, Comixology continued to operate as it had before, through both Amazon and its own website. It launched its own subscription service, Comixology Unlimited, in 2016, which offered a selection of multiple publishers’ comics to read. In 2018, Comixology began offering original creator-owned titles on the service via its Comixology Originals imprint.

In 2021, Amazon announced that it planned to close Comixology.com in favor of fully integrating the site into its Kindle department, but put off the change due to “community feedback.”

When that integration did show up in February 2022, the results were immediately controversial. The move to Kindle was reported as markedly harming the overall Comixology experience, with users reporting a loss of image quality, the unexpected disappearance of books from libraries, no more offering copies of digital comics without DRM, and the inability to buy comics directly through the app. Six months later, many of the same problems persisted.

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