No more DRM-free downloads as Amazon's ComiXology app set to disappear inside Kindle

Time to back up those PDFs you've been hoarding


Worrying changes are afoot for e-comics vendor ComiXology as Amazon finally gets round to asserting copy control – meaning no more downloads of unprotected comics, even if you've paid for them.

It looks as if Amazon subsidiary Iconology Inc – which trades as ComiXology – is finally being subsumed, eight years after Bezos' behemoth bought the business.

Back in 2014, The Reg expressed concern that ComiXology's own dedicated comic-reading app might be replaced with the Kindle app, and that seems to be finally happening, at some as-yet unspecified time soon. Comixology's latest blog post says that changes are coming in "early 2022."

We've confirmed that for now, it's still possible to download and install the ComiXology app and view comics through it.

Ominously, though, the login page urges customers to merge their accounts with their Amazon accounts, and the blog warns that the company's own app will be going away soon, linking to an FAQ page on how to access and read ComiXology purchases in the Kindle app.

One small reassurance is that the Kindle app has now gained ComiXology's panel-by-panel "Guided View."

The more significant change, though, is that the company used to offer direct comics downloads from their website – at least, as long as the publisher agreed. Many did, and customers could download their purchases from those companies in PDF or CBX format, without copy-protection or Digital Rights Management.

For now, you can still do this, and if you have a significant library, we suggest that you do so PDQ. Soon purchasing is going to move to your friendly neighbourhood Amazon site, or within Amazon's fondleslab apps, and for new purchases made there, ComiXology's own DRM-free downloads are going away.

But all may not be lost. It's already possible to display your ComiXology titles in your Kindle library, and you can download ebooks from Amazon's media and devices page onto your computer so that you can read them on a big screen or using a screen reader – which is a life-saver for those with low vision.

We've checked with a few freebie titles, and it worked fine. Titles without DRM could be read locally. Ones with the copy protection couldn't, but you can at least grab them to back them up.

Of course, this may change as Amazon, sarlacc-like, gradually digests ComiXology. The Reg will keep you posted. ®

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