We’re very much a hands-on family. We’re constantly playing games, creating things, and making messes. We love making things, but even more so, we love reading. Reading is my favorite thing to do and it’s such an important skill for adults to have.
Providing literature that is quality but that your kids will still read can be a challenge. We’ve always depended on the library and thrift stores for our books but then we moved. And we moved again. And we moved again. And, one more time for good measure. We’re finally settled but ya know what? We’re 45 minutes from the nearest county library and at least that far to the nearest decent thrift store.
As a result we’ve relied on eReaders more and more. I know a lot of people don’t like them but they’ve been a game changer for us. In our family of 8 we have 5 old school Kindles and 3 Kindle Fires. eReaders are a great option for us because we can have a book in our hands in seconds and generally it saves a lot of money over driving to the library or buying the book new. Not to mention, our eReaders (and the free eReader apps on our phones and computers) means we can stream audiobooks and read eBooks all in one place!
Even with the lower prices of eBooks it’s still easy to rake up a huge monthly book bill so we’ve become adept at finding eBooks for free or really cheap. Here are some of the resources we use the most:
Overdrive is an ebook, audiobook, and streaming media borrowing service that is run through your local library. Not all libraries have Overdrive access but over 30,000 do. All you have to do is sign up with your library card, find the media you want to borrow, and request to borrow it or be put on hold for it.
You can read the books in Kindle format, which is my preferred method BUT you don’t need an eReader! You can read the books through the FREE Kindle app, available for all smartphone and computer models! You can also access all of the content via the Overdrive App, available for all major smartphone and computer models.
2. Hoopla Digital
Hoopla is another great, FREE, source for audiobooks and streaming media that’s run through your library. It works the same was as Overdrive but doesn’t have a waiting period if the materials are checked out by someone else. All materials are streamed through the free Hoopla app, available for both iThings, Androids, and tablets associated with both formats.
I love Hoopla because I can play the media on my iPhone and stream it to my AppleTV for watching on the big screen.
Audible is a great resource for anyone who enjoys audiobooks. They offer a subscription service but what we’ve gotten the most use out of is the a la carte buying. For instance, we use History Odyssey level 2 and it uses a lot of literature. Because I don’t especially enjoy reading out loud, but I value the act of being read to, we use audiobooks for the literature selections. Some of these books are out-of-print and very hard to find even in print form, but Audible has almost every single one of them! Audible believes that you’ll love their audiobooks so much that they offer free books when you sign up for a 30 day trial!
Scribd is a fantastic audiobook & eBook subscription service. Unlike with Audible, you cannot buy books a la carte, but for one low monthly price you can stream as many audiobooks, eBooks, and comic books as you can handle. That’s a lot of material for under $9/month!
So there you have it, the top 4 places (in my opinion) to find cheap and free eBooks and audiobooks! Do you have any more suggestions?
Meg Grooms is a decades-long secular homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle, currently calling Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool.