There’s been even more hype in recent months with all the superhero films and TV shows that have come out recently. Marvel in particular has had some huge movies come out, bringing even more interest in their character. With the release of the newest Avengers film, Infinity War, many have wondered about the original storyline from the comics that the film was based on. Even if you’re not a fan of Marvel or DC, there are tons of other comics out there, too.
If you’re wanting to catch up on some older comics or start keeping up with new ones, there are some easy ways to do so online. Most of these options cost money, while others can be free (or at least offer a free trial). Happy reading!
This service from Marvel lets you read digital versions of their tens of thousands of comics. You can read as many comics as you’d like while you’re subscribed. You can read on their website or on their Marvel Unlimited app. You can also get some special features if you get an annual subscription or the annual plus subscription (like discounts on purchases and cool free items). With the app, you can download comics to read offline, so you don’t have to worry about having a consistent internet connection. The monthly service is $9.99 a month, while the annual subscriptions are $69 and $99.
This service lets you read digital versions of Dark Horse comics (like Hellboy and The Legend of Korra). They do have some free comics available to read, including comics from Free Comic Book Day. Other comics are available for individual purchase and can range in cost (many are only $1.99).
Comixology offers digital comics and is a part of Amazon. The app has a lot of great features, including their “guided view” that lets you tap on the screen to move from panel to panel. You can buy individual comics, buy a whole series, and even subscribe to a series. There are tens of thousands of comics available, including popular titles like Justice League, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Star Wars, and Old Man Logan. There are even some free comics available to browse.
If you’re interested in old comics, you’ll like the Digital Comic Museum. This website compiles old comics that are now in the public domain. They’re all free to read, and though you won’t find some of the more popular and modern titles, you can find some fun reads. You can find some old Daredevil comics, as well as Sherlock Holmes and Billy the Kid.
Of course, you can also find DC comics in digital form. The DC Digital Comics website and app lets you purchase individual comics. Many range from $1.99 to $3.99. There are even some free comics available, some of which are from Free Comic Book Day. You can find pretty much all the DC titles you’d expect here!
Your local library
Looking for free comics? If you have a library account, you can probably read some digital comics for free. Many libraries now use services like Hoopla and OverDrive. And yes, there are some comics available to borrow. You can find a wide variety of Marvel and DC titles, as well as many others. So if you’re looking for an easy, free way to casually catch up on comics, check out your local library’s website to see if they use these digital services.
Have plans to travel? If you’re like a lot of other people, you might be headed on vacation this summer. Or you could have business trips planned. Whatever the case may be, traveling can be fun. But it can also have its own stresses and issues. Whether you’re driving a car or heading to an airport, it can sometimes seem tricky making it to a destination.
Thankfully, there’s some great technology available to make trips a little easier. You might need something to keep kids distracted during family trips, something to help you find your destination more smoothly, or something to give you peace of mind while your home is empty. All of these worries and more can be taken care of with some devices you’ve already heard of (and perhaps some you haven’t).
Tech For Traveling
Don’t lose your stuff
Want to keep track of your luggage or other important items? Tile is one way to do that. Luggage can sometimes get lost. And while you’re away from home, being in unfamiliar places can make it easier to lose things like your keys or your wallet.
With Tile, you can easily track important items, whether it be a suitcase or your rental car keys. All you have to do is attach Tile to whatever you want to keep track of, then use Tile’s app if you need to locate the item. There’s the Tile Slim, which is a thin version of the device that isn’t too bulky in a wallet. There’s the Tile Mate, which has a small hole in the corner so you can attach it to anything, like purses, backpacks, keys, and more. These two are most likely to be helpful during your travels. There’s even an accessory for the Tile Slim that is specifically made for traveling: the Tile Slim Luggage Tag.
There’s also the Tile Sport, which could come in handy if you’re going on a trip that might get a little rough (like if you’re camping, hiking, biking, or doing things outdoors). And there’s the Tile Style, which adds some extra flair to the device for a more fun appearance.
Prices vary for each Tile device, and there are also combo packs. You can buy 4-packs or 8-packs to pay a little less for each device, or you can mix it up and buy the different devices separately.
Keep your passengers entertained
If you’re traveling with impatient kids or adults who aren’t fans of road trips, keeping them distracted can be a great way to eliminate some stress. The answer is simple: bring a tablet. Using phones can be a drain on the battery and run the risk of not having enough battery life if your car breaks down. And using a tablet can seem like a special treat if your kids don’t already use them regularly (if they do, I’m sure you already know how entertaining they can be).
Even if you don’t already have one, buying one for your trip doesn’t have to be expensive. There are pricey options out there, but it can be as easy as buying a Kindle Fire for just $49.99 (and sometimes for less during a promotion). You can easily set up a kid-friendly account and choose which apps they can use. This should make it easier to pass the time.
A tablet can also be a useful way to save space. If you like to read during your relaxing vacations, you don’t have to pack any bulky books—you can just read them on your tablet.
Find your destination with no problem
We all know about apps like Google Maps and Waze. You likely use Google Maps to find your way on a regular basis. But for some, this isn’t the most convenient way to travel. If you’re traveling alone, or if you are particularly uncomfortable driving on busy interstates, through tricky areas, or at night, having a GPS system in your car might work a lot better than having to look at your phone while on the road.
Navdy is one way you can integrate navigation into your vehicle. Information is projected onto your windshield with a transparent display, so you don’t have to look down at a phone. It also dims or brightens appropriately. It uses Google Maps, so that will be familiar to you, and you can also set up a dashboard that shows things like how much gas you have left.
If you can’t quite afford a system like that at the moment, you can also consider Garmin. Garmin offers many different GPS systems, some for less than a hundred dollars. Their website lists their many different products, and you can also find them on Amazon.
Track down your car
You might be worried you’ll forget where you parked at the airport. Or you might be parking on unfamiliar streets in a city away from home. You can take a picture of your surroundings, but that isn’t always enough to find your way back where you started.
Fortunately, there are many apps that you can use to track down your car when you’re ready to leave. The simplest solution? Drop a pin on Google Maps and save your location. By placing a pin at your current location before leaving your car and then saving it to your places, you can easily make your way back.
There are other options if you don’t use Google Maps or want a more streamlined way to get back to your vehicle. Find My Car is a well-known app that saves the GPS location of your car and navigates you back to it later. You can find it on iOS and on Android. There’s also ParkMe, which can not only help you find your car, it can also help you figure out where to park in the first place.
Keep your home safe while you’re gone
If you’ll be away from home for a while and there won’t be anyone staying behind to house sit, there are ways to make yourself feel less worried about your empty home. With smart devices, you can keep watch on your home and make it look as though it’s not actually empty.
Smart security systems are also great for peace of mind. There are a lot of options out there, so of course, research carefully before investing in a system. With these systems, you can typically set motion alerts so you get a notification if the camera catches movement. You can also usually check in on a live feed. Nest offers some popular devices, as well as Frontpoint and Canary. Just make sure you know what the initial installation cost is as well as how much it will cost every month.
Bookworms rejoice! Barnes and Noble, the popular bookseller, has released a new app for finding new book recommendations and connecting with other readers.
Barnes and Noble’s new app is called Browsery, and it’s intended to help readers discover books to read in a more personal way than some other apps. The bookseller is calling the app “[t]he first app that talks about books the way you do.”
Instead of adding books to a shelf and having other titles automatically suggested to you based on algorithms, users of the Browsery app will join a community of readers. When you use the app, you can ask specific questions looking for recommendations. Then the other people using the app can offer book recommendations. Once a recommendation has been posted, others can say whether they agree with the recommendation, making it easier to verify that a book really does fit the criteria. You can also, of course, offer recommendations to other users yourself. You can talk about the recommendations and even follow them. And as you use the app, you create a list of books you’ve read, helping you keep track of what you’ve found through the app so far.
This is a fairly different concept when compared to other bookshelf-building apps. Other apps typically let you do more to build a shelf of all the books you’ve owned and read (which Browsery doesn’t particularly focus on), but they also aren’t usually built around getting personalized suggestions. They often just suggest books based on what you’ve already read.
Barnes and Noble actually lists some examples of questions people might ask when looking for recommendations. Recommendation requests can center on pretty much anything you’d like. You might ask for a favorite children’s book on a particular topic, a book everyone should read before they die, a book that foreshadowed modern times, or anything else that piques your interest.
Browsery is now available on Android and iOS. Head over to the Barnes and Noble website to find out more.
E-books are a hugely popular format to enjoy reading materials. Thanks to this format, we can use the internet to access books more often and more conveniently. But some people, of course, have avoided the electronic format and stuck with physical copies of their favorite books.
If you’re among the people who have stayed away from e-books, this article will help get you started. You may not yet be aware of all the options you have. Even if you love physical copies of books, there are a lot of positives that come with adding e-books to your personal library.
What are the pros and cons for using e-books?
Before you start looking into which device you want to use and which apps you should get, or before you say you’re just not interested in e-books, here are a few things to consider.
- You can carry a large number of books with you using only one device
- Some devices can read your e-books to you
- You can read at night without a light source
- You can make reading easier with features like text magnification, page color, or night mode
- E-books are often cheaper than physical copies of new books, and some are even free
- Some people miss the feeling of holding a physical book
- Depending on your device, reading e-books for a long time could cause eyestrain (some devices are designed to avoid this)
- You need access to a charger for your device
- If you lose access to the necessary devices, you can’t read your books
Which devices can you use?
Some people are still under the impression that you have to use a device like a Kindle to read e-books. This simply isn’t the case. E-books can be accessed on most devices, though there are some devices that are designed to make reading easier.
E-readers like the Kindle and the NOOK are designed to display like regular ink on paper. However, you may have no issue using other devices for e-reading, particularly if you take breaks during reading.
Specifically, you can access e-books on tablets, phones, and computers, plus some smart speakers. For instance, if you have a device like the Amazon Echo and you have Kindle books, you can ask your Echo to read your e-books out loud. The experience isn’t exactly as enjoyable as listening to an audiobook, of course, but it works.
What apps are available?
If you have an e-reader, you won’t really need to get any additional apps. But if you’re reading on a typical phone or tablet, you’ll want to download an app that improves the e-reading experience. Here are just a few apps you might want to try:
Aldiko Book Reader (available for Android and iOS): With Aldiko, you can read e-books in EPUB or PDF format. You can customize your screen display, add bookmarks, read your own e-books or purchase new ones, use a dictionary, organize your books, and more.
Amazon Kindle (available for Android and iOS): The Amazon Kindle app allows readers to get an experience similar to using a Kindle device. You can shop for e-books in addition to reading the ones you already own. You can also use features like a dictionary, customized display (like font size and page color), highlighting, and of course, bookmarking.
Bookari Free Ebook Reader (available for Android and iOS): This e-reader can read EPUB2 and PDF files. It lets you sync your content across devices, which means you can do things like bookmark a spot using your phone, then see that bookmark on your tablet. You can do things like purchase books, highlight text, and organize books.
Google Play Books (available for Android and iOS): Google’s e-reader has a lot of the typical features and also works well with other Google services. You can do things like buy new books, customize your display, get personalized recommendations, highlight text, and sync some of your information (like highlights and notes) to Google Drive.
Marvin 3 (available for iOS): Marvin 3 is the most recent version of the popular Marvin e-reader app. It’s not only for typical e-books—it also specializes in comic books. It can read EPUB files, as well as CBX and CBR. You can do things like customize your display, highlight, use a reading journal, use a text-to-speech feature, search your books, set a reading timer, and much more.
Moon+ Reader (available for Android): Moon+ Reader is an e-reader with especially pleasing visuals. You can read many different formats with it, including EPUB, PDF, and MOBI. You can also do things like customize your display, use themes, use bookmarks, highlight text, and more.
NOOK (available for Android and iOS): NOOK, from Barnes & Noble, lets you read e-books without actually purchasing a NOOK device. You can buy new books through B&N, customize your display, take notes, highlight text, create additional profiles for family members (including Child Profiles), and more.
Universal Book Reader (available for Android): This e-reader supports many different file formats, including EPUB, PDF, and MOBI. You can customize the display in many ways—this e-reader has a strong focus on visuals. You can bookmark and highlight, and you can also do things like organize your books on your bookshelf, search your books, and more.
Where you can buy e-books?
You can purchase e-books through some of the apps listed above. However, you do have other options if you don’t want to buy through an app. Check out the following apps and websites if you’re looking to buy individual e-books:
- Barnes & Noble or the NOOK app: You can purchase e-books from B&N’s website, or you can buy them directly through the NOOK app if you’re using it.
- BookBub: This website (or app) has many titles available at low prices. E-books are recommended to you, and you can also look through deals or different categories.
- Google Play Books: This app, which is in the list of apps above, has an extensive e-bookstore available.
- Kindle Store or the Amazon Kindle app: You can buy e-books through the Kindle Store from anywhere and have them sent to your Kindle device.
- Kobo or the Kobo app: Kobo has a large collection of e-books for sale in their store. When you sign up, you can even get $5 off your first e-book.
If you’d instead like to try an e-book subscription, you have options. Here are just a couple:
- Amazon Kindle Unlimited: Kindle Unlimited is a service that’s $9.99/mo. and lets readers access as many eligible e-books as they want each month. Many titles on Amazon are part of their Kindle Unlimited service.
- Scribd (on the web, for Android, or for iOS): With Scribd, you pay $8.99/mo. to read unlimited e-books. You can even read magazines and listen to audiobooks. Scribd has a large library of books that includes new and bestselling titles.
There are other websites out there that offer e-book subscriptions, but be careful—some of them may not be reliable or legitimate. Research an e-book subscription service carefully before deciding to use it!
What’s available for free?
You might have noticed that I mentioned some e-books being free. There are actually quite a few legitimate, legal sources for free e-books. You won’t typically be able to own a hugely popular new e-book for free, but you can own other titles, including classics, at no cost to you. You can also borrow e-books for free. Check out some of the following websites for free books:
- Barnes & Noble: B&N’s website also has a free e-books section. You can find books by subject or look at top picks.
- BookBub: As mentioned above, you can purchase cheap books from BookBub. However, there are many free titles, as well.
- Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: If you already have a Prime membership, you can borrow some e-books for free. There are many popular books available among the hundreds of thousands of titles you can borrow.
- Kindle Store: The Kindle Store includes a section with free e-books sorted into different categories. There are classics, romance novels, sci-fi and fantasy e-books, and more.
- Local libraries: Your library might just have free e-books available! Many libraries are part of services like Hoopla and OverDrive, which means if you have a library card, you can likely “borrow” e-books for free. Visit your library’s website to see if this option is available.
- Open Library: This website is part of Internet Archive. You can find any book through their search. Not every book is available for free or even in the e-book format, but when you search, you can select the “Ebooks” option and find many e-books available to read.
- Project Gutenberg: This is perhaps the most well-known website for free e-books. There are tens of thousands of free e-books on the site, including many classics.
You can also often find free books in certain e-reader apps. For instance, Aldiko allows you to purchase books through its app, and it has a “public domain” category with many free books. Of course, some of these apps are offering books that you can also easily find through a website listed above.
Prime seems expensive: the upfront annual cost went up to $99 since I signed up years ago. But if it was worth it to me then, it is a steal of a deal now, if you consider all the newly added benefits you get access to.
Get Prime by the month: Don’t have $99 lying around, or don’t think you need an entire year of Prime? Sign up by the month and pay $10.99. And you get a deal if you qualify for low-income benefits: it’s only $5.99 per month for customers with an EBT card. Sign up for Prime around Thanksgiving and cash in on all the online Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals, with free shipping to boot, and then drop it when you’re done.
Prime Student: Use your school email (ending in .edu) to score four $49-years of Prime. Act soon and you can get 6 months free.
Amazon Household: A Prime account is for your whole household, not just one person. Two adults living in the same house, and with separate Amazon accounts, can link their accounts to share the benefits of a single Prime account. You can share payment methods, and even add profiles for up to four children so your kids can take advantage of all the free reading and streaming of videos and music without being able to order anything. (You cannot use Amazon Household if you have a Prime Student discount).
Prime Wardrobe: Try before you buy. Choose 3 or more items of clothing, and have them shipped to you to try on. Send back what you don’t want in a prepaid box, and only pay for what you keep. Keeping more items earns you discounts, too: up to 20%. Currently, Prime Wardrobe is in beta, but you can ask to be notified when it launches.
Prime Video: Originals like Transparent and Catastrophe are available. They also have Downton Abbey, The Wire, and you can pay a little extra for channels like Showtime and HBO.
Unlimited cloud storage for pictures: Store as many precious memories in the secure Cloud Drive as you want, and stop worrying about losing them.
Prime Music: Choose songs, albums, or a station. More than 2 million available songs and you can also upload your current collection and listen on any device with the app. There is also a paid subscription that gives you access to tens of millions of songs for $7.99 a month; however, the family plan is $14.99 per month and allows up to six family members to use it. That’s $2.50 per person! Quick, I need five people! Anybody?
Food: Have some grocery staples shipped to your door: Prime Pantry boxes ship for $5.99, and you can save 15% with Subscribe and Save. Weekly deals and coupons also make grocery shopping online attractive.
Prime Rewards Visa: For serious Amazon shoppers, the 5% back (in credit, not cash) may be a draw. Add a $70 gift card for signing up.
Free two-day shipping: Of course, this perk is awesome, but it can only be used for certain items. If you shop Amazon for everything, this perk may be worth the fee on its own: leading up to Christmas, the free shipping alone more than pays for my account. However, sometimes you can opt in for slower shipping and get credits for books, music, and more.
Prime Reading: There is a large rotating collection of books, magazines, comics and more available free with your Prime account, and some even have Audible narration, if you would rather listen.
Video games for Prime: Twitch Prime includes a Twitch subscription and free content. Prime discounts on video games could save you some real money, and some pre-orders are delivered ON THE RELEASE DATE. That means you can skip the line and still get that new game the second it is released.
It’s hard to resist all those perks for about $8.25 per month if you pay by the year. Amazon Prime members are much more likely to only shop at Amazon (I can see why), but beware: sometimes they have the best deal, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they really don’t, and getting free shipping may not make up the price difference, especially considering that other online retailers like Walmart and Jet are making a major effort to compete by offering their own free shipping. So remember to shop around.