I was recently debating the merits of an audible account as a source of audio books instead of buying them through iTunes. I’m one of those commuters that spends 3 to 4 hours a day in the car and despite the joys of the radio and streaming music from Amazon I rely heavily on audiobooks to pass the time. Now these damn things aren’t cheap so I looked about at the alternatives as well. One that came up was the Hertfordshire Online Library which is free, so with a dubious eye I logged on to the web site using a temporary ID and had a snoop about.
Now imagine my surprise at the extensive collection of audio books available and then add another big dollop of aghast at the other free services available… Well, not free exactly, were paying for them in our taxes but you know what I mean. There are thousands of e-books and audiobooks to choose from and they can be downloaded and transferred to a phone for listening to on the go or streamed. Well that solved my audiobooks problem and it cost me absolutely nothing. It also solved an e-book purchasing problem I didn’t know I had, sorry Amazon a bit more lost revenue for you.
Then there’s all the other services:
• Instant same-day access to over 2500 newspapers from 100 countries in 60 languages for free.
• Access 130 glossy magazines online for free, including the latest issues and back issues.
• Naxos free music streaming focussing mainly on classical music, but there is also some jazz, world music and classic rock.
• Then there’s the online reference library with so many services available I won’t even attempt to list them.
And all this for the cost of a brisk walk to the local library to register for a library card. Now that’s something to be thankful for.
But there is a down side. The apps and web site are not the best, it can be somewhat frustrating to get yourself set up, however I can understand this given how challenged for budget they must be. Given there’s no cost for using the service I can happily live with a tiny bit of inconvenience. So get out there and check out your local library online, stop shelling out for services you’re already paying for and enjoy a good book!