The Stochastic Game
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.