The iPad has been toted as the ultimate comic book reader, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a run for its money with your Kindle. Here’s how to optimize and transfer your comic books and manga to your Kindle.
Sure, tablets may have big colorful screens, which are undoubtedly better for most comic books. But the Kindle’s e-ink screen has its place. You can read it at night without straining your eyes, you can read it outdoors in direct sunlight, and its battery is absolutely killer. Its screen may be small, but for manga and other black and white comics, it’s a perfect little device.
Unfortunately, the Kindle can’t read common CBR and CBZ files out of the box. However, there is a handy tool called Kindle Comic Converter on Windows, macOS, and Linux that can convert your comics to a Kindle-friendly format, and optimize them so you get the best reading experience possible. (Note: despite its name, Kindle Comic Converter can also optimize books for Kobo, Nook and other ereaders.)
Step One: Convert Your CBR and CBZ Files for the Kindle
To get started, download Kindle Comic Converter and start it up on your computer. To add a CBR/CBZ file (or group of files), click the “Add File” button.
Choose your file from the list. You can hold Ctrl or Shift to select multiple files.
You should see a list of files ready to be converted in the program’s window.
From there, choose your ereader from the dropdown on the left (I’m using a Kindle Paperwhite 3), and it should pre-select your options for you. You can adjust certain things if you need to (like “Manga Mode”, if the comic in question is read right-to-left). Just mouse over any of the other options to see what they do.
When you’re ready, click the Convert button.
The conversion may take a while depending on how many files you have selected. Once it’s finished, you should find your converted files in the same folder as the source files.
Step Two: Copy Your Comics to Your Kindle
If you’ve ever copied a book to your Kindle before, the next step should be familiar. Plug your Kindle into your computer using its USB cable. Open up your computer’s File Explorer and navigate to the newly-mounted Kindle drive.
Just drag your new comic files (which will likely be in MOBI or AZW3 format, unless you’re using another ereader) to your device—on my Kindle, I’ve put them on the “documents” folder. Eject your Kindle, and you should see that they appear in your reading list!
NOTE: You can also use a tool like Calibre to copy your comics to your Kindle, just like you would any other books. It’s a great tool if you have a lot of local books to organize!
Here’s what you can expect comics to look like on your device. We selected Scott Pilgrim because the extremely simple and high-contrast line art used in the series is a good indicator of what Manga-style artwork, in general, will look like:
Looks fantastic, right? It’s easy to read, the line art and dialog bubbles are crisp. And the newer the Kindle you have, the better it will look.
For comparison, here’s a page from Escape from Wonderland:
Given the detail and color saturation of the original artwork, this is a really nice conversion, although you miss out on a lot of what makes the book great. This would definitely be a book to read on a tablet, but it’s nice to know it’s still workable on a Kindle.