So you’ve just spent $500 bucks or more on your new toy, the iPad, and have no money for apps, ebooks, movies, or music. Relax! There are tons of free content, but I’m not talking about YouTube, Hulu, or plain ol’ web content. I’m talking about free ebooks and audio books. Guess what? You’ve already paid for them. Come and get them at your local digital public library.
I have to make a confession. Throughout high school, I probably read a total of 3 books cover to cover. In a world of digital technologies, I felt paperback books were dated and unappealing. The iPad whoever has ignited my curiosity of great books I’ve missed out on. I discovered that the Los Angeles Public Library had free e-content rental through their web site http://www.lapl.org/. You’ll need a library card to check out stuff online. You’re allowed to checkout 10 audio or ePub books up to 21 days. They automatically expire, so there’s never any late fees. The sets backs are: not all books are available; some have limited licenses so there maybe a waiting list; a native app is required; iPad and the Kindle can’t read ePub DRM.
That sounds like a lot of set backs. The iPad, which I use for reading can’t even read the eBooks available for download! It’s a big set back that can hopefully be resolved between Apple and Adobe, who controls the DRM software. Overdrive Media Console is the official app of the LA Public Library that allows you to download and listing to audio books on your computer (Mac/PC), iPad, and iPhone/iPod. I’m saving from $14 bucks a month (a la audible.com subscription) up to $30 and up from audio book purchases through Amazon or iTunes. I’ve already listened to ‘The Long Tail’, ’1984′, ‘The Informers’, ‘The Pixar Story’ to name a few. They have the newest releases like ‘Medium Raw’ by Tony Bourdain and the popular Millennium Series by Stieg Larsson. The ebooks are downloadable to your computer, but I don’t recommend sitting in front of a laptop reading an entire novel.
Content Content Everywhere!
There are free ebooks from the iBook or Kindle bookstores as well. I try to switch between the two mediums. I’ve really become a fan of audio books because you can listen to them in your car while you’re stuck in traffic, or on long plane rides. I’ve been able to finish about 10 books in 6 months, which is 7 more than what I finished in the last 8 years.