Digital comics

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

ComiXology is a leading digital distributor of Amazon-owned comics, graphic novels, and manga. JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images

  • ComiXology is a cloud-based digital comics distributor featuring over 75,000 comics from major publishers like DC, Marvel, Image, BOOM, IDW, and more.

  • ComiXology offers a two-tier subscription model, including a free option and an unlimited tier costing US$5.99 per month after a 60-day trial.

  • You can read comics through ComiXology on multiple devices, including iOS and Android apps, Amazon Kindle, and desktop web browsers.

  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference Library for more stories.

Since its inception in 2007, ComiXology has become a leader in the distribution of digital comics, graphic novels and manga.

The platform’s library offers tens of thousands of comics, including hundreds of free comics, from over 75 publishers such as Lion Forge, Dark Horse, Oni Press, Dynamite, Valiant, independent creators and cartoonists.

Many digital books are available 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 proprietary Guided View platform technology, giving readers a more immersive experience by allowing them to read panel-to-panel instead of page-to-page.

Here’s everything you need to know about ComiXology.

How ComiXology works

You may log in to the Platform using your Amazon account or, if you had an account before ComiXology was purchased by Amazon, your designated ComiXology account. Joining ComiXology is free – although 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 at no cost or for the low price of $0.99, the rest of its catalog is chargeable. Typically, they’re the same price as it costs to buy the book in print at a comic book store.

You can purchase individual issues or bundled books at discounted prices, in addition to purchasing entire collections. ComiXology also gives you the option of subscribing to your favorite series so you never miss the latest issue.

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

The wishlist feature and gift options allow you and those who purchase your comics to keep track of what you want. You can also use the service’s Current and Unread lists to keep track of what you’ve started reading or the Recommended list to start something new.

And once you’re ready to buy, just add the title to your cart before using the purchase feature to checkout. After payment, you will be able to read purchased comics instantly.

What is ComiXology Unlimited

After being acquired by Amazon in 2014, the platform introduced an unlimited subscription for US$5.99 per month. Once on the subscription level, members have access to a selection of over 20,000 comic book titles from various publishers. These can all be read without having to purchase the books.

Digital Comics Subscription includes ComiXology Originals, platform-exclusive independent original comics. Unlike the digital distributor’s other deals, which roll out weekly or monthly, these all drop at once, giving you immediate access to every issue. Additionally, those with an Amazon Prime account have access to free ComiXology Originals as a Prime membership benefit.

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An unlimited subscription gives you the ability to “borrow” 50 comics at a time. Ron Lyons/Business Insider

Although this is a paid tier, you don’t get access to the entire ComiXology library for free. And once you cancel, you will lose access to the free content you had. It is currently only available in the United States, although there are plans to make the service available in other countries.

To help offset this, ComiXology Unlimited is offering a 10-15% discount on all comics that aren’t included in the tier’s free titles.

How to Read Comics on ComiXology

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

The platform allows readers to browse an issue page by page or in double-page mode. Settings like Fit 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 on-screen navigation arrows or press the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate your issue panel by panel, giving you a more dynamic, almost cinematic viewing experience.

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

And if you prefer to take your reading out of browser or out of app, you can head over to ComiXology.com and download your comics to your computer in DRM-free CBZ and PDF formats. This way you can read them in digital comics apps like Perfect Viewer.

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 on any device, including your web browser, Kindle app, or ComiXology Android or iOS mobile app.

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

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

The applications diverge, however, in one key area, namely the buying process. Android users can purchase books within the app, but iOS users will be redirected to purchase their comics through their phone’s mobile browser.