Digital comics are more popular than ever, especially with juggernaut companies like DC and Marvel jumping on the digital bandwagon. Many readers prefer digital comic books, too, thanks to the ease of purchasing titles and getting them instantly, as well as digital comics being easier on the eyes and not filling up endless bookshelves.
This means that there are also now a lot of comic book e-readers on the market, but which free comic book reader apps are the best?
We take a look at our top five comic book readers:
ComicRack (Android, iOS, Windows)
Of all the comic book reading apps, ComicRack is probably our favorite. Not only does it come packed with features, including the ability to put comic books into collections, compress them into a CBZ file and export to other devices, but ComicRack even allows you to sync your comic book library so that you can go from one device to another and start reading from where you left off.
ComicRack also has fast navigation, auto scrolling, auto rotation and even a manga mode. Having trouble reading your comics? You can also change the color and sharpness of each comic book page while reading.
Perfect Viewer (Android)
Although Perfect Viewer is only available for Android devices, it is also one of the fastest comic book readers on the market. There's very little delay when loading new pages so turning pages in the app becomes faster than if you had a physical book in your hand. Perfect Viewer also comes with a nearly overwhelming list of features, including five view modes: pinch & zoom functionality, bookmarking, caching of next and previous pages, balloon magnifier and more.
However, there's a downside to such a feature-rich app: it takes a bit of a learning curve to get used to and it's likely that most users will rarely use every feature available. However, Perfect Viewer is still aptly named because of those features that make it, well, perfect.
Simple Comic (Mac)
There aren't really a lot of good comic book readers available for Mac, but Simple Comic bucks the trend by offering a simple interface perfect for reading all your favorite titles. There aren't a lot of features, but that's sort of the point: this app is strictly for reading comic books. However, you can still choose your page layout (do you want to view one page at a time or two?), scale pages, rotate pages, have multiple reading sessions, use automatic bookmarking and a see full-screen thumbnail page preview.
Manga Rock (iOS, Android)
If you're into Japanese comics, aka manga, you'll need a good manga-reading app. And that's where Manga Rock comes in. Not only is this an app that reads manga well, it also houses a collection of over 50,000 manga comic books in seven different languages. Search for what you want, download it and read it. While reading, you can take advantage of the app's many features, including reading modes, zoom, brightness control and reading direction (in case you like reading text the Japanese way).
Comixology (iOS, Android, Windows)
Although certainly not our top pick for comic book reader apps, you can't deny the sheer selection of comics (over 50,000 titles and growing) that Comixology brings to the table. It's also relatively easy to download a comic and start reading it immediately, although if you're looking for something in particular through the Comixology app, you might have a little trouble actually finding it.
However, the search on the Comixology website is better, and when you find what you want, you can buy it and pull it up on your devices. The app does offer in-app purchases of titles, as well as guided view (we especially like looking at comics panel by panel).
There are also the digital firsts and comics you can't find anywhere else. And that, along with its great selection, is why Comixology makes our list.
Do you have a favorite comic book reading app not listed here? Let us know what it is in the comments.
[Photo Credit: Comic Rack]