Introducing eBay Digital Comics! Wait... no...
So if you're a regular listener to the Fanboy Planet Podcast, you know I'm both a fan and skeptic when it comes to digital comics. Sure, as technology improves we get closer and closer to a good reading experience, especially on newer, larger, lighter tablets. However, we're not really anywhere near there yet when it comes to the free market for comics. You "buy" a digital comic and you have two options: keep them on your device, or keep them off in the distributor's cloud storage. You can't transfer them to another person's equipment, you certainly can't resell them in any way.
That's the way it is now, and there's no hint of change.
Or at least there wasn't.
Last night in my inbox I got a mail from eBay. Nothing special, I get several eBay notifications each day as I have used the service since it's start in 1995. Usually it's a matter of a quick read, and then a deletion. But this was different.
This spotlighted digital comics.
Huge text: Introducing eBay Digital Comics! Tiny text: In a partnership with comiXology. Still, my mind raced.
Could this be the first intimation of a marketplace for "used" digital comics? Had eBay cracked that nut somehow? They are the world's leading marketplace for clearing out space in your closets and garages. Sure, it's possible, even likely, that they would be the ones to lead the way in selling off digital comics you don't want any more.
But, of course, no.
Further reading exposed that this was just a partnership with comiXology. A subset of the latest comics would be shown on eBay's site. If you're interested, and you click on one, you're taken to the comiXology site where you can see everything they sell (which is a lot because they are the service provider for Marvel, DC and others).
And of course, the comiXology web site, has previews and catalog is larger and displayed better, generally a richer experience.
But eBay is probably taking a sizable slice of the sale (they certainly fashion a huge URL full of eBay referring junk). comiXology is still doing all the heavy lifting. Half the eBay FAQ on their new venture refers you to comiXology for support, reading help, just about anything. In the end, there's nothing really interesting going on at the eBay site. In fact if you're using eBay to buy your digital comics, you're missing out on the better experience by just going to comiXology.
Aside from both of them having odd capitalization in their company names (can that really be the basis of a relationship?) there's nothing really tying comiXology to eBay. It's just an opportunity to get eyes from one site to the other, and a payback for the direction. And undoubtedly eBay will miss informing you about interesting promotions on comiXology, like their current 12 Days of Free Comics. Unfortunately today is the last day. Sorry, but if you listened to the Podcast, you would have heard about it last week!
So, if you're curious, http://www.ebay.com/bit is where they are touting this. But you really just want to go to http://www.comiXology.com/ and sign up directly.
OK. Lame. Ignore.