Retail giant Amazon has laid off a significant portion of its Comixology staff. This is part of a much larger wave of layoffs that will cut an estimated 18,000 roles from across the company. These firings are largely within the Amazon Stores division, which includes things like Comixology.
News of the layoffs hit social media via Comixology program manager Scott McGovern’s Twitter, where he confirmed “numerous” other staffers were affected. He estimates between 50 and 75% of the total staff were let go. Several other employees have also stepped forward to confirm many of the notices came through e-mail. Also some groups of employees were pulled into meetings depending on when there were to be terminated. They were either fired immediately, laid off in a few months, or cut further into the year. Basically they were grouping people together on how they would be fired!
Some of the employees were locked out of their work accounts before they had any idea what was going on. Others report that they could not access information about severance because the traffic to that part of the system was so high. Unfortunately, many of these workers must remain anonymous since they are not authorized to speak to the press.
Amazon purchase Comixology in 2014 and it has become a leader in digital comic books. Initially, the platform operated independently and on Amazon. But in 2022 it was merged into the Kindle infrastructure with a new app. The change was a disaster with many saying it became harder to read, shop, and publish on the app. Effectively alienating readers and content creators alike. Staff claims that while they care deeply about the quality of their work, their hands were tied in the decision about the migration.
Comixology boasts more than 230,000 comics, graphic novels, and manga from comic heavy-hitters like Marvel, DC Comics, Dark Horse, and Image. As well as providing a space for smaller independent publications, Comixology Originals, a line of platform-specific and digital-first comics. At this point the fate of the platform’s original content is unclear.
“To those impacted by these reductions, I want you to know how grateful I am for your contributions to Amazon, and the work you have done on behalf of customers,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy wrote in a blog post. “You have made a meaningful difference in a lot of customers’ lives. To those who will continue on the journey with us, I look forward to partnering with you to keep making life better and easier for customers every day and relentlessly inventing to do so.”
“We typically wait to communicate about these outcomes until we can speak with the people who are directly impacted,” he wrote about how quickly this all happened. “However, because one of our teammates leaked this information externally, we decided it was better to share this news earlier so you can hear the details directly from me. We intend on communicating with impacted employees (or where applicable in Europe, with employee representative bodies) starting on January 18.”