Ramblings of General Geekery

DRM-free backup on Comixology

Me, a few months ago after the “scandal” of Comixology removing the ability
to buy comics directly from inside their iOS app:

I would hope ComiXology manages to revert the change, but frankly I’d rather
put my hopes in more DRM-free comics available directly from the creators and
publishers instead.

Well my hopes have been answered in a way: Comixology announced last week
that you would be able to download DRM-free versions of your Comixology books
for publishers who are OK with that:

The first wave of participating publishers making their books available as
DRM-free backups include Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Zenescope
Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent, and Top Shelf Productions. In
addition, creators and publishers that are self-publishing through comiXology
Submit are now able to choose to make their books available with a DRM-free
backup.

No surprises here about the publishers who are indeed “OK with that”, since
they’re the ones who were already offering DRM-free comics on their own
website… but those are excellent news. I can’t stress enough how huge
this is.

I’m not sure whose idea it was – whether publishers like Image pressured
Comixology to do this, or whether Comixology came to this logical conclusion on
their own – but I’m very happy either way. As I said before, I had completely
stopped buying Image comics from Comixology, preferring instead their own
DRM-free website… but that website was slow as hell and barely usable.
Ideally I’d rather give 100% of my money to Image, instead of – probably – 70%
through Comixology, but the usability is night and day between the two, and
uploading independently acquired files to an iPad is still a huge pain in the
ass1.

“For those out there who have not joined the comic reading community because
of DRM – you have no excuse now,” said co-founder and Director of ComiXology
Submit John D. Roberts

Indeed.

The only problem I’ve found so far is that those backups are extremely bare:
just a ZIP file with the pages as JPEG images. They’re the “retina” hi-res
versions, so that’s good, but the archive is missing any kind of metadata. The
only way to know what it is, short of having a human open it and read the cover,
is to parse the file name.


  1. Something I’m hopping will be greatly improved in iOS8. ↩︎