Even in the 2010s, many people still equate libraries with books, no matter the format. Whether an eBook or a print book, libraries will be forever linked with books. New players such as Amazon, Apple, and Google have entered this arena in addition to the traditional publishing houses. In this Thing, you will explore apps that allow you to find books in general and give you access to free ebooks and audiobooks. (In Thing 11 we give you information about ebooks available via libraries.) Additionally, you’ll be able to explore apps that will give you access to digital storytimes that might enhance this service at your library.
Blogging for this Thing
Use at least one of these apps and write a blog post about what you think about the app and how you may be able to use it personally or professionally. If you know of another app that would fit under this Thing, tell us about it in your blog, too.
Wattpad is a social media community focused on connecting readers and writers through stories. There are thousands of books available, including a number of “classic” titles from Project Gutenberg. Writers can submit their stories to be shared on the site. Access is completely free and there is the opportunity to connect with other readers. Wattpad will allow you to read from a variety of platforms, including tablets, phones, and of course, a laptop.
Free Books is an app from Classicly that allows you access to over 23,000 books considered “classics” for free. Most of the titles are public domain books and come primarily from before 1923. You can read ebooks from this app. The ebook reader has some nice features, including the option to highlight or add notes.
iStoryBooks is an app that contains 25 free children’s story books, both text & audio. There are books in the following categories: fairy & folk tales, animals, educational, and Ramayana (Hindu stories). According to the company, they publish new books every two weeks and they will appear automatically on the app. The app does provide access to premium content as well.
This app allows you to listen to thousands of audiobooks for free. The free version only allows for streaming of audiobooks; it does not allow you to download audiobooks to listen to offline. The selection of books includes professionally narrated modern best sellers and hand-selected classics edited for maximum quality.
YALSA Teen Book Finder: Apple only
Android app coming in 2014
ALA’s Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has produced an iPhone app (which will work as well on an iPad) to help teens, parents, librarians and library staff, educators, and anyone who loves YA literature access to the past three years’ of YALSA’s awards and lists on their smartphone.