|Thu Dec 19 2013 23:19:26|
Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat
By: Ina Steiner
eBay created a new category on its marketplace for "digital comics," signaling a return to digital content, which it banned in 2008. However, eBay sellers should not get their hopes up of being approved to list digital content. Despite the new category, sellers are not allowed to sell digital comic books on the site.
eBay entered into a deal with comiXology to create the new category. And, as EcommerceBytes explains in Friday's Newsflash newsletter, you can't actually buy digital comics on eBay - you are taken to a third-party marketplace to make your purchase.
Here's how it works: if you drill down into the comics category on eBay (Collectibles & Arts - Comics), you'll see "Digital Comics" at the bottom of the genre list. Clicking that will take you to eBay.com/bit/comics. When you find something you like and click on it, eBay will redirect you to the comiXology website where you will have to create a comiXology account in order to make the purchase. (Digital titles do not show up in eBay search results at this time, by the way.)
When eBay banned digital content from its site in 2008 - a devastating move for many sellers, it explained: "Most items that require digital delivery, once created, can be very easily replicated. This ease of replication creates the opportunity for sellers to list thousands of the same item in an attempt to manipulate the Feedback system." Note that sellers can list digital content on eBay in the Classified Ad format (raise your hand if you knew - or remembered - that eBay had a classifieds format).
What a huge error this has turned out to be given the market for digital content today (it's hard to imagine eBay giving up this market because it couldn't identify sellers manipulating the feedback system).
eBay now says it's working toward offering digital comics on eBay. And if it's working on offering digital comics, could ebooks be far behind?
There are two major issues that are of concern to eBay sellers:
- Will sending shoppers away from the eBay comics category hurt sales of real-life comic books on the eBay marketplace?
- Will eBay shut out "regular" sellers from listing digital content as it expands this area?
Also of curiosity is eBay's revenue model for the new category - see Brigid Alverson's take on GoodeReader.com.