I am a die hard fan of all things literature. I started reading at a very young age, and would read literally anything I could get my hands on. From Judy Blume to encyclopedias (yes, I am dating myself) to foreign newspapers. If it had words, I would read it. I have always enjoyed reading for pleasure. Being able to immerse myself into someone else’s story is almost freeing. Over the years, technology has made reading easier. The evolution from “books on tape”, to “books on CD”, to any number of online reading applications, you no longer have to carry a book with you. Which, in my opinion, is also freeing. Today, I want to share with you some of my favourite ways to consume literature. Many of the ways I consume literature are available through my local library and are free!
I started using OverDrive several years ago. First as an app on my iPad where I would physically read books, and then I put the app on my iPhone so I could listen to audiobooks in the car. OverDrive only works through your local library, but with over 30,000 libraries participating in more than 40 countries, I would bet that your local library is one one of them. Through OverDrive you can access a large collection of ebooks, audiobooks and even TV shows and movies. All of which can be accessed through almost any device. This particular app is a bit dated in my opinion, but still remains a constant for me. They have made some improvements including:
- The ability to change font sizes, margins and even colour contrast. The app also provides a reading option for people with Dyslexia. The “Open Dyslexic” font changes the weight of the letters, allowing someone with Dyslexia to be able to read fonts easier. Below is an example of what that font looks like.
- Variable playback speeds
- Sync bookmarks across devices. Essentially being able to pick up your reading from anywhere you go. An added feature that I particularly love. And,
- An easy to use interface.
While OverDrive remains my go to for literature consumption, I have also recently discovered Hoopla. Hoopla allows you to stream audiobooks, music, comics, TV shows and movies through your device. It also offers ebooks. I love Hoopla because it’s an online streaming application. I can choose to download the titles to my device if I want, but I also like the fact that they remain in “the cloud”. Hoopla is great because you can stream music through it’s system and even read comic books! The Hoopla app lets you:
- View tutorials on how to use some of the more advanced features,
- Stream movies on your TV with Chromecast and Apple TV (using Airplay)
- Allow parents to filter out certain content for their children through Kids Mode, and
- Identify the categories and kinds of titles you would like to borrow
The only downside, in my opinion is the number of titles you can borrow per month. This is specific to your library, so my beef is with them and not necessarily the app.
Lastly, I am a big fan of the Zinio magazine app. While not a way to consume literature, necessarily, I still love this app. Zinio offers you access to magazines. You can purchase a subscription, or view for free through your local library. Through Zinio you can read magazines on your iOS , Windows 8 or Android device. You can also access the magazines online, or through the Desktop reader application, which is currently available in beta. Regardless of the way you access the magazines, you will not be disappointed with the selection. If this gem is not offered through your local library, you can purchase a subscription, or pay per magazine purchase. Either way, it is still a great deal.
As I mentioned, I am a die hard literature fan and therefore I stick to consuming audio-books. However, my local library offers many other online services such as Lynda.com, PressReader and InstantFlix (IndieFlix). All of which provide you with vast amounts of information at your finger tips. If you’re looking for classic novels available in audio format, try LibriVox. LibriVox offers free public domain audiobooks, which are read by volunteers around the world. There are so many options to choose from. Check out your local library to find out what they offer before purchasing any type of subscription for yourself.