There are few better things you can do for yourself than sink into a good book or a resourceful magazine article. A well-told story helps you inhabit another’s mind and can even provide insights into your life.
By connecting through S&T‘s reliable, high-speed internet, you don’t have to run to the bookstore or wait for a hard copy of a book to be delivered to your home. Instead, the excitement of a new read can appear in seconds on your tablet, smartphone, e-reader, or any other device of your choosing just by downloading it!
Read on to discover the apps, websites, and other platforms that can help you discover and explore more books with ease.
Our first recommendation, Libby, provides free access to thousands of ebooks. Sign up for a Libby account if you have a library card and your local library uses Libby’s system. Once logged in, Libby offers thousands of titles for free! In addition to ebooks, you can also borrow audiobooks and digital magazines.
Libby works as an online e-library, letting you “check out” up to ten titles at a time (or more, depending on your library!), which gives you a wide selection to read from before needing to return them.
You can keep each book for 14 or 21 days (loan times depend on your library’s policy). Libby also offers “tags” to save books you’ll want to check out later. You can also choose a “deliver later” feature if you’re still in the middle of a book and not ready for a read you’ve placed on hold.
However, remember that some newer, bestselling titles frequently have long waiting periods before you can take them out.
But given that it’s free, Libby is still one of the best options for finding and reading ebooks. We find Libby particularly appealing during vacations and for other travel, where you know you need to find that perfect beach read during your summer getaway.
Goodreads is an Amazon-owned website and app that serves as a one-stop reading station, great for researching potential books, keeping track of what you want to read and your reading goals, and checking out what other readers think about specific titles. It’s an excellent place to find your next read and write reviews of books for others, too.
To help organize your reading, Goodreads lets you create “shelves” of books. You can create different categories, from simple shelves of “Read or Unread” books to a system with various genres.
For added accountability, you should also check out Goodreads’ annual reading challenge, which lets you—and your Goodreads friends—track your reading goals and progress throughout the year.
If you enjoy reading various magazines but don’t want to blow your budget, you should check out Readly.
Unlike the other suggestions on this list, Readly was developed specifically for reading digital magazines (instead of ebooks). You get access to thousands of magazines on almost every topic imaginable for a relatively small monthly subscription fee.
Readly works particularly well on tablets, smartphones, and other handheld devices. And with a catalog of over 5,000 magazines, you’ll be hard-pressed to run out of reading material.
You can even read specific articles from different publications instead of scrolling through each magazine for content. For magazine readers, it takes work to beat Readly’s value and diversity of content.
Amazon, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited
While you may be surprised to see the online shopping giant on this list, remember that Amazon originally started as an online bookseller!
And that original mission lives on strongly more than two decades after its launch. Indeed, Amazon is a veritable research haven for books of all kinds.
Its search tools lead you to similar book topics and authors and show you what other like-minded readers are buying. Most books have a sample chapter to read, including the table of contents, giving you a good feel for the book before you purchase it.
And because Amazon has millions of users and thousands of book reviews, it’s a fantastic starting place for finding your next great read.
Amazon’s related e-reader devices and services make reading an even better experience.
The Kindle e-reader is beloved by millions and includes many different features to mimic the appearance of actual pages. Font sizes and page lighting are adjustable, making it easy on the eyes.
In addition, several models include Amazon’s electronic ink display, which makes reading easy in any light, including full sun. You can even highlight specific passages to return to repeatedly.
Amazon’s various memberships and subscriptions (like Prime) include many free monthly ebooks. Be sure to check out Kindle Unlimited, which for a reasonable monthly fee, offers access to tens of thousands of books.
Generally, you can read up to 20 books at a time, so Kindle Unlimited gives you some leeway to dive into different topics and genres.
Another convenient way to “read” more is through audiobooks, a technology that has grown tremendously popular in recent years. Audiobooks let you “read” on the go, whether driving, walking, exercising, or multitasking. And Audible is one of the best audiobook providers available.
Audible, owned by Amazon, is available as an app on your smartphone or tablet, making it easy to listen to on the go. It’s also loaded with other features readers can enjoy, such as adjusting the narration speed to help you get through books faster. You can also slow them down and rewind them to capture key points better.
Audible also creates exclusive content, from books and short stories read by celebrities to full-cast dramatizations. While audiobooks have a reputation for being expensive, Audible’s tiered memberships have significantly reduced their costs.
So depending on how quickly you read… er, listen… to your audiobooks, Audible provides options to fit your budget and your listening style.
Our final recommendation, Scribd, is a paid service that opens the door to more than 60 million titles of all kinds. Its library is incredibly vast!
Scribd began as a platform for sharing academic, scholarly, and other technical articles. It remains an excellent resource for students, researchers, and the intellectually curious.
Scribd’s monthly subscription provides unlimited access to its ebooks, e-magazines, and audiobooks library. It also serves as a hub for readers who offer some of the most detailed and honest book reviews and suggestions online.
We hope these six recommended apps, platforms, and websites will help you find your next favorite read—online or off. Happy reading!
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