TECH CHECK! For those of us who like to set ourselves up for success, today’s article is going to be all about the latest technology to help us succeed in enjoying, keeping track of, and reading the most comics possible this year.
Why? Well first of all because I LOVE tech… and comics… and I write these articles. And secondly because it’s National Tech Day!
So here are my most favorite tech items to get us onto the right path for reading, keeping track of, and overall making your comic book reading experience the best it can be through technology. Not to dismiss the beautiful textures and smells of a good book, and I do own many paperbacks and hardcovers, but today we are doing a big ‘ol dive into that techy life.
If you are going the full digital route, with a digital reading device for a digital comic, let’s check out the free and not so free options.
Free option would be the device you already have. Phones and computers, though they don’t really give you that feeling that you are reading a book, are a great option if you don’t have the extra cash to spend. We will go into some digital comic options below, but know that you can read comics on your computer and phone.
Even though this is one of the more expensive routes, I personally use an iPad 32GB Education model. For comic reading, I like that it is basically the size of a regular comic page so it feels closer to reading an actual book. In addition, it is obviously so much more than just a device to read books on. You could go in an iPad mini direction if you like the iPad but not the price, but I don’t recommend it because as a comic lover, it will be annoying seeing those much smaller pages. And obviously if you have the cash, you can go even more expensive than this with pro models. But I really feel this does the job and more.
A much cheaper alternative, but with a smaller storage and not as fast processor among other things, is the Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet at 10”. Since I use my tablet for a lot more than just reading, this is not ideal for me as I felt it was not very quick when I wanted it to do things. But if you are just using it for mostly reading and surfing the web, this could be a great option paired with online cloud storage such as Google Drive and Dropbox.
After you have your digital reading device (tablet, phone, computer), you might need some storage options if you plan on having a database. Once again, some of the best options are obviously the free options, and I will share those options with you, but it also depends on how many files you actually want to keep.
Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box are 3 options that have free storage or paid if you need more. Out of these 3, I personally like Google Drive because it syncs so well with so many services and you start off with 15GB of free storage (this is also shared with your Gmail and other google services). Google also has some great prices for more storage such as $1.99 a month or $20 a year for 100GB of storage. Dropbox free only gives you 2GB but you can earn more space for free and also there are paid options. Box is a little less used by the popular majority and I don’t think it really has as many sync options as the other two, but you can get 10GB free but the max file upload for each file is only 250MB! So careful there because depending on where you download your comics, that may not work and you would have to get a paid version.
Another option based on how you read your digital comics could be to just keep them stored on your external Hard Drive if you have one or Computer and only keep your current comics on your reading device. If you were wondering what external Hard Drive I use that I absolutely love, it’s the LaCie Rugged 5TB and I also have the 2TB. I love these drives since they have drop resistance, crush resistance, and rain resistance. But do what works for you in your budget and remember to always check the product details for what inputs/outputs you need.
APPS & SUBSCRIPTIONS
There are many places to get comics and of course some of the best comics are the free ones lent from a friend who knows your tastes and interests. Besides that, below are a few paid and free options for digital comics to read off your tablet, phone, or computer!
Hoopla is much more than comics. It has movies, music, tv series, novels, audio books and more! Best part is it’s all FREE with your library card! This is my number one place where I download and read comics. With Hoopla you get a certain amount of downloads a month and within a certain amount of days it automatically gets returned. Plus you support libraries! I believe with my account and downloading comics, you can download 14 a month (including volumes and not just single issues) and they return automatically I believe in 21 days. But that can vary so just check it out yourselves.
Marvel and DC both have their own digital subscription services and both have a 7 day free trial period. If you are a major reader of these two publishers, this could be something to check out plus the DC one is much more than just comics, but you can see the price is more as well. Give it a look for yourselves! But remember that if you cancel your subscription, you will not have access to the comics until you renew.
Comixology is one of the most well known comic download services. They always have sales and sometimes they have single first issues for free to read. Once again this is a subscription service so if you stop paying, you won’t have access to the comics until you renew. But I love the interface and it makes it so easy to find other new comics to read based on what you have read.
Webtoons is super great because it also has a great interface, you can actually download the comics for offline use, and so much is FREE! You might have to pay if you want to latest comics, but it is a great option with lots of cool high quality comics and originals!
Tapas.io is a great free place to read comics in which you can also choose to support the artist if you wish! Check them out for sure and support some of the hard working artists who are not part of a large publishing house.
Goodreads is a social network, BUT it’s free and is a great place to keep track of what you and your friends are reading. I love this network because since comics take a while to come out, I always know what issue I left off on and can see if my friends read it or rated it.
SETTING THE MOOD
If you want to get the full on best comic reading experience, here are a few minor things that could help. Of course this can’t take the place of getting the right comic for you and having the time to enjoy it, but it sure helps!
Hue Lights are my #1 favorite lights. Yes they are expensive. We all know that. Yes there are other options, but I haven’t tried them. But in my studio apartment it wasnt too bad to fill it with Hue lights and be able to set the mood. These work quickly and easily and it’s so great to fill the whole room with whatever mood I want while reading comics.
Sometimes we can be reading for HOURS and not even realize it. I especially love to drink tea while eating so one thing that is great to have is a drink pad that keeps your drinks hot! There are so many options out there, here is a smart gravity-induction set by BESTINNKITS.
There are times where we just don’t have the ability to have the peace and quiet we need to fully engulf ourselves in our comics. But worry not! Either getting a Speaker or Headphones paired with a great music playlist could be the answer. For speakers, I really like DKNIGHT portable speaker for its quality compared to its low price plus its portability, but its not longer available >.< but do some research and see what works for you, like maybe this one by Anker. For headphones, I splurged last year and got some Beats by Dre headphones. I know, I know, they are crazy expensive. But for my work I listen to music almost 8 hours a day at work, so I decided to splurge and I love these headphones. Headphones are hard to recommend because everyone’s head shape and preferences are different. But I do love the over the whole ear DJ style so I can feel fully engulfed. And for music playlists, there are some great free playlists on YouTube such as a lofi playlist and even on Apple Music and Spolify there are some great playlists for comic reading, just give it a search.
So there we have it, my most favorite tech for comic reading and enjoyment. What are your favorite items? What tech do you use the most? Is there an invention you wish was created? Let us know in the comments and we will catch you next week, same Nerd-Time, same Nerd-Channel.