When Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) acquired comiXology for an undisclosed sum, it raised questions about the future of comic book shops. Would the e-tailer, known for disrupting huge industries, use its new subsidiary to disrupt specialists?
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.
Tim says comic book shops have nothing to fear. According to data from The Comics Chronicles, unit sales of print comics improved 6.7% last year. Dollar volume also improved -- for the third consecutive year -- to 10.2%. The message? Digital is expanding the print market, and Amazon's influence won't change that.
Nathan agrees, noting that CEO Jeff Bezos is famously like Warren Buffett in his hands-off approach to managing acquired subsidiaries. ComiXology marketing chief Chip Mosher expects that we'll see more of the same here.
"Amazon has a long history with subsidiaries like Goodreads, Zappos, Audible, and IMDb, of helping them grow and, over time, learning from each other and improving together," he said in an interview.
Finally, Tim and Nathan say that, combined, Amazon and comiXology should allow comic book shops to cater to a more diverse set of readers through custom digital storefronts while optimizing print inventory.
At the corporate level, bringing comiXology's Guided View technology to Kindle should make the reading experience more satisfying. And of course, anything that leads to more high-margin sales is good for Amazon shareholders.
Now it's your turn to weigh in using the comments box below. How do you think this deal will impact comic book shops? Do you think about Bezos' hands-off approach will pay dividends here? 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!