This morning Amazon announced its worldwide layoffs and it appears that the remnants of Comixology – the leading digital comics service controversially-absorbed into Amazon Kindle in February 2022 – took a significant hit. According to one former employee let go today between 50 and 75% of its staff may have been jettisoned.
Scott (@CocktailsAndInk), a 10+ year Comixology veteran let go by Amazon this morning, took to Twitter to give us an idea of the situation and also how dispiriting it is for former employees, customers, and the realm of digital comics.
The fate of individual employees and programs including the Comixology Originals program, remains unknown at press time.
There have been numerous cuts at @comixology this morning.
Myself included. https://t.co/Hzgo9WW5qK
— Scott (@CocktailsAndInk) January 18, 2023
My name is Scott and I spent my ~10 years at Comixology working on the pages and lists customers clicked on, the pulllist (way back when)…. and the discount sales that everybody likes.
It’d the best job I ever had, and the best people I ever worked with. 1/
— Scott (@CocktailsAndInk) January 18, 2023
The 11-part thread in full:
“My name is Scott and I spent my ~10 years at Comixology working on the pages and lists customers clicked on, the pulllist (way back when)…. and the discount sales that everybody likes.
“It’d the best job I ever had, and the best people I ever worked with.
“This morning, there were significant cuts to the Comixology staff. I have no numbers to share, but it looks like, from the outside, that at least 50% of the staff have been let go.
“One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that CMX employees rarely mention much about their jobs on social. Obviously, there’s clauses in contracts about all this, but we generally kept our mouths shut, even on the worst days.
“But there’s another reason.
“We loved our jobs.
“We loved comics.
“We loved manga, we loved super-heroes, we loved young adult & middle grade, we loved graphic novels, single issues, all of it.
“All of it.
“And we loved working with each other.
“We really did – that’s not horseshit.
“See, a lot of people at tech companies move around every 2-3 years. They go someplace new, learn something new, take on new duties, get promoted, and then move on to their next adventure.
“Not us. Many of us stayed.
“Because our passion for comics and respect for each other was off-the-charts.
“How often in life do you get work with people like this? How often do you get paid a salary and healthcare and benefits that allow you to go on vacation and take sick time, and all that in comics?
“It’s very rare.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunities I was given.
“And always, always, always grateful for the people I worked with.
“You really don’t know, because we never talked about it.
“But we worked our asses off because of our love of the medium – and each other.
“As for what happens next, I don’t know. You’ll have to ask @comixology or @amazon .
“I suppose a statement will be coming forward at some point.
“I don’t know what the future of digital comics (@comixology) is at Amazon. Sadly, I’m not optimistic.
“But I know that for ten years, 100’s of people busted their ass in every way possible to make Comixology happen.
“And even knowing how it ended, I’d do it all over again.
“To my co-workers, whom will always have my eternal respect: It’s time to tell your stories. Tell the good parts. Let people know how much we loved comics.
“And still do.
“Don’t lose faith or hope, my friends.
“Tom & Jeff – if you see this: It’s not your fault.
“We all did the best we could.
“As for me, I’m, uh, gonna be looking for new work. Don’t know if I’ll stay in comics – although 15+ years in thee industry does add up.
“I think though, this week, I’ll have a bourbon, maybe two.
“And think about the great work we did together, and all the good times (and a couple of the bad).
“To you, my friends, and now-former co-workers. We didn’t deserve this ending, but what an adventure.
“Thank you for everything.”
According to Bloomberg, some 18,000 Amazon employees were let go today across all levels of the enormous international corporate entity; the largest job cuts in Amazon’s history. This move was signposted back in November but the hit was only confirmed today.
Similar job losses are being announced across the tech sector – including at Microsoft. Comixology was bought by Amazon in 2014 and allowed to run as a solid go-to, industry-leading digital comics service independent of Kindle until February 2022. In late 2021 the service informed customers and publishers changes were coming and the service was being integrated fully into the Kindle code architecture. The move was criticized as being rushed and full of bugs, and only recently has the platform become more stable and usable, although users say it lacks many of the features that made Comixology a market leader.
With the service subsumed into Amazon and the workforce reported downsized to half or a quarter of its previous size, one wonders if Comixology really exists anymore – and if Comixology is gone, where do digital comics go from here? Currently no service provided as comprehensive access to a wide variety of publishers (though Global Comix is catching up).