Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Guest Post: 8 Online Resources for Book Lovers

8 Online Resources for Book Lovers

I’d like to thank Jess Buike for sharing this article with her readers. She offers quick and easy to digest reviews mainly within the fantasy, sci-fi and paranormal genres. Check out her top book lists for a compilation of books to read now.

Thanks to the Internet, there are thousands of places book lovers can share, discuss, find and read books online. If you’re a bibliophile, you’ve probably already heard of LibraryThing and GoodReads, but below are a few lesser-known sites you might not have heard of.

This free online service allows you to trade books you no longer want for new ones. Users can receive two books for every one they give away. This is a perfect way to keep your library replenished without increasing its size. Unlike a library, you don’t have to return the books you receive. You can choose to keep it or trade it for another one if you decide not to add it to your collection. BookMooch works on a point system. You receive a tenth-of-a-point for every book you type in and one point for each book you give away. You then trade in your points for books. You can also donate your points to charities such as children’s hospitals, Library fund and African literacy.

Similar to Amazon Unlimited, Oyster offers a subscription-based model. For $9.95 a month you can get access to more than 1 million books, including new releases and textbooks. You can try out the service free for 14 days. If you’re not interested in a monthly subscription, you can buy the books individually off the Oyster app on iOS, Android, Kindle, Nook or your desktop. The company’s partners include Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House and Scholastic.

Reading is an expensive habit, especially if you buy your books at full price. Luzme, a price comparison site, allows you to find the best deals on eBooks and eTextbooks. Membership is free and you don’t even need to register to start using the site. However, registration does come with some perks. You can add books to your wishlist and Luzme will email you when the prices drop. In addition, you can add your favorite authors and the service will email you when their new book becomes available.

Available online and as an app, Wattpad is the largest community for readers and writers. With over 40 million members, the site boasts 100 million stories available for free. You can follow your favorite authors and receive notifications when they share a new piece of writing. As a social site, Wattpad also offers messaging so that you can interact with writers or other users. It’s a great place to discover new talent and share your own.

Rare Book Room
This site has photographs and scans of some of the rarest books from libraries around the world. Constructed as an educational site, it took a company called Octavo over a decade to digitally photograph these books. To date, Octavo has digitized around 400 books covering a wide variety of topics and rarity. Some highlights include Shakespeare Quartos from the British Library, Galileo’s Starry Messenger and sections of Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac.

The site has an ambitious dream – to be the library to the world, in which anyone who has an Internet connection can access books, education materials, information, reference materials, documents and content free of charge. So far, the site has 21,331 eBooks, 38,945 external links, 4,197 news and blog links, 384 videos, and access to hundreds of online libraries. It’s available to use on your desktop or on your iOS or Android device.

Sometimes you don’t have time to sit down and read a book, but that doesn’t mean you can’t listen to one. LibriVox offers public domain audiobooks free of charge. All you need is a computer or mobile device. Volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain which the site then releases as audio files. The audio itself is in the public domain so you can also use it for whatever purpose you want. If you think you have a good speaking voice, you can also volunteer your talents as a reader. You just need a computer, microphone and free recording software.

A Virtual Private Network
Whether you want to stay secure when downloading eBooks from sites or you simply want to maneuver around geo-restrictions, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a book lover’s best friend. Through VPN services, you can encrypt your IP address to ensure your personal information is safe, secure and anonymous when surfing on public WiFi. Since you can connect to a local IP through these services, you can also download books only accessible in your home country while you travel. You should check out this review by Secure Thoughts to learn more or find the one that suits your needs.

Many of these resources offer over thousands of books for you to rent, trade or download, which should hopefully keep you busy for the summer. Others offer information and protection while you read. Do you know of other sites for book lovers? Tell us in the comments below.

About the Author: Isa is a freelance writer who believes technology can greatly increase worldwide literacy. She loves finding sites and communities that encourage people to read more.