It's about to get a bit more difficult to buy comic books from a mobile device. Comixology is replacing its iOS app today with a new version that removes the ability to purchase comics. The new app is solely a comic book reader, which means that you'll have to visit the company's website to purchase new comics. You can browse comics in the new app and download free comics directly, but paid comics can only be added to your wish list for later purchase online. As with the old app, previously purchased comics can be downloaded and synced directly from the app.
The change certainly isn't an improvement for iOS users, but it's clear why the change has been made: Apple's App Store policies demand that it receive a 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases and subscriptions. By forcing its users to make purchases on the Comixology website, the company doesn't have to give Apple a cut. Amazon — which just purchased Comixology earlier this month — has long played a similar game with its Kindle app for iOS, which is also missing a way to purchase new content.
The Android app has also been updated today, though the changes aren't quite as drastic. In-app purchases are now made through Comixology rather than Google Play, similarly allowing the company to avoid paying Google a cut of its sales. To make the transition to the updated apps a bit less painful for its current users, the company's giving out $5 gift cards when you update.
Update 4/27 3:50pm ET: Comixology VP of Communications Chip Mosher reached out to Engadget to issue the following statement regarding the removal of in-app purchases on iOS:
"As we move to complete the acquisition with Amazon, we are shifting to the web-based purchasing model they've successfully used with the Kindle, which we expect will allow us to strike the best balance between prices, selection and customer experience.
There are many advantages to shopping at comiXology.com. Because of the content restrictions our mobile partners have, shopping on the web provides even greater selection of comic books and graphic novels. iOS customers will now be able to save money with comiXology's exclusive web-only Bundles, take advantage of Subscription features and enjoy eGift Cards. We also made our website more tablet/mobile friendly on all devices to make the purchasing process that much easier. And in Safari on iOS, customers can easily save a shortcut to our webstore with the "Add to Home Screen" feature.
In the new Android 3.6 upgrade we have a new comiXology in-app purchase system and a great new shopping cart, one of our most requested features. In the new app, customers may be prompted to update your payment information to continue purchasing books. This is a one-time action after which you can purchase inside the app."