iPad comic book reader smackdown

Top 5 reading apps for iPad

The iPad can do many things. One of the things I am most excited about it acting as an electronic comic book reader. Marvel, DC, and many other publishers currently have their own comic book apps out there (of course, they still charge cover price AND charge cover price for back issues, despite the fact that production costs are decreased…but that’s a diatribe for another day), and many of those apps have some nice features. But I am talking about apps that let you read your OWN comic book collection (I don’t want to have to buy comics again from a company when I have an original).

Now, to get your own collection into electronic format, you need a scanner, and store the comics as a specified format. CBZ and CBR are most common, but some readers also accept ZIP, RAR, PDF, and other file types. I am lucky in that I have some comics that were given to me in CBZ and CBR format, so I am using those for these evaluations. There are also many places to download comics in the appropriate format. I also have the X-Men archives in PDF format, so if the reader supports those I will utilize that as well. There are also various websites that may have files available for download (especially out of print, public domain comics).

For this comparison, I will be looking at ease of use, appearance, features and settings, and overall “experience”. To load comics, you can do it through the iTunes file sharing, but a few also allow for online access and downloads. Some of them even allow you to load comics on DropBox (or something similar) and access them that way. To the best of my knowledge, there are no apps that allow for streaming comics (which would be nice for people with HUGE collections!) – you still need to manually download the comics if they are online.

I have reviewed three apps on the iPad Apps Forum: Comic Zeal, ComicGlass, and Comic Book Reader. If you have one you want me to take a look at, please post on that thread.

To see how each fared, and to find out which one is my favorite, click on through to the iPad Apps Forum Comic Book Reader Smackdown!


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There are 11 comments. Add yours.

Jayhawk says:

I use CloudReaders for comics and PDFs on my iPad. The interface is barebones, but the file transfer is quick and easy and the load times are fast. Best of all, it's FREE.
I had Comic Zeal on my iPod Touch ($5), but thought it was a crappy move to make me pay an additional fee to get the same program for my iPad ($8). Plus, for some reason, when CZ was full of comics, my backup time in iTunes for my device took FOREVER.
Stanza can now load comics too and I might move my collection over there if the interface is better than CloudReaders, because they're both FREE. I haven't played around with it enough to know yet.
Just thought you might want some other alternatives...

Chris Vitek says:

Thanks. I will look into them to add to the smackdown. They didn't come up in App store when I put in "comic reader". (or maybe I just missed them)

Joe Reid says:

Check out an app called Cloud Readers. I've been using it for months and am quite pleased with it.

Laurent says:

I use Boookman for CBR/CBZ and PDF.

Ben Joven says:

Really? Why no mention of Graphic.ly?

Chris Vitek says:

From what I can see, Graphic.ly is a website/app devoted to selling comics...not an app designed to let you read digital comics you already own as a file.

Jayhawk says:

Thanks for the Bookman recommendation. It seems to be just what I was looking for.

Bmwr1200c says:

Stanza works fine for .cbz and .cbr files and its free. You can sync it with Calibre and download over home wifi network.

Sommer Cunard says:

Have you ever considered adding more videos to your website posts to maintain the readers far more entertained? I suggest I just go through via the whole article of yours and it was fairly very good but because Im more of a visual learner,I discovered that to become a lot more helpful. Just my my concept, Very good luck.

Elia Gregorio says:

I like YACReader, a fantastic app that let me import my comics from YACReaderlibrary, dropbox or iTunes. Its a very robust app which runs very well with a very big collection of comics. And the interface is beautiful.the reading experience is great.