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comic book readerTaking into view today’s digital distribution, music and movie are two main industries that are heavily affected by it. But these two are not the only ones. Other industries like newspapers, magazines, and books are also facing the harsh “adapt or die” dilemma.

In order to survive, hordes of players have made their content digitally available since a little while back. But despite the potential of digital media, the comic book industry is still moving in a little bit late. Until recently, finding commercially-published digital comic books is not as easy as other kind of books.

Luckily, everything’s changing now.

Good Looking And Social

If you are a comic lover, you’ll be happy to find this good looking multi-platform app called Graphic.ly. And aside from the look, the app also has other trick up in its sleeve: it’s social.

What’s the fun of reading good comics if you can’t share them with your friends? Maybe this is the underlying concept behind Graphic.ly. The app is trying to merge comic reading and social networking. The download page makes that concept clearly visible, along with the fact that this app is available for Windows and Mac (via Adobe AIR).

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comic book reader

To maintain the social side of the app, you’ll need to “Sign in” (or “Create an account” – for first time users) before using the app.

comic book reader download

Some people might think that Graphic.ly takes the social concept a little bit too far. The home screen is more similar to most social sites’ interface than to comic book reader applications. On the left pane you have Inbox, Feeds, New Comics and My Profile, along with news updates from the creator of the app.

comic book reader download

The middle pane has a “Got something to say?” box and all of your and your friends status updates. Those with eagle eye will notice Facebook and Twitter check boxes there.

comic book reader download

And on the right pane, you have “New Releases” and “Top Comics” recommendation.

comic reader

Getting And Reading Comics

Similar to iTunes for music and movies, Graphic.ly also serves both as reader and store for comic books (mostly – if not all – North American comics). There’s the “Categories” on the left, “Featured” in the middle, and “Friend purchases” and “Recommendations” on the right.

comic reader

The good news is, there’s the “Free Comics” category. The bad news is, the category is not working – yet. So I tried the reader using the only free comic that I can find.

After clicking the “Free” (or “Buy“) button for the comics that you want, the comic is downloaded and saved under “My Collection” tab.

comic reader

After the download process is complete, you can start reading it. The first page contains the cover along with other contents that available with the comic.

comic book reader software

The reading process itself is quite straightforward, you click on the right arrow to move forward, the left arrow to move backward, and the scroll bar to move up and down the page. There’s also the zoom slider to enlarge the image to the size that you want.

comic book reader software

One thing that I really don’t like about this app is you that you can’t use the arrow keys (and other keys) on the keyboard to navigate the comic pages. Having to repeatedly point and click the mouse to specific location just to flip page can be really annoying over time.

When you hover your mouse above the page, you might find comment points (I don’t know what they’re really called). Click on these points and you can see the comment box with comments on one detail of the image (something like: “Nice legs!“) or more explanation about unfamiliar terms on the dialog bubble. You can add your comments to the conversation if you want to.

comic book reader software

And There’s More

A dock with more options will show up when you click the small arrow at the bottom of the screen.

There’s the “View Mode” button to choose how you want the comic page to appear.

There’s the “Social” button to share comic page(s) to your friends and to show/hide comment points that mentioned above.

If you own an iPhone or iPad, you could also try the iPhone Version [App Store link] and iPad Version [App Store link] of Graphic.ly. I personally prefer Comics How To Read Comics On Your iPhone (+ some apps) How To Read Comics On Your iPhone (+ some apps) Read More to read comic books on my iPhone.

comic book reader

Appearance-wise, I personally think that this app is one of the few apps that seems to be “beautifully made“; even though there are some problems with navigation that needed to be fixed.

However, I do have few things on my wish list: to integrate some kind of guided view technology like Comics How To Read Comics On Your iPhone (+ some apps) How To Read Comics On Your iPhone (+ some apps) Read More and to add keyboard shortcuts. And if this app has the ability to read comics from external sources like what Simple Comic How to Find and Read Comic E-Books Online How to Find and Read Comic E-Books Online Read More does, this would be the perfect comic book reader.

Do you have your own favorite comic book reader? Share using the comment below.

  1. Jon Stump
    August 30, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Jeffery - Something I missed on my initial read of your article was that you mentioned not being able to use the keyboard. The arrow keys should work for left/right page turns and up/down should work on single page view. We also had an update which added a guided view mode.

    If you need any help feel free to drop a line at http://www.getsatisfaction.com... or feel free to email me directly jons [@] graphicly.com.

  2. Jon Stump
    August 30, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Jeffery - Something I missed on my initial read of your article was that you mentioned not being able to use the keyboard. The arrow keys should work for left/right page turns and up/down should work on single page view. We also had an update which added a guided view mode.

    If you need any help feel free to drop a line at http://www.getsatisfaction.com/graphicly or feel free to email me directly jons [@] graphicly.com.

  3. Aqe
    August 26, 2010 at 5:56 am

    I use ComicRack as cbr/cbz reader on Windows. It has unique in this kind of software Library feature that beats all other alternatives.

    http://comicrack.cyolito.com/

    And I agree that buying digital comics in DRM-like format is bad investment. You get yourself chained. I think publishers shouldn't be that scared and sell their products in open format that can be accessed by external software.

    But it looks it's going to be the other way around. And it'll be hard lesson. Like with mp3.

  4. Jon Stump
    August 25, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Graphic.ly does have DRM, but we are working towards an open standard. http://www.comicbookresources....

    The link goes to an article that our CEO Micah Baldwin did about it with CBR.

  5. RPG Master
    August 25, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Are the comic books that you buy in the comic book archive format (cbr, cbz)?
    Probably not, and instead are in some stupid proprietary DRM'd format... :(

  6. RPG Master
    August 25, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Are the comic books that you buy in the comic book archive format (cbr, cbz)?
    Probably not, and instead are in some stupid proprietary DRM'd format... :(

    • Anonymous
      August 25, 2010 at 3:42 am

      For comics in zip, cbr and cbz, I prefer Simple Comic.

    • Jon Stump
      August 25, 2010 at 4:13 pm

      Graphic.ly does have DRM, but we are working towards an open standard. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=26199

      The link goes to an article that our CEO Micah Baldwin did about it with CBR.

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