A few months ago Google blew up the cloud file-storage market by offering unlimited upload space for photos and videos, with laughable limitations (videos at 1080p and photos at 16MP max). With this in mind, as well as the possibilities its system offers to catalogue images into galleries, a lightbulb went off: Why not use this robust service as a comic book reader? The results, after a few tests, have been completely brilliant.
The premise for doing this is quite clear: Google Photos is a multiplatform system where your images are accessible from both your PC via your web browser and in the official client for Android smartphones and tablets (the latter is what’s of interest to us here), where you can view galleries sequentially in page mode with a loading speed at the level of other specialized comic apps, such that, in addition to being able to read your graphic novels, you’ll always have them to hand any place where you have an Internet connection.
1. Adapt the format
The only hurdle you’ll need to get over is that of the format of your eComics. Generally you’ll find three types: CBR, PDF, or EPUB. The first is the one that presents the fewest problems, as it’s just a RAR file containing JPG images with a renamed extension. Thus you just rename them again and extract all the content into a folder. In terms of PDF and EPUB you’ll need to search for a tool to convert them into independent images in bulk, so you don’t have to do each page one by one. Some good free candidates include Freemore PDF Converter, Icecream PDF Converter, or readers with an integrated converter such as Foxit Reader.
2. Upload the images
The smoothest way to do this is from your PC via the web client accessible from http://google.com/photos. From there, by clicking the cloud and arrow icon in the upper part of the screen beside the search bar, you’ll get a browse window where you can select groups of images and entire folders. As you add your comic book JPGs, it will tell you at all times how many pages have been uploaded in a pop-out window.
3. Create your gallery
The most tedious bit is over. Now you’re going to select the comic in question and group it into a gallery for easy access from the collections menu in Google Photos. You don’t need to select all the images one by one: just click the first, press shift, then click the last image to select them all at once (note that you select by clicking the upper left corner of the image, if not you’ll just maximize it). Now go to the cross icon in the upper right part of the screen and click Create Album. In any case, this probably won’t be necessary, as immediately after uploading the last photo it will suggest you do this automatically. Choose a name and done!
4. Read your comics!
Now you can go to the Collections section from the left drop-down menu and view your brand-new graphic novel with its cover as the preview image. Although it’s possible to read it on your PC, the magic in all this lies in doing it with a tablet. The reading experience is perfect, the turning of the pages very enjoyable, and the image compression, if you have that option activated, is not noticeable at all.