1. CBR/CBZ FilesItems Required: A comic reader program such as Comic Rack.
Cost: Many are free, but some tablet apps are paid. Most are under $10.
Description: Essentially a CBR or CBZ file is a collection of images that a program like Comic Rack uses to display on screen. This is the preferred format of comic book pirates that then host the files on bittorrent and cyberlocker websites like Hotfile. Many digital comic book aficionados prefer this format to the others.
More Information: Digital Comics Glossary Definition
Cost: Comixology is a free download, but you will have to pay for most of the comic books you download. Downloads start at $.99.
Description: Comixology has quickly become the top digital comic book provider. They have partnered with both Marvel and DC to make their own branded apps. Using Comixology, you can read your comic books on any device that has the Comixology app.
More Information: www.comixology.com
3. Apple AppsItems Required: An Apple compatible device - iPad, iPhone, Mac
Cost: Varies - Expect to pay between $200 to $3000. The iPhone is the cheapest Apple device, the iPad is a mid-priced device, and the Mac's are at the higher end. Most of the apps to read comic books are free, but you will need to pay a fee for each comic you download.
Description: Apple devices are known for their user friendly features. This makes them great for reading digital comic books. You can download apps onto your iPhone, iPad, and even on your Mac's to read digital comic books. Many of the other items on this list will work with Apple devices such as Comixology, Graphic.ly, and PDF's. The iPad is perhaps the best device that Apple makes for reading digital comic books with its 9.7 inch screen making it great for reading on the go.
More Information: www.apple.com
4. Android AppsItems Required: An Android device such as an Android smartphone or an Android tablet.
Cost: Varies - Expect to pay between $100 and $1000. Most of the apps are free, but you will need to pay a fee for most of the comics you download.
Description: The Android has made a big splash in the smartphone arena, overtaking Apple for the smartphone market share and is now making strides in the area of tablets as well. Many of the apps available on Apple devices are now also available on Android devices as well. Graphic.ly, Comixology, DC, and Marvel all have apps for Android devices. Just make sure your device is compatible. Older Android devices may not be able to get some of these apps.
More Information: Android Definition
5. Graphic.lyItems Required: A computer with a browsing softare such as Safari or Firefox or a tablet with the Graphic.ly app.
Cost: Graphic.ly is free to download as an app, but like the other digital retailers, there is a cost to download most comic books. Comics start at $.99.
Description: Graphic.ly is an up and coming digital comic book provider that has a growing stable of comic book publishers. Graphic.ly adds a community extension in that it integrates aspects of popular comic book sites like iFanboy, Newsarama, and Comicvine. You can leave comments on pages and panels that people in your friends list can read and respond to.
More Information: www.graphicly.com
Cost: You can read some comic books for free, but to access the full range of MDCU comic books you need to pay a monthly or yearly fee. As of the time of posting this, the monthly fee is $9.99 and the yearly fee is $59.88.
Description: Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited is an online service of Marvel Comics that gives you access to thousands of comic books online. With your subscription you can ready any of their comic books online. They don't put up many brand new comic books and do not have all of their classic issues up, but they are constantly adding more each week.
More Information: www.marvel.com/digital_comics
7. PDF FilesItems Required:A computer or tablet with Adobe software installed and an internet connection.
Cost: Adobe is a free download, just the cost of the device.
Description: Many companies that offer previews or free comic books to download do it in a PDF format. PDF stands for Portable Document Format and is proprietary to the Adobe corporation. The reason that they do this is that the PDF is protected and makes the images unable to be tampered with without other expensive software. All you need to do is download them to your device or even just open them in your browser.
More Information: www.adobe.com
8. WOWIOItems Required: A computer with browsing software. WOWIO also has an iPhone app.
Cost: Using WOWIO is free but most comic books cost money to download. Prices start at $.99.
Description: WOWIO was on the forefront of digital comic books, providing income for many independent comic book creators. They offer a unique setup in that the creator sets the price for their comic book and retains all money from the sales minus the credit card processing fees. They make money via sponsorships and ads in the downloads.
More Information: www.wowio.com
Cost: Longbox charges a rate for each comic book you download. Some are free, but you can expect to pay $.99 for each comic book download. Longbox has marketed itself as being the iTunes of the comic book world. They are really striving to corner the market on digital comic books.
More Information: www.longboxdigital.com
Cost: Usually free.
Description: To help spread the word of their products, many comic book publishers offer free comic books that you can download as a PDF file or read online. This will usually be the first issue of the series and nothing more, but hey, free comic books!
More Information: Comic Book Publishers