Is All Of ComiXology Being Laid Off? There’s Conflicting Information

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We previously reported mass layoffs at Amazon and ComiXology, but it may be worse than we first thought. Here are more experiences from ComiXology employees today.


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Previously it had been suggested to Bleeding Cool in an earlier report that ComiXology had fired half their staff. But that may have been an underestimation as other former employees of the digital comic book distributor and publisher owned by Amazon shared their tales of being laid off.

ComiXology logo

ComiXology Technical Account Manager Mike Isenberg (as of yesterday) posted to Facebook as well as screen capping to Twitter and Instagram, something more. He writes;

“It feels utterly psychotic, but when I logged into Slack this morning to the realization that all of Comixology was being laid off, my first thoughts were, “oh no, we have late deliveries for next week; who will ingest those” and “customers will freak TF out if nobody runs IAP exports for Marvel iOS and Android apps.” Like, significantly before it occurred to me to wonder “how will I live without health insurance,” and “can I afford my mortgage?”

“Amazon talks a lot about “Customer Obsession” being their top “Leadership Principle,” but they just let go of a huge number of people who live and breathe that shit. My immediate concerns were for my publishers and our readers; before considering my own situation and talking to my coworkers, I wasn’t the only one to have this weirdly twisted reaction.

“The best part of working at CMX has always been my coworkers; being surrounded by smart, passionate, and creative people who truly care about comics has been an utter privilege for the last decade.

“It turns out that I’m one of the lucky handful left to fill out a skeleton crew, keeping the lights on for a little while longer, but it cannot be understated just what has been lost today. And even I’ve got a ticking clock on my employment. Those of us remaining will do the best we can, but I would not be surprised if digital comics on Kindle reverts back to being sort of a disaster, as it was before the Amazon acquired CMX however many years ago. A lot of folks assumed CMX had been dissolved when the legacy app went away last year, but we’ve been here all along, doing our damnedest to improve the experience for customers, publishers, and creators. I don’t know what that experience will look like in the near future, but it’s going to be missing most of the people who knew anything about comics and actually gave a damn, so if you aren’t optimistic, I don’t blame you. I’m not either.”

Eric Alexander Arroyo tweeted his own story as a digital editor at ComiXology. “I lost my job today, and so did a lot of amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to call friends and colleagues. I can’t focus too much on the projects that will never see fruition because I learned and grew so much from working with these folks. This is an ill-timed one of these tweet threads cuz I don’t really know what’s next for me. I’ll probably be okay. Stand up for others. Stand up for yourself. We’ll only get through this life through solidarity. (My DMs are open if you’re aware of any cool digital and print production opportunities in publishing, comics, or otherwise).”

ComiXology co-founder John D. Roberts replied, “I’m so sorry, Eric. Seeing all these tweets has been both heartbreaking and reminding me just how much I loved working with you all at comiXology. Let me know if you need anything” to Eric’s response “Thanks John It was a blast while it lasted, and we got away with it for a while!”

Joe Sagastume, former social and pitch reviewer at ComiXology, posted, “I’ve never been shy about my experiences at comiXology, and I know that at times I was a bit too candid, but the reason I didn’t leave before I did was the people. I think back on some of the toughest days that I had there, and the first thought that comes to mind are the people who supported me. The friends who hugged me when I broke down at the office. The people who would tell me time and time again that all they wanted was for me to succeed. The folks who were always happy to teach me something new on the slight chance that it might lead to bigger things. That’s why today’s news breaks my heart. Because all the people who made comiXology deserved better.”

Paloma Hernando also tweeted as a ComiXology digital editor, who may still be at the company; she doesn’t yet know. She writes, “Hey. Most folks on here know me as a literary agent, but I also had a day job I was very happy at. I was a DE at ComiXology, and today, while I’m on personal leave to deal with family matters in Argentina, I was notified that me, and the whole company, are being laid off. I kept under wraps partly cause I liked keeping sections of my life separate from each other, and honestly, I didn’t have any fanaticism for how cmx did business and everything up to outright disgust with the choices our parent company made. I didn’t want to endorse them. However, I did care a lot abt my work, which was doing guided view, a tool that materially made comics more accessible. More than the work, I loved my coworkers. They are all my friends, and many times it felt like we were a seafaring crew getting tossed through corporate storms.

“If you’ve never been able to end a one-on-one with your manager gushing about yaoi and comparing untamed fanfics, trust me, you haven’t lived. And what makes me angriest right now is that my coworkers were really, really good at their jobs. Most of them were there for more than eight years; not a week went by without me asking these folks for help, and they’d constantly inspire me to work harder. And many of them felt the same skepticism towards our corp! But it was because we knew it was worth it to make things better for readers.

“Idk, I’m not planning this thread, and I don’t know if I can vocalize every way I feel about this, but for now, I guess this is half of a PSA and half an indignant shout into the world. I’m angry for how little consideration was given to my comrades who deserve so much. It could be I work there for a few months more, it could be I leave tomorrow; I genuinely have no idea as we’ve all gotten conflicting info, and most things are going to be sorted through and discussed in the coming days. But man. This sucks. (also, money-wise and job-wise, I’ll be okay, when I know the whole scope, I’ll go new day job hunting in earnest, cause man, I don’t want to go back to not having health insurance lol).”

We have had no official word from anyone at ComiXology but have been informed by other sources to expect the layoffs to happen in three stages, with some let go today, more in June and then more in October. Anyone who can share their own experiences or can give more information about these or related events, feel free to reach out to [email protected] in strict confidence.

Posted in: Comics, Comixology | Tagged: amazon, comixology

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