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ComiXology: David Steinberger was digital comics platform's champion against Amazon demands "from day one"

The co-founder of the company stood up for comic culture in a corporate structure that didn't understand, say insiders

CMX Steinberger

When David Steinberger left ComiXology in early 2022, the company wasn’t just losing its sole remaining founder after more than a decade — it was also saying goodbye to the one figure who had successfully been pushing back against requests and demands from parent company Amazon since the latter purchased ComiXology back in 2014, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Multiple sources (including former ComiXology employees) spoke to Popverse under the condition of anonymity for our extensive look at the past and current state of the digital platform as it faces its uncertain future, and a consistent picture emerged from various accounts: that Steinberger had been a champion not only for ComiXology as a standalone entity inside the larger Amazon apparatus since the company was bought by Amazon, but also a champion for comic book culture as a whole — something that was apparently much needed inside Amazon.

Popverse heard that Amazon was making demands of ComiXology “from day one” that Steinberger would push back on, with the founder being a rare voice of reason in a corporate structure that didn’t seem to understand or seek to understand the core audience that ComiXology was serving. A suggestion was made that, as unsuccessful as February 2022 integration between Kindle and ComiXology had been, such things would have happened sooner — and more often - without Steinberger’s influence at the company. It’s worth noting that, according to more than one source, the Kindle integration happened at a point where Steinberger’s involvement with ComiXology on a day-to-day level was already lesser than usual, just months ahead of his departure to elsewhere inside Amazon’s corporate structure.

In the year since Steinberger’s departure from ComiXology — initially, he moved elsewhere inside Amazon, tweeting in March 2022, “I’ve been asked if I’d like to lead a new Amazon-wide initiative that is too good an opportunity to not take,” before exiting the company entirely three months later — the company has said goodbye to not one but two separate heads of its ComiXology Originals program, as well as a round of layoffs that impacted more than three quarters of the company and let to the closure of the Marvel Comics app.

Steinberger, meanwhile, has gone on to pastures new — namely, co-founding DSTLRY, a new comic book publisher that contains a digital component entirely separate from ComiXology’s marketplace. A sign of things to come from one who might know a thing or two that the rest of us don’t…? Time will tell.

Popverse members can read our new ComiXology reporting right here.

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About the Author
Graeme McMillan avatar

Graeme McMillan

Staff Writer

Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.

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