Great article by Gerry Conway on Amazon’s removal of in-app purchase from ComiXology and the likely ramifications. I’d like to push back on two points, though:
So why did Comixology do this? Why did they take a successful platform with a proven track record for introducing new casual readers to comics, and turn it upside down?
The answer, of course, is simple. Comixology didn’t do it, because Comixology as a company no longer exists. It’s a software product and a website; it isn’t an independent entity anymore.
Sure, this was Amazon’s cheap, self-serving move to capture more profit for themselves even if it makes the product worse. But that’s what Amazon does. Amazon has never shown any respect for product quality or user experience, and they sure as hell don’t care if a change that benefits them also negatively affects small publishers.
The blame for this lies solely with ComiXology for selling to Amazon. Nobody familiar with Amazon’s treatment of authors and publishers would responsibly hand them complete control of a major distribution system if they cared about the ramifications to the publishers and independent authors.
Either ComiXology was so naive and negligent that they didn’t think Amazon would do what it always does, or they cared more about the money than the future of their industry (and their customers) and simply sold out.
Amazon did this. It did it for one reason, and one reason only: to advance their proprietary hardware platform, the Kindle, at the expense of Apple’s platform, the iPad and iPhone.
That’s not it. Amazon’s motivation is to lock up and control as much distribution as possible. The Kindle devices and platform are simply a means to that end. That’s why the hardware is sold with razor-thin (or no) profits: their sole purpose is to get you buying content from Amazon.
Removing the in-app purchase is simply Amazon taking that 30% for themselves. (It’s not like there’s any chance it’s going to the publishers.)