Over the past few years, we've seen media increasingly converted to digital format. Music is almost exclusively owned and enjoyed digitally. Photos, video and books have all followed suit into this digital age. E-readers, such as the kindle and nook, came about simply because of the massive catalog of books available in digital format. There are still people who collect walls full of books or CDs, and even records, but there is no longer a need to fill your shelves to enjoy media. Now, people can store and enjoy their favorite media directly on their PC or mobile device.
Comic books followed in the footsteps of their hardcover cousins, and have also become available in digital format. David Steinberger, a first-time entrepreneur, took notice of the unique market of the comic book industry. Over time, he was able to develop the top-grossing Comixology application. In an interview with Venture Studio's Dave Lemer, Steinberger outlined how he carefully considered how to best cater to the digital comic book market. He credits the app's success to the care and time his team took in understanding the market, as opposed to simply shoving digital comic books in their faces.
The comic book industry is, in fact, a bit strange, in that it can be difficult to get ahold of the comics you want. The only place to buy physical comic books, are comic book stores. Big chain book stores usually have a comic book section, but they merely offer collections of comic books, called graphic novels. New inventory comes in to comic shops only once a week, on Wednesdays, which must be ordered months in advance. In order to stay up to date with a given comic story, fans would have to find a local comic book store, and ensure that the store orders the comics he or she wants to purchase. Steinberger's Comixology app takes away most of the barriers to keeping up with your favorite comic book stories.
The Comixology store is available to just about everyone, removing the first major barrier for comic fans: finding a local comic shop. The app can be accessed on any Android phone, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or browser with internet connection. Fans can purchase and read their comics on their computer or mobile device the same day the comics are released in print. The store has a selection of new releases, free comics and on-sale comics. Currently the new releases are available from $3 to $4. The site claims to have more than 175 titles on-sale for only 99 cents.
Comixology offers nearly all comics available at a brick and mortar shop. In addition to several smaller, independent publishers, Steinberger was able to strike a deal with comic giants, Marvel and DC Comics, making the digital store nearly irresistible to comic fans. DC Comics has a dedicated section of the app, called the DC Store for easier browsing. Comixology also holds deals with popular publishers like Archie Comics, Dark Horse Comics and MTV Comics.