Saturday, 3 May 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

Celebrate Free Comic Book Day with Free Digital Comics

Posted: 03 May 2014 02:43 PM PDT

Today4740907330_c89aa4f53c_b[1] is the first Saturday of May, and you know what that means: it’s free comic book day. This is the day each year that all comic book shops all work to promote this literary form by giving away free comic books.

Unfortunately not all of us live within driving distance of a comic shop, but there are still plenty of free digital comics to be had.

A brief check of Amazon, Nook and other ebook retailers failed to show any sign of a special sale.


image by RLHyde

The post Celebrate Free Comic Book Day with Free Digital Comics appeared first on The Digital Reader.

How to Read Digital Comics on Windows

Posted: 03 May 2014 12:00 PM PDT

9669608946_71e1a64462_b[1]Amazon and Comixology may be getting all of the press attention right now but there’s more to comics than one mid-sized retailer.

Many different companies, including Apple, Google, Kobo, and Amazon, sell digital comics in their ebookstores, and if you don’t mind being restricted to a mobile devices (Android, iPad, or iPhone) you can find many competing indie comic apps like Madefire, Thrillbent, etc.

It’s pretty easy to read comics on mobile devices, but Windows is another matter. Of the major retailers, only Comixology enables you to read comics on Windows (in your web browser).

What with the Humble Image Comics Bundle giving me a sudden interest in reading comics on my laptop, I took a few hours yesterday and today and put together some useful info.


In the course of writing this post I have learned that there are anywhere from fourteen forty comic book formats in use today. Some of them, including the formats used by Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, and other retailers, are proprietary and so I won’t mention them here.

And there are other formats which I see in the supported format list for a few of these app which I have never heard of. I do not think they are in common use in the US, but obviously that’s not the whole of the world.

The 4 formats I have encountered are:

  • CBR
  • CBZ
  • Epub
  • PDF

Of the 4 formats, PDFs are the easiest to read.

The most difficult format to read is Epub, and it should be avoided. While Epub is used by Apple, Kobo, Google Play, and other retailers to sell comics, all of those retailers use their own apps to read the ebooks they sell, and none of which work reliably on a PC to read a comic which wasn’t bought from them (at the time I wrote this post).

I tried NookStudy, Adobe DE, Calibre, and Readium (a Chrome browser plugin). They were all able to open the Epub but all failed at readability. Either the page images were too small or the pages images hung off the bottom of the screen.

CBR and CBZ are two formats most often associated with digital comics. They were named for the compression tech used to create each type of file (Rar and Zip). most of the time these files are little more than a folder full of page images. These files require a special app in order to read them.

Suggested Format: PDF

If you have a choice between downloading a the four format listed above, I would get a PDF.

PDF may technically be a printer’s format and not a comics format, but it is still the most widely used document format, and that means this is the one format which you know will work on everything. After all, who doesn’t have a copy of Adobe Reader?


After telling you to download PDFs, I suppose I could simply end this post with the simple recommendation that you use Adobe Reader. But that would not be of much use to those who had already downloaded a CBR or CBZ file, so here is a list of apps and download links.

Not all of these apps have been updated recently; one hasn’t been updated since 2009.

Adobe Reader

  • Supported formats: PDF
  • Download: Adobe
  • Updated: frequently

CDisplay EX

  • Supported formats: CBR, CBZ, PDF
  • Download: link
  • Updated:  January 2014
  • Notes: Crashed on a Lenovo laptop running Windows 7


  • Supported formats: CBR, CBZ, and other formats
  • Download: link
  • Updated: April 2013


  • Supported formats: CBR, CBZ, and other formats
  • Download: link
  • Updated: February 2014


  • Supported formats: CBR, CBZ, PDF, and other formats
  • Download: link
  • Updated: unknown


  • Supported formats: CBR, CBZ
  • Download: link
  • Updated: not since 2009


If you want a recommendation, try MComix. That app is a little old but it worked the best for me. Honeyview also worked okay, but it didn’t want to keep a consistent zoom after I turned the page.

For some readers there’s a certain nostalgia to reading a paper comic book and flipping the pages, but for one reason or another this blogger has never had the time, access, and funds to get into comics (not all at the same time, anyway). I’ve always gone digital.

image by jareed

The post How to Read Digital Comics on Windows appeared first on The Digital Reader.

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