5 free ways to read online and on your phone

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I love the freedom of being able to read on my phone. Conceptually, the idea of having a book in hand is quite wonderful, and maybe when my life slows down and books aren’t vulnerable to my children’s cute, sticky fingers, I shall read, book-in-hand, again. But meanwhile, I need a book to be handy on my phone and available at a moment’s notice for my short 5 minute openings, when my rarely quiet home is eerily and fleetingly silent!

Well, I quickly discovered that too much reading online or in your phone gets expensive! Being a member of your local library is a huge component of gaining access to many of the free apps I’ll mention below. As a member of the library with an active library card number, I can read up to 6, 8 or more books monthly through each of these app platforms. The reservation process works much like a library, and you don’t *always* get instant access to the novel of your choice, but so much is instantly available so before you know it, your waitlisted ebook or audiobook is ready!

I’ll also mention a site below that doesn’t require library access but if you have it or can get it, there’s absolutely no reason not to. You can also stream movies and television with your library membership(!) but more on that another day.

1) Hoopla Digital: this app (and website) gives access to ebooks, audiobooks and many more. I am able to log in with my library card number and have 8 titles to rent monthly, I’ve rented many an audiobook for long drives and love having books downloaded and handy for myself. I mainly use this on my phone but if you happen to be on your computer and want to read, everything is also flexibly available to you on their site, and saves your spot.

2) Overdrive: Overdrive allows 10 titles at a time so if you read quickly, you’ve got more available to you (woop!). I find that Overdrive makes it really simple to suggest a rental if they don’t already have it. Once they get it in (all of my requests have been answered!), they email you and put you on the hold list.

3) Libby: this app/site is an extension of Overdrive and has a really adorable, intuitive interface. They allow 10 titles rented at a time. Libby is not only design savvy but also user-friendly with cute, clever navigation.

4) Project Gutenberg: this site is a huge online library with so many free books! I can easily find most classic works and literary greats. I come here mainly for those heavy-hitters that I want to re-read and have purged from my physical library.. or more likely, lost 😉

5) RBDigital: this app/site is another associated with the library and carries magazines, ebooks and language programs, which I think is a nice, secret weapon to keep handy.

Happy (free) reading!

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