Different parts of the U.S. are experiencing different levels of shutdown, but one thing is universal: Books make staying at home a much better experience.
But what if your bedside stack of reading material is down to its last book? And now you can’t reach the place you normally get books or spend time with the friend with whom you trade books?
Don’t despair, dear readers. Here are five ways to get books instantly through Amazon or Audible, all of which require only a mobile phone or tablet.
Plus I have one bonus suggestion at the very end that will take quite a bit longer than “instantly” but might change your life….
Prime Reading. Prime Reading offers thousands of e-books and magazines that are free to download for Amazon Prime members. Browse through the books available in Prime Reading, download the Kindle app to your phone or tablet, and then download the books you want to read. The choices are constantly changing, but at the moment a few highlights include Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, K.F. Breene’s Sin & Chocolate, and a cornucopia of Dean Koontz suspense novels. There are e-books for kids who are comfortable reading on phone or tablets, including Rick Riordan's The Lost Hero and the Frozen junior novel.
Kindle Unlimited. Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited offers its members unlimited access to download more than a million books and magazines. Right now Kindle Unlimited is offering a 30-day free trial for its subscription service. There are so many titles available in Kindle Unlimited, how to pick what to read first? You can start with our recent articles on Women’s History Month and World Storytelling Day that feature books in Kindle Unlimited. Or when you Search on Amazon in the Kindle store, make sure you check the option for “Kindle Unlimited Eligible.” (On your web browser, you will find the checkbox on the left side of the screen. On your Amazon app, you will find the checkbox as an option under “Filters.” The Kindle Unlimited Eligible option only shows up when searching titles within the Kindle store, please note.)
There are many, many other ways to find Kindle books you’ll love. If you have a careful eye on your bank account, check out Kindle Daily Deals, which spotlight great reads on sale. And Amazon First Reads offers one Kindle book per month for only $1.99 (or for free if you're an Amazon Prime member) from a selection of eight titles.
Audible. The master in the audiobooks arena (and also an Amazon company), Audible very likely has the audiobook version of whatever book you want to read. And audiobooks can resonate in ways that reading words do not. For instance, I cannot think of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files novels without remembering James Marsters’s growly voice, or of the Harry Potter series without hearing award-winning narrator Jim Dale. While you can purchase audiobooks a la carte, a monthly Audible membership also includes two of their amazing Audible Originals. (I recently painted my bathroom while listening to the Audible Original A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs, and it made the hours fly by.) But wait: There’s more! Audible just launched Audible Stories, a collection of free audiobooks that are aimed at kids from toddlers to teens but also includes classics for readers of all ages. Download the Audible app to get started.
Here’s the not-instantaneous solution I mentioned earlier in this article: Write your own book. Or poem. Or short story. Or graphic novel. Just start writing and see where it takes you. Most authors have first or second or third careers before they start writing, so don't think you need a master's degree in literature or have to go on a writers' retreat to be worthy of putting a pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard). We all have stories inside of us. Take this opportunity to let them out.
This article was originally published in slightly different form on March 23, 2020.
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