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Will Apple, Inc. Make a Bigger Bet on Digital Comics?

Apple,'s iTunes Store for comics and graphic novels. Credit: Apple.

Now that (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) has put the brakes on in-app purchases of digital comics on iOS devices, will Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) make a bigger bet on the genre? Host Ellen Bowman puts these questions to analysts Nathan Alderman and Tim Beyers in this week's episode of 1-Up on Wall Street, The Motley Fool's web show in which we talk about the big-money names behind your favorite movies, toys, video games, comics, and more.

Nathan says that Amazon, which now owns genre e-tailer comiXology, made the move to keep Apple from getting its 30% cut on digital comics sales.

We don't know precisely how much revenue that amounts to, but it's likely significant. Most reports say that digital accounts for about 15% of comics sales -- or more than $75 million if you look at last year's data for North American sales of comics, trade paperbacks, and related magazines, according to data supplied by Diamond Comic Distributors and The Comics Chronicles.

Numerous have expressed understandable frustration over the change. The good news? Even if the iOS version of comIXology's app is no longer accepting in-app purchases, users can still buy directly from publishers. IDW, Marvel, and others maintain iOS apps that allow for direct purchase and download.

Tim says, over the long-term, neither Amazon nor comiXology should see much fallout. And yet it wouldn't be surprising to see Apple respond with a more organized offering for digital comics readers. Right now, the Mac maker has plenty of inventory but finding what you want isn't as easy as it is on comiXology. The reading experience is also geared more toward books than comics, which isn't surprising when you consider that iBooks is a general purpose app. Yet it needn't remain this way forever. The digital comics market is growing and Amazon's move could accelerate efforts to create comiXology alternatives -- from Apple or elsewhere.

Now it's your turn to weigh in using the comments box below. Do you expect Apple to do more to cater to digital comics readers? Would you want it to? Click the video to watch as Ellen puts Nathan and Tim on the spot, and then be sure to follow us on Twitter for more segments and regular geek news updates!

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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