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Old 12-01-2006, 05:36 PM   #1
Steven Lyle Jordan
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E-Readers for Graphic Novels!

I presently read e-books on my handheld, and I'm cool with that. I don't feel the need for a hardware reader for that. But in evaluating why I would use a reader, I've finally realized what I really want an e-reader for:

Comics and Graphic Novels!

Yes, I'd like an e-reader with a (roughly) letter-sized screen, and full color, in order to enjoy my scores of graphic novels and hundreds of comic books! I'd love to carry around my entire run of manga, superhero comics and compilations, SF, humor, and hardback graphic books, available to me at all times. Not to mention the hundreds of pounds worth of books and comics, and a lot of square footage given to shelves and boxes, gone!

This does mean that I need color. It also means I need an easy way to scan all that stuff in, and save it in a sufficiently small file size to allow me to save a lot of stuff.

This is, I think, why I haven't gone ga-ga over any of the readers out there... they still won't do the job I need them to do. Not quite. Or, those that can do not have an easy way for me to get my stuff into them.

But someday...
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Old 12-01-2006, 05:47 PM   #2
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One of the reasons I really want to like the Sony is that they sell some Manga through their store, but it doesn't look like much of a selection yet.

I keep an eye out for .cbr and .cbz support, but no luck yet.

If you find something that even comes close, let me know.

Jack
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Old 12-02-2006, 10:13 AM   #3
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I bought a manga book for the Sony Reader just to test it out. The file was huge. It looked okay on the screen but not enough to make me want to get into it. Comics are one thing I don't mind reading regularly on a computer. Crossgen used to have an excellent setup for reading comics online until they put themselves out of business. Hopefully somebody will someday try and emulate it.
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Old 12-03-2006, 06:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan
...
Comics and Graphic Novels!

Yes, I'd like an e-reader with a (roughly) letter-sized screen, and full color, in order to enjoy my scores of graphic novels and hundreds of comic books! I'd love to carry around my entire run of manga, superhero comics and compilations, SF, humor, and hardback graphic books, available to me at all times. Not to mention the hundreds of pounds worth of books and comics, and a lot of square footage given to shelves and boxes, gone!

This does mean that I need color.
...
But someday...
Someone after my own heart! This is my dream as well and I have spent an inordinate amount time in the last couple of weeks trying to find a device just for reading comics on. Color isn't totally necessary, but much more preferable. I almost bought the Sony Reader just for this but changed my mind after reading some accounts online of bad experiences trying to do that (I have no interest in the titles Sony is selling, and even less faith they'll put out the iTunes of comics on there). And it's really hard to find people with real experience trying to do that.

For myself, the best device I've found is a Toshiba 3505 Tablet PC, it was a dream. I say "was" because some really cool person broke into my home and stole it one day

Because I lost $1400 on that, my new criteria is that it has to be $350 or less in price (comparable to my 5G iPod, which was also stolen). I've look at and even tried reading comics on the following devices:

-Sony PSP
-portable DVD players (tablet style) 7" and up to 10.1"
-Sony Reader
-Coby 7" PMP w/ 40GB HDD (screen is bad and the experience was a nightmare)
-Archos 604 and AV700 PMP's

That Archos AV700 is a 7" PMP that looks amazing, but if the image browsing is similar to the 604's (which I did manage to try out at Sharper Image), zooming around and needing to zoom out to go to the next image was too much hassle.

Has anyone tried using a PSP or an Archos AV700? If so, what are your thoughts on trying to use it for reading comics?

How about the iLiad for comics?

*sigh* Otherwise I'm afraid that I may have to save up for another Tablet PC to get what I need.
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikeric
Because I lost $1400 on that, my new criteria is that it has to be $350 or less in price (comparable to my 5G iPod, which was also stolen).

How about the iLiad for comics?
Sorry about all your stolen stuff. Well, the iLiad at about $730 is a bit over your stated budget. If you want to see how the iLiad displays graphic novels, check out Iliadfan Oliver Bogler's video at http://www.veoh.com/videoDetails.html?v=e110217qJpcaSrC
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Old 12-04-2006, 11:05 AM   #6
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We're all waiting for this elusive device Steve. It is true tablets are here but their computing power make them energy wasteful. One tablet with less speed should exist for static display, not all users have to use it as a web, video or any other active animation display. Just as not every car has to be a racing machine. This machine will be sooner than we think in a color eink format, and I firmly believe that Europe will see to it's birth.
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Old 12-05-2006, 02:07 PM   #7
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikeric
I've look at and even tried reading comics on the following devices:

-Sony PSP
-portable DVD players (tablet style) 7" and up to 10.1"
-Sony Reader
-Coby 7" PMP w/ 40GB HDD (screen is bad and the experience was a nightmare)
-Archos 604 and AV700 PMP's
Say... DVD players... I hadn't thought of that! DVDs hold a lot of data (in many cases, i.e. black and white art, a CD would do). Art pages can be saved high-res, and with some kind of scrolling control, you could zoom in on a single panel for better examination! And CDs/DVDs could be sold in stores, by mail, and as online files that you burn to disk yourself... all of which would be great ways to disseminate comics and graphic novels. Brilliant!

Somebody get Marvel and DC on the phone! Or better yet: Design the first such CD/DVD, and get the patent office on the phone! If I was still doing illustration (my first "career" before I started writing), I'd give it a shot!

Oh...

...this was an e-book reader forum, wasn't it?...

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 12-05-2006 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 12-05-2006, 05:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikeric
*sigh* Otherwise I'm afraid that I may have to save up for another Tablet PC to get what I need.
Maybe an older tablet from eBay? Any tablet will be overkill in terms of processing power and won't have the battery life of an E Ink display, but there are some pretty good deals out there from a price standpoint.

I read manga (b&w) far more often than I read colored graphic novels, so the file compression rate should be better, and the size format that manga tankoubon are usually published in would fit nicely on something Reader or iLiad sized. I'm not expecting to see the titles I like published in eBook format any time soon, though, and I'm reluctant to chop mine up to scan them. (Though some of the older ones are starting to fall apart anyway... hm....)
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:11 PM   #9
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Now You Can Read Comics on your iPhone!

I think I have a temporary solution, while I wait for a more dedicated device:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27884
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Old 08-23-2008, 01:46 AM   #10
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Bump: Much the Same Issue

I am not sure anyone has a good answer to this, but I will throw this question out again. I am looking for a COLOR e-book reader, with a largish display and a decent resolution that would be suitable for reading american comics in a .cbr or .cbz format, that can display one full page at a time without needing to zoom to read. Unfortunately I know that most proprietary devices don't support those formats, I know I may have to extract the files and just scroll through .jpegs (but if the device does a nice job of that it could be acceptable). What would really be the best would be a mobile device with a linux OS on it, I am sure there are plenty of .cbr or .cbz readers out for that , but I digress.

This device must also have a foldable or touch display, I don't want to use a laptop, I want the experience to be as much like reading a comic as possible. Additionally, I don't want to spend the money for a tablet, $300-$600 would be absolutely ideal as I don't much care if the device can do anything else except be a great .cbr, .cbz comic book viewer. From what other users have stated it sounds like 7" is probably the best size for such a device if the resolution is decent.

Does anyone have an opinion on this for the new Archos 5" or 7" internet media tablet?

amazon.com link to archos internet media tablets

The main thing that worries me here is that 800x480 seems like a bit of a low resolution but never having used any device to try to read comics (besides my DS, which I decided the screen was too small, you MUST be able to view a full page at a time) I can't tell.

Is there some other device I should be waiting for that might work? Another affordable MID or UMPC with a large, decent resolution screen? Wait for color e-ink (I can tell that is a couple of years out)? Anyone else have the same dilemma as me? I'd love to hear any and all opinions or feedback about this.
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Old 08-24-2008, 11:13 AM   #11
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This is going to be a tough one, because of a couple things: the overall comics-reading market is not all that large (Watchmen's probably the biggest-selling graphic novel of all time and the sales are a drop in the bucket compared to Stephen King or Tom Clancy sales) and the major companies (Marvel, DC) have no wish to support digital comics.

So even if someone decided to build the reader, content would be very slow in coming. As it is, about 90% of the .cbr and .cbz files out there are illegal torrents and comics companies have no interest in making that any easier.
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Old 08-24-2008, 05:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by MoSo View Post
This is going to be a tough one, because of a couple things: the overall comics-reading market is not all that large (Watchmen's probably the biggest-selling graphic novel of all time and the sales are a drop in the bucket compared to Stephen King or Tom Clancy sales) and the major companies (Marvel, DC) have no wish to support digital comics.

So even if someone decided to build the reader, content would be very slow in coming. As it is, about 90% of the .cbr and .cbz files out there are illegal torrents and comics companies have no interest in making that any easier.
Oh yes, I fully understand that. I know such a device built specifically for this does not and will not ever exist. What I am looking for is a device that COULD do this. The options being either A) You view jpegs extracted from these files OR the device runs a Linux OS that has an application that supports the format (like the N810 etc). The Archos 7 I mentioned above runs Linux but it doesn't look like they are as open as the N810 folks to fostering a development community to add additional applications etc. Also my concern for something like the Archos 7 was that having never used a device in this way it was hard to tell if the screen would be large enough with a big enough resolution.
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Old 08-24-2008, 07:34 PM   #13
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For Linux:

http://comical.sourceforge.net/index.php?id=4
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:29 AM   #14
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Well to be fair, Marvel has been doing ``40 Years of the _insert comicbook name here>'' DVDs for a while now --- they're quite nice and read surprisingly well on a laptop rotated 90 degrees and held as a book.

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Old 08-25-2008, 12:20 PM   #15
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I think the major comics publishers (and quite a few of the smaller ones) see the writing on the wall, and want to get into the digital market. Unfortunately, they are saddled with a market that has not stabilized on a platform or delivery system, and they do not have the resources to impose one on everyone. So they are trying out various low-cost methods (like the Marvel DVDs), watching the other content delivery systems (zinio.com, for instance, may turn out to be a delivery method they could take advantage of), and hoping they make the right decision.

As to what to buy: Right now, if you have the resources, you're probably better off with a laptop (or a UMPC), capable of handling multiple formats plus PDF and flash, to get the most possible number of formats for e-book delivery. Any dedicated reader will either severely limit you in what is available, or will require you to do your own (mostly manual and time-consuming) conversion, a process I wouldn't recommend.

I know I'd love to get my collection of comics and GNs into digital formats. But the idea of doing that manually is simply ridiculous right now.
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