I can’t totally decide how embarrassed I should be by this, so I’ll just come out and say it: I’ve had the hardest time figuring out a good way to read comic book PDFs on my tablet. Ok, Ok, I hear you, my grandma’s calling and she’d like to offer some help with getting me on the internet, I get it. But when you rule out the tedious and time-consuming practice of manually loading PDF files onto a device, what’s the best way to read comic book PDFs (on the go) on your tablet?
My criteria are as follows:
- I don’t want to have to manually move the PDF file from my desktop to my tablet. I almost never plug my device directly into my desktop and even though it’s technically “easy,” I’ve ruled it out.
- I need to have access to the PDF offline. This is purely for commuting purposes. If PDF access is reliant on a WiFi connection, I’ve ruled it out.
This is probably the part in the discussion (is it weird that I pretend these drawn out interior monologues are discussions?) where you ask why I’m so interested in PDFs. Why don’t I just read comics using established comic book reader files like .cbr or .cbz?
This is a good question, and I’ve written here in the past how I import .cbz DRM-Free Image Comics directly from Dropbox into my Komix Android reader app. I’ve found that my auto-Dropbox import is less successful for .cbr files (Komix will never load the files… weird, right?), so I read those using ComicRack (importing manually as needed – the autosync feature is via paid subscription only, and I’m not that lazy).
This works well for those types of files, but what I’ve found this year is that when comic book publishers offer review copies (#reviewbrag) they send them in the form of PDF. And since my searches for “PDF to .cbr file converter” were completely fruitless (if you know of a good tool / how to do this, I’d love to hear about it), I’ve had to just read the copies as PDFs.
Reading Comic Book PDFs on Your Tablet
Without further ado, here’s my favorite way to set up offline reading of Comic book PDFs.
First, you need to move the PDF file to a folder in Google Drive. Don’t use Google Drive? Start! It’s free, and you can store up to 115 GB for free. By comparison, Dropbox offers 2 GB (for free). Those numbers are different, I agree.
Once your comic book file is in Google Drive, open the Google Drive app on your tablet. Access the folder and you’ll see your comic book file. Now, when you’re setting this up you’ll want to be connected to WiFi. If you click the file right here, your tablet will begin to load the PDF into the PDF reader of your choice. The downside is that once you move to offline you may lose access to this download.
The simple workaround is to long-hold the file name and then select “Pin to This Device.” This will download the comic as if you were going to read, but will locally pin it on your tablet. Now when you want to access your comic, all you have to do is pop open Google Drive and select your “On Device” files.
Comic books away!
There you have it. A reasonably simple way to read comic book PDFs on your tablet. Have a better way? Know how to convert these files to .cbz or .cbr? Do what feels right to you in the comments.