It is exactly what the headline says. The entire comic book industry, as well as the mainstream media, were stunned with the announcement that Amazon.com, the internet retail giant, had announced its' purchase of ComiXology, the largest digital comic distributor in the world. As with most major corporate mergers, the exact terms are unknown but ComiXology is expected to officially become part of Amazon in "the second quarter of 2014" (or, the summer). This story was carried throughout the Internet, from Newsarama even to the New York Times. David Steinberger, co-founder and CEO of ComiXology, released his own statement which claimed that this purchase by Amazon will further his and the other founders' goals to expand the reach of comic books across the globe via digital devices and applications such as Amazon's Kindle.
This purchase of ComiXology by Amazon not only would bring ComiXology's wide library of digital comics for sale from 75 publishers under the Amazon umbrella, but would also bring with it ComiXology's "guided view" technology. The ComiXology app will remain independent, at least in terms of insignia. Newsarama issues statements from the representatives from several major publishers. Reps for Dynamite Comics, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics issued positive takes on the move, while Diamond Distribution (the middle man for physical comics being sold in "brick and mortar" comic shops) declined any comment. ComicsPRO, which is a non-profit trade organization which represents aforementioned "brick and mortar" comic shops, issued some concern over a corporate giant seeking to claim a chunk of any industry for itself, but reaffirmed the sense that physical comics as well as the shops that sell them will always be here.
So far, the ComicsPRO argument has some weight; although many comic book companies were hesitant to dive into the world of legal digital sale and download of comics, in the years since it hasn't effected the sales of comics in the direct market. If anything, sales have increased overall over the past two or three years. Since going public on what was then the newly established "world wide web" in 1995, Amazon has gone on to become a multi-billion dollar Fortune 500 company; ComiXology for its' part has been in operation for the past seven years, expanding its' reach and stock of accessible digital comics with every passing month. The company has opened a branch in France and has taken an interest in the budding comic circuit within India, for instance.
Although ComiXology isn't the only source for digital comics - most publishers sell them via their own websites these days, such as Archie Comics and Dark Horse Comics, not to mention iVerse - it has become the largest, akin to being the digital version of Diamond. The announcement that a huge corporate giant has essentially acquired it into its' already massive empire is news which is almost as huge as the announcement of Disney "acquiring" Marvel Comics in 2009-2010. It is a win for ComiXology founders and stock-holders as well as those who use the Kindle or other Amazon reading devices. Exact details, however, will remain to be seen.