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Comics From comiXology

The Comics app for Android phones.

Screenshot by HowStuffWorks.com

Being a bookworm doesn’t mean you stick to the classics. Comic books are as popular as ever, and many readers prefer their stories told one colored panel at a time. Today's smartphones are equipped with display screens just as advanced as the phone itself. High pixel density and vibrant colors provide a visually rich viewing experience, and that's a lot of horsepower to waste on printed words alone. This ability to deliver sharp, crisp images in a mobile form factor is a marriage made in heaven for comic book geeks. That's why publishers including DC and Marvel have launched mobile sites and create content specifically for handheld devices.

ComiXology's Comics application works very much like the Kindle app we just discussed. Users can shop around 8,000 of titles from virtually every comic book publisher, with more than 300 being free to download. And once they make their purchase, the title can be read on any Apple or Android device [source: comiXology].

Purists may scoff at the idea of reading a comic book on a 3.5-inch (8.9-centimeter) display (which is the average screen size for a smartphone), but going mobile has its advantages. Storage, for starters, is a big draw for digital subscribers. Collectors couldn't exactly carry an issue around in their pocket until now. And the free app features what they call Guided View technology, which helps guide the reader to the next frame so each panel can be displayed individually.

Comic book apps are fun, but what about ones that bring together the reading community? On the next page, we'll take a gander at an application that helps readers expand their libraries while letting them offer their opinions on what they've read.

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