iVerse Media Gives ComiXology Some Competition

For the longest time, the digital comic distribution arena has been monopolized by ComiXology. The distributor has apps for browsers, Android, and Apple’s iOS. Even the first party apps for major comic publishers like DC Comics have technology that is “powered by ComiXology”.

Now, iVerse Media is tossing its virtual hat into the digital comic realm. The company announced today that they will be releasing the “Comics+” app for iOS courtesy of a $4-million private investment from PS&J Groups. In addition to the primary Comics+ app, which features video (a first for digital comic readers), iVerse is also releasing Comics+Kids that specializes in family friendly comics. iVerse has already lined up many comics for their apps initial launch. Of note though, is that DC Comics which has had phenomenal sales in the wake of the companywide New 52 relaunch, is solely on the ComiXology app.

However, The biggest hurdle in iVerse’s entry is going to be getting noticed. ComiXology has the highest rank on Apple and Android for anyone searching for the term “comics”. In addition, most big publishers including the aforementioned DC, Marvel Comics, Archie Comics, and Dynamite Entertainment have their own stand-alone digital comic apps. However, iVerse already powers some of these other apps, including Archie Comics and Star Trek so it’ll be interesting to see if they can make a bigger splash in the digital comic reader world.

Marvel Signs An Exclusive Deal To Offer Graphic Novels On The Nook

A few months ago, DC Comics announced a deal with Amazon to host 100 of their best-selling graphic novels exclusively on Amazon’s new Kindle Fire e-reader. In retaliation, the national book chain Barnes and Noble felt that the move was bad business and decided to pull all copies of those 100 DC graphic novels from their store shelves. Barnes and Noble’s reasoning was that the material should be available cross-platform and not exclusive to one device.

However, today Barnes and Noble, in a move that is either good business or merely more bad-blooded retaliation, signed an exclusive deal with DC’s competitor Marvel Comics to host the companies backlog of graphic novels exclusively on Barnes and Noble’s Nook Color device. Marvel’s comics include fan favorites stories like ‘Civil War’, ‘Marvels’ and ‘New Avengers’.  Marvel Digital Group’s Senior Vice President Peter Philips had this to say of the deal:

“This is a huge opportunity for Marvel—and the entire comics medium—to reach a wider audience than ever before thanks to Barnes & Noble’s exciting new NOOK Tablet. Barnes & Noble is committed to offering customers a broad array of Marvel graphic novels, both digitally and through their massive in-store selection, which can only help bring fans into our exciting world of Super Heroes and unparalleled storytelling.”

Now I doubt that Amazon will pull Marvel’s titles from their online store, but it is rather annoying to watch this play out. The end result of this petty comic book battle is that readers, like myself, who might be interested in digital comics will be forced to choose either DC or Marvel over the other or get a second job to afford having both a Nook Color and a Kindle Fire. I agree with Barnes and Noble’s original assertion. These comics should be available across platforms. This split is going to hurt comics sales more than it’s going to help.