You might be wondering, “Schools are closed. Libraries are closed. Where in the world can I find books for me to read, for my children to read, or for me to read to my children?” The answer is quite simple. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many places are now offering free or amazing deals for those who need new books to read and for those who do not have readily access to books. Please understand that most of these resources require access to the internet. You’ll have to check with your local library or government to see if they are providing hotspots that allow you to stay in your car to use internet.
Platforms that provide books for all age groups:
- Most local libraries (or libraries in your immediate area) offer online platforms to access e-books, audiobooks, and magazines. The most common platforms are: Overdrive, Libby, RBDigital, and Hoopla. Check with your library to see which platforms they use.
– To use these platforms on your devices, you’ll simply need to download the app and login with the library card number that you received from your library. Some libraries may require additional information, such as a PIN or password.
– “What if I don’t have a library card?” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most libraries are offering digital library cards at this time. Simply check your library’s website to see how you can get a library card.
– For each platform, the library has a set number of holds and borrows that you can have. The library may also restrict you on how many days you can borrow an e-book, audiobook, or magazine. The most common number of days are 7, 14, and 21 days. Hoopla always allows you to check out a book for 21 days, but your local library will most likely have a set limit on how many borrows that you can have for a month (our local library is 7 borrows a month).
- Public-domain offers a wide variety of e-books, sometimes even in other languages. The most popular public domain sites are listed below:
– Project Gutenberg
– Open Library
– International Children’s Public Library
– Access is given through your child’s school library. Please note that not all schools will have access, but you should still check with your child’s school librarian to see if you are able to utilize the platform. Audiobook SYNC (listed next) also utilizes Sora without the need for information from your child’s school librarian.
- Audiobook SYNC is a 13-week long program that is sponsored by AudioFile Magazine. Starting on April 30th, you will be to download 2 free audiobooks each Thursday. The program will utilize Sora (Audiobook SYNC will have their own login information; see information listed below).
– When you go to Audiobook SYNC’s website, there is a “Sign Up and Follow Instructions” box. Simply enter your email address and follow the instructions to sign-up on Sora.
- Kindle Unlimited (KU) is offering two free months to new subscribers. Then, you will pay $9.99 each month to access thousands of e-books. KU does limit subscribers to 10 borrows at a time.
- Scribd is offering one free month to new subscribers to access thousands of e-books, audiobooks, and documents. You will then pay $8.99 each month to have access to the books.
- Audible is offering one free month to all new subscribers, where you will receive one credit to download any audiobook of your choosing. Membership will then be a monthly charge of $14.95, which gives you one credit to purchase any audiobook on the platform. You can always buy other audiobooks at a discount, and Audible also does a daily deal in which they reduce the price of a popular audiobook to around $3.95 or $4.95. I (Rachael) tended to use my credits to get their Audible Exclusive audiobooks.
– Audible Escape is a membership that allows you to access any of the audiobooks within the program for $12.95 if you don’t have an Audible subscription, or $6.95 if you do. The program offers many children and young adult books.
– Audible Stories are free audiobooks that you can stream from any device. However, you must be on the Audible Stories website to access the audiobooks. The program offers many children, middle grade, and young adult books.
- Libro.fm is a similar audiobook subscription to Audible. You spend $14.99 each month to choose one audiobook (you can buy more if you wish), but part of the proceeds go towards a local bookstore of your choosing. Currently, all of the proceeds from each audiobook sale are going to the local bookstore of your choosing.
- Little Free Library are libraries that are randomly set up at various locations around cities and counties to offer more book selections to their residents. Click here to find your nearest library.
– Due to COVID-19, you’ll want to disinfect any books that you select from the libraries. On Little Free Library’s website, there is an article that provides the current best practices on using their libraries.
- Simon & Schuster is offering free e-books to their newsletter subscribers (you can sign up on their website). Each week, there is a new selection of e-books to redeem through Glose (an ebook platform).
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. Many other platforms are also providing access to books and/or audiobooks. Our next post will focus on where parents, teachers, and other educators can find children’s literature and middle grade books.
(Danielle and Rachael)