How To: Get thousands of back issue comics on your iPad for pennies an issue
Comics and iPads – two extremely geeky things that go great together. And while I have the DC, Marvel, ComiXology, IDW, and Archie apps, one thing they all have in common is the digital issues don’t quite reflect the cost savings you would think would accompany ditching the printing, shipping, and restocking fees associated with going paperless. But this holiday season while monitoring Amazon’s lightning deals, I stumbled across a very cost effective way to get thousands of back issues of your favorite comics onto your iPad (or iPhone/iPod touch) for just pennies an issue. Here’s how.
My daughter has recently gotten very into the Archie comics, primarily for Betty and Veronica (and who can blame her?). So when the Archie comics app for the iPad came out, I picked it up, downloaded some free issues, then downloaded some pay issues, then, realizing this was still getting expensive, I went the eBay route, picking up lots of old Archie’s 50 at a time in lots. While this was a nice savings, it still was costing about a buck an issue, so when I saw Amazon had a lightning deal on a DVD of “Golden Age” Archie comics in PDF form for $3.00, I decided to take a risk, and I’m glad I did.
Above: If you look at Veronica’s Ass, you’ll see the watermark that appears on the pages. Not a bad tradeoff methinks.
Each DVD has about a decade worth of comics on it, and we’re talking the ENTIRE ORIGINAL comic, including the ads for Sea Monkeys. Each issue runs about 10 MB, and installing them couldn’t be easier. First, you must make sure you’ve downloaded Apple’s free iBooks app onto your device. Then, simply drag each PDF into iTunes, and then sync them under the BOOKS tab of your device’s syncing options. You can also edit their meta info in iTunes to group them better, or create playlists based on whether they’ve been read or not.
The cool thing is, it isn’t just Archie you can do this with. Many comics are being sold this way, on Amazon from X-Men and Avengers to the entire 50 years of MAD Magazine (for only $18.60), all at ridiculous savings compared to per issue paper or regular digital downloading.
Of course, as with all gift horses, you may notice one small problem if you look too closely in its mouth. While all these DVDs say the issues are “printable”, so far I’ve found they have a light but noticeable watermark on each page (see below). This really isn’t an issue for me or my daughter, or I would wager anyone going the digital route, as digital comics don’t appreciate in value like their paper friends, and the watermark is light enough to not be annoying. I assume this is done to prevent you from republishing all the old Betty and Veronica’s and making a FORTUNE… cough… but whatever. I’m getting Archie’s, Jughead’s, and Betty and Veronica’s for 2¢ an issue, and that’s pretty sweet.