Diamond Comics sent out an email this week to the retailers in their distribution network, advising them that Diamond would shortly be stopping their digital comics distribution.
Diamond Digital, which was launched in partnership with iVerse Media just under 2 years ago, will cease operation next week. Customers’ previously purchased comics will reportedly still be available via the iVerse app, and comics retailers will be paid for any sales generated up to 28 February.
I doubt this move surprised anyone. Diamond Digital launched in July 2012, more than a year after its announcement and nearly a year after comiXology launched its platform. Diamond offered titles from a number of publishers, including IDW, Image Comics and Boom! Studios, but they were never able to sign the 2 major comics publishers, Marvel and DC.
The comics sold by Diamond Digital also weren’t compatible with comiXology’s platform, and the mutually incompatible DRM discouraged what few customers were attracted by the limited selection.
According to the email sent out by Diamond, they’re getting out of digital comics because “18 months after its launch, results indicate that Diamond Digital has not gained enough traction in the marketplace to continue.”
This is going to leave the market to comiXology, a handful of indies, and of course the major ebook platforms: iBooks, Kindle, Google, and Kobo. There’s no firm data on the size of the digital comics market or on market share, but according to IC2 that market grew 25% in 2013. It’s widely believed that comiXology dominates the digital comics market.