I’ve been meaning to get into comics sometime. As strange as it is, I’m a webcomic writer/artist, but I don’t really read that many published comics. Most of what I do read are other webcomics, and only a select few, basically because they’re accessible to me and have earned my attention.
Now, being a writer/artist, I understand real comic writer/artists need to get paid for their work. I totally respect that. I’d love to get paid for my comics, trust me! XD However, I still have trouble handing over money for comics… unless it’s something I really, really, really love. So far, I haven’t found anything that has taken me by storm. Cuz man, that’s an expensive hobby to keep up with!
Not to mention the space that print comics take up in storage. I just don’t have room for it, as much as I understand the joy and psychology of collecting issues. They’d likely get chewed on by the cat no matter what I did to protect them.
Digital comics? Yeah, that fits my space issues, and is something I’m used to being a long-time webcomic reader. But it goes back to my struggle to pony up that kind of money for something I’m stashing on my tablet to read once or (very rarely) twice. Again, I have to really love it to put money into it.
So, when I heard about ComiXology Unlimited yesterday, I jumped into the 30 day free trial. I mean, I will pay $6 a month to read an unlimited number of comics. They made it sound like Netflix for comics, which is something I can really get behind. I don’t mind subscribing to a service to read what I like and try out new series that I wouldn’t likely spend the money to do otherwise.
However, after I started the trial, I discovered there’s a catch. While Unlimited does give you unlimited access to a lot of comics, it limits you to the first handful of issues, or sometimes, just issue 1. I’m not talking about restricting what was published in the past 6 months, either. This includes older series that have been out for years, like The Walking Dead, where you can only access the first 2 graphic novels.
Now, I’m not dumb. I know exactly what this is meant to do. They can sugar coat it and try to say, “Oh, you have so much to read and try out.” But the truth is, they hook you with a few teaser issues and prompt you to buy the rest. Sure, they say they’ll rotate in new comics and stuff, but what does that really mean?
So. I like the fact that I can sample many comics with ComiXology Unlimited. I don’t like the fact that it’s being waved around like Netflix for comics, because it’s not. It’s as if you pay for a Netflix subscription, and they allow you to watch a couple episodes of a show, then expect you to buy the rest of the episodes. Nope.
If this is trying to get a new reader like me into comics, it’s not a good way to do it. Up my subscription price if you have to in order to give me access to more of each series, but don’t tease me with a carrot on a stick into your shopping cart. I see what you’re doing.
I’m undecided about whether I’ll sub after my first 30 days because of these limitations. I did want to spread the news about the service and let folks know what it really is — because you can’t see the restrictions until after you get into the trial. It may expand into something great one day, but right now, unlimited doesn’t really mean unlimited. And that’s a bummer.