Amazon has announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire comiXology. 

"ComiXology’s mission is to spread the love of comics and graphic novels in all forms,” said comiXology co-founder and CEO David Steinberger said.  "There is no better home for comiXology than Amazon to see this vision through.  Working together, we look to accelerate a new age for comic books and graphic novels."

"Amazon and comiXology share a passion for reinventing reading in a digital world," said Amazon VP-Content Acquisition and Independent Publishing David Naggar.  "We’ve long admired the passion comiXology brings to changing the way we buy and read comics and graphic novels.  We look forward to investing in the business, growing the team, and together, bringing comics and graphic novels to even more readers."

The acquisition is expected to close in Q2 2014, subject to closing conditions.

Over the last few years, comiXology emerged as the undisputed leader in English language digital comic sales, as fellow start-ups like Panelfly, Graphicly, and iVerse either ceased operations or stopped selling most comic titles in the U.S.  With the acquisition by Amazon, comiXology has taken a side in the high-stakes battle between Amazon, Google, and Apple for dominance of digital content sales, and Amazon has leapfrogged its competitors by acquiring an ongoing comics business to supplement its digital comics sales for the Kindle platform.       

ComiXology began by offering tools for retailers, including its free Cover Gallery for retailer websites, in 2008, and launched its first digital comics app in 2009.  Comics by comiXology quickly became the #1 app in the books category (see "New iPhone Comics App #1 in Books").  Other digital comic apps also launched that year including Panelfly, iVerse, and Genus (see "Top 10 Comics Business Events of 2009").  And ICv2 President Milton Griepp joined the company’s board of directors that year. 

The iPad, a game-changer for digital comics, was launched the following year (see "Is iPad a Game-Changer?") and digital comics started to take off, growing from under $1 million in 2009 to $8 million in 2010, $25 million in 2011, and $70 million in 2012 (see "Digital Comics Nearly tripled in 2012").

ComiXology launched an expanded suite of services for retailers, including Online Pull List and Comic Shop Websites in 2010 (see "ComiXology Launches New Tool Suite").

In 2013, comiXology expanded to France (see "ComiXology Expands in France"), and launched its Submit portal for independent publishers (see "ComiXology Launches Indy Publishing Portal").

--Disclosure: ICv2 has a business relationship with comiXology as a representative for its Retailer Tools; ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp also serves on the board of comiXology.