For close to two decades now, Tapas and LINE Webtoon have been the dominant players in the webtoon market. Amazon looks to be aiming to take a chunk of the online webcomic market with Fliptoon, their new comics venture.
Amazon had previously forayed into the comic publishing sphere when it became the largest digital comics distributor in the world with their purchase of ComiXology in 2014. However, in 2022, it overhauled ComiXology with a pivot from providing users with the option to read the comics on the web or apps, to a Kindle only experience. This angered a lot of readers as the new platform was not entirely ready and it went through some painful growth pains. In the aftermath, ComiXology was hit with massive layoffs impacting more than half the company.
That is what makes Amazon’s Fliptoon intriguing. They recently launched it exclusively to the Japanese market as they test out the service. It’s only a matter of time before the launch it in the US market, and then globally. There a few interesting features to Fliptoon that indicates that Amazon may be learning from its past mistakes. Fliptoon does not require a special app like Kindle or ComiXology to be read. The comics can be read on a web browser. The first four chapters of each comic offering will be offered for free with the rest of the chapters available for a fee. Amazon plans to release paywalled chapters after a designated time period.
What makes this latest foray remarkable is the obvious recognition that the Webtoon market is experiencing exponential growth. Amazon’s Fliptoon may become a large player in the market in the not too distant future.