It’s that time of year again. The blackberries are out, the kids are heading back to school and there’s just a little bit more of a chill in the evenings. It’s the perfect time to start digging out things to do indoors, and one of my own personal favourites is curling up with a good book.
These days, it’s as likely to be on a tablet or my Kindle as it is a real paper book, though – especially given how easy it is to find and read new books and magazines that way.
I thought this week, I’d give you a quick run-down of some of my favourite places to find e-books and e-magazines (some are free, but others you have to pay for).
Ebooks and magazines from your library
I’ve told you about these in my emails before, but it’s well worth remembering – especially if you like reading magazines or periodicals. The ebook selection can be a bit limited in these apps, but they really are great for magazines – and completely free!
Most libraries use one of the three main online services for their ebooks and magazines: RBDigital, BorrowBox or Libby. If you pop into your library (or have a look on your council website) they should be able to tell you which service they use. All you need to do is download the relevant app and sign in with your library card number and a password that you can get from your local library.
Borrowing books, audiobooks and magazines through the apps is similar to how you’d do it in person – there are only a limited number of “copies” of books, so if someone else has borrowed a book, you might have to wait for it to be returned. You can borrow a certain number of books/magazines at once, and you have (usually) three weeks to read and then return them. The boys love the Libby app – more Minecraft magazines and “Plants vs Zombies” comics than they can shake a carrot at!
Amazon Prime Reading
This isn’t something that I’d take out Amazon Prime membership for especially, but if you’re already a member, it’s definitely worth a look. Prime members can borrow up to ten books, magazines or comics at once, and keep them for as long as they like. There are only about a thousand titles in the Prime Reading collection, but they’re very varied – so chances are there’ll be something there that takes your fancy. As a Prime member, you also get access to “First Reads” – a choice of one completely free book per month (for you to keep) from a selection of 7 or 8. There isn’t always something there that takes my fancy, but I’ve read a lot of interesting books that way that I wouldn’t necessarily have tried otherwise.
Classics on the Kindle store/Apple Books/Google Play Books
If you’re a fan of classic fiction (I like a bit of Trollope, myself) you can often find out-of-copyright books for free on the main ebook stores. Not all out-of-copyright books will be free, but many are. If you’re struggling to find a free version of the book you’re looking for, you might well find it on Project Gutenberg. Books from this website can be a bit trickier to read on a tablet than the ones from the official book stores, though.
I don’t use one of these, personally – mostly because I don’t tend to buy new books very often. I read free, borrowed or second-hand ones instead. But if you tend to like reading new titles, there are various subscription services you can sign up to that give you unlimited ebooks for a certain amount per month – usually £9.99.
The most famous is Kindle Unlimited, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it to be honest. I had a free trial of it a while ago, and found that most of the books are self-published – you don’t get any of the big publishers or well-known authors. It might be good if you’re looking for something off the beaten track, but it’s certainly not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. If you want to go for something like that, you might be better off with Bookmate or Scribd. They’re the same price as Kindle Unlimited (£9.99/month) but you get access to bestsellers, famous authors and audiobooks as well as ebooks.
Or if you’re only after audiobooks, you might want to have a look at Audible from Amazon. This normally costs £7.99/month (although there’s an offer on at the moment that gives you three months for just 99p).
Happy reading, everyone 🙂