Social distancing guide: Turn page after page, for free
Sites around the world have opened up new and back catalogues, launched special read-at-home deals, and a handful have simply always had free books.Updated: Apr 04, 2020 09:18 IST
You’ve probably figured out a few things by now. Cooking isn’t always fun. Most crime dramas look the same. And you can only listen to so many yesteryear songs. So back to books it is, and right now a lot of them are free. Sites around the world have opened up new and back catalogues, launched special read-at-home deals, and a handful have simply always had free books.
National Book Trust (nbt india.gov.in): The publisher’s #StayHomeIndiaWithBooks campaign hosts books for children and adults, in English and regional languages, for free. Pick from memoirs, books about martyrs in the freedom struggle, plant life, and how glass has transformed history and cultures.
National Emergency Lib-rary (archive.org/details/nat ionalemergencylibrary): A week ago, archive.org, the largest free repository of online books, launched a service called the National Emergency Library, to address the closing of American public libraries amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Their collection of 1.4 million digitised books is available globally until June 30. There are 19th-century journals, scans of old romance novels, some fiction and older editions of non-fiction. Search for a particular title or sift through their tags. The selection is truly eclectic.
Manybooks (manybooks.net): Genre-based browsing (fiction, sci-fi, young adult, thrillers) means you can find what you like easily, plus the site’s free books cover more than the classics. There’s a changing selection of new books and deals every day, in addition to the free selection.
Sharjah Public Library (spl.gov.ae): Until the end of June, the Sharjah Public Library is offering readers worldwide free access to its Digital Library, which houses more than 6 million e-books in over 10 languages.
Open Culture (opencultu re.com): The repository of open-source material lists links that direct you to sites offering free classics. Listing is alphabetical, so don’t be put off if you see the works of Aeschylus at the top. There’s also Kafka, CS Lewis, George Orwell. The site also lists links to free archives, online courses, lectures and old films.
Scribd (scribd.com): The American e-book and audiobook subscription service offers a free trial that includes access to a portion of its 1 million titles. This is where to binge-read Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Stephen King and other popular writers.
Juggernaut (juggernaut. in): Download the Indian e-book publisher’s app to access a selection of free books and short stories. On offer: works in English and Hindi by new authors, plus some of the publisher’s own titles (from Dean Koonz and DH Lawrence to romance and erotica).
Audible Suno (audible.in/ep/suno): Audible’s India brand for spoken-word material, Suno. has free audio streaming of shows on yoga, mental health, etc. Among the more popular offerings is Kaali Awaazein, a 10-episode fictional psychological thriller starring Amitabh Bachchan and inspired by ghost stories and strange phenomena across the country. The app is currently available only on Android.
Project Gutenberg (gutenberg.org): As with Archive.org, the online library’s 60,000 titles means that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Search through the Popular or Latest releases to make matters easier.