If you love books there are so many options available for reading and listening. So this is where we share some of our favourite book-related links — from how to find cheap or free e-books, to book-related podcasts.
Using the free e-library you can download e-books, e-audiobooks, newspapers and magazines wherever you are. To sign up you’ll need your library card number and PIN number. For information about the e-library click here.
To borrow e-books and e-audiobooks, use the free BorrowBox and Libby services. Find out more here.
Pressreader offers free access to thousands of e-newspapers and e-magazines. Click here.
If you want to join the e-library as a new customer click here.
If you’re a member of the library already but have forgotten your PIN number click here
Free (or very cheap) e-Books
Although it’s just another e-book reader and shop app, the way it’s laid out makes it very user-friendly and much easier to find free books. Once you’ve downloaded the app and signed up for an account, just tap on the menu option ‘Free eBooks’ and you can then browse free books by genre.
It’s an American website but it works in the UK. They’re not a bookshop but they pull together special offers and free books from lots of other e-book and e-audiobook sellers. It’s free to register and set your preferences for the types of books you like to read. They’ll then email you with offers they think you might be interested in. Special offers can start from as little as 99p upwards. But remember, it’s an American site so by default it searches for American booksellers. So when you register make sure you switch to UK ones.
The best place to find old books that may even be out of print. Thousands of volunteers all over the world are scanning in copies of long-forgotten, out-of-copyright books. It’s not easy to find your way around the site but persevere. If you want to read a book on a PC or laptop download it as plain text or read it online (HTML). For smartphones or tablets you want the EPUB version.
We think this is one of the best book websites, and it covers children’s fiction too. Don’t be daunted when you see it has bibliographies for over 500,000 fiction authors because you can browse in so many different ways. And the Author Book Recommendations are a great way to find new writers to read.
Oundle Book Shop
It goes without saying that we love books. And in Oundle we’re lucky enough to have the only independent book shop in Northamptonshire. It’s a treasure trove, with super-friendly and helpful staff who really know their stuff. They have continued to provide a great service to their customers despite the coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions. You can call them on (01832) 273523 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the socially conscious alternative to the giant online booksellers. It launched in the UK in December 2020 and within 3 months had generated £1m for independent bookshops. Bookshops have their own shopfronts on the site and receive the full profit margin on each sale. Titles are offered at a small discount and are delivered within two or three days. If you love your local book shop, ordering through Bookshop.org is a great way to give them your support.
Another UK online bookseller that helps local independent bookshops. When you buy from Hive you can choose an independent bookshop to support (anywhere in the country) and Hive will pay them a small commission on your order.
The Helpful Book Company
This UK company specialises in reference books. Everything from teach-yourself technology books to titles on Life, Health and Money.
- You can subscribe to their free e-newsletter which has helpful tips, tricks and advice for PC, Tablet and Smartphone novices in plain, simple English.
- If you join their Tech Inner Circle you get access to a library of e-books and booklets about tech stuff from Backing up Demystified to How to Control Your Tablet.
For reading suggestions:
A list of 100 of the best children’s books published in 2020, compiled by the Book Trust … and the list is searchable by age. Find the list here.
FOOL Book Reviews
The Oundle Crime book group regularly write book reviews for our website. So if you enjoy mysteries and thrillers and are looking for something to read (or a new author to try) take a look here.
100 Novels that Shaped Our World
A list of 100 genre-busting novels chosen by a panel of writers, curators and critics for BBC Arts. Find the list here.
An obvious choice maybe, but BBC Sounds lets you download podcasts and programmes from all the BBC radio channels. There’s a huge selection of book dramatisations, plays and serials as well as programmes like Book of the Week.
It’s free – you just need to register or sign in.
Otherwise there are loads of book podcasts available out there. Here are a few suggestions.
And especially for children: