The library is an amazing place! (DUH!) (Does anyone still say duh anymore or is that just us kids who grew up in the ’80s?). Our local Harford County Public Library system is really great. Besides just having physical books, they have all kinds of digital resources. You can download books, audiobooks, movies and music to your Kindle, phone or tablet for free. It’s awesome! If you don’t live in beautiful Harford County, Maryland, I’m sure your local library has many if not all of these resources, too. Check them out!
I’ve had a fairly long commute for many years but it doesn’t bother me because most of it is through peaceful farmland with cows, sheep, horses, goats and two wineries. That’s my time to listen to audiobooks. Since I am not rich and I read a lot, I rely on the library for my audiobooks. In addition to downloads on my phone (more on that later), there are, of course books on tape and books on CDs but I just discovered these awesome Playaway devices last week! I’ve seen them for years. I passed by the display and thought, nah, too big.
They aren’t big at all! They’re about the size of a cell phone! You can plug your headphones in and go. It’s an all-in-one plug-and-play book player, no phone or app needed. No download. No data used. No storage space on your phone. Pretty cool! You can also hook them up to listen in your car with an inexpensive 3.5-millimeter auxiliary cable (also called a “mini-stereo” or “headphone” cable). It looks like a cable with a headphone plug at both ends.
Now for the good stuff, the free digital audiobooks you can download to your phone FOR FREE!!!
I’ve been using several apps for years! You can search the main library card catalog for titles and it will tell you the app that has your title. You can also search within the apps themselves if you like one app. Some definitely have better selection than others.
Here are some of the ones I use most!
Overdrive is my favorite app.
It’s easy to use, easy to search, has a large selection of books. It has apps for Android and iPhone and for tablets. Some books are available to download immediately and sometimes you have to place a hold and wait for someone else to finish first – especially more current best sellers. Most of the time, it’s not a long wait.
You can create a wish list and see all the books on your list or just those available now. It also gives you recommendations based on the books you’ve read and what’s popular with other readers.
You can adjust the playback speed and bookmark locations. You can share on social media and email what you’re reading directly from the app.You can stream it or download, though I always download so I can listen anywhere without using data. It lists all the book’s chapters and chapter titles.
There is a sleep timer feature that you can customize though the two times I’ve used it I’ve fallen asleep before 3 minutes passed so it’s not a feature I use.
You can stream or download your book, though I always download so I can listen anywhere without using data. It lists all the book’s chapters and information about the book, which is a feature many don’t include.
I have a love/hate relationship with Hoopla.
I love it because you can instantly download any of the available books. It has a decent selection. BUT, sometimes it goes a little crazy, not restarting where you stopped or stopping because of some digital flicker and not restarting in the same page. It makes me paranoid. There have been a few books where I bookmarked every few minutes just in case.
You can adjust playback speed, save favorites and get recommendations just like Overdrive. And it has a nice selection of movies and tv shows.
Axis360 has many of the features of the other apps.
I have to admit I haven’t used it as much. I hear they continue to improve it based on user feedback. One difference is you can’t download ebooks to your Kindle, you have to use the Axis Reader app. I’ve listened to a couple of books on it.
OneClick Digital is definitely the least powerful
There have been a few books only available on this app.
Harford County Public Library has many resources for digital ebooks, magazines, movies, and music. There are even tutorials that show you how to use them.
I’m not a children’s book expert but there are great digital resources for kids, too!
Here’s a list of non-library resources for free ebooks.
And here are 15 more websites from Digital Trends, though I haven’t tried them all.
And I subscribe to Audible.com (it’s an Amazon company) because there were older books or books I’ve needed for class or some I really wanted to read that weren’t available in any other place. You can get a free book just for trying Audible. And if you threaten to cancel, you can get a few more months for a lower price. And by then, if you’re like me, you’re hooked and you pay full price.
If you have questions or want to know more, please ask. I have a lot more opinions! Please take the opportunity to enjoy these resources.