As a result of the Download Library’s recent platform transition from Overdrive to Cloud Library, patrons with iPods (or other dedicated mp3 players) and e-ink Kindles (Paperwhite, Oasis, etc.) have run into a brick wall of device incompatibility. The object of this post is not to argue the merits of the transition, but rather, it is to provide the patrons mentioned above with options for free (or as free as possible) e-books and audiobooks from outside the download library.
Help For People Who Want To Keep Using Overdrive On Their Devices:
The most direct solution to this issue, though not free, is to simply keep using Overdrive but to do so through a different library. This link offers details about several large public libraries in the United States that offer access to Overdrive e-books and audiobooks to nonresidents for a yearly fee. As of the time of this writing, yearly fees were as low as $27 but were generally around $50.
Help For Users of iPods and Other MP3 Players:
The best option for free audiobooks is a site/service called LibriVox. LibriVox offers free audiobooks of public domain works narrated by volunteers. Though there is a LibriVox app for smartphones and tablets, the organization also allows access to their catalog via their website, so users can download audiobooks and load them onto their iPods or other mp3 players as desired. For more information follow this link to LibriVox’s support page.
Though not free, some former iPod users have been able to switch to Cloud Library by purchasing, but not activating a lower-price TracFone. This allowed them to download the Cloud Library app and checkout audiobooks while not signing up for a cellular plan. There are several TracFone options available and anything running Android 4.1 or higher should work, but users have had confirmed successes with the Alcatel Pixi Unite.
Help For Kindle Users:
If you have an e-ink (black and white screen) Kindle and you want free ebooks consider using Marvel! Maine’s Virtual Library. Within Marvel! you can use the EBSCOhost Ebook Collection to search, read, and download hundreds of titles. Though this collection is not as extensive as the Download Library, it is free and available to library patrons in Maine.
In addition to Amazon’s regularly advertised free e-books several sites track and/or offer free e-books for Kindles. This PC Magazine article and this list of 28 sources from The Balance.com are excellent places to find freebies.
A final note for Kindle users: it may help to email Amazon directly to request that they open up access to the ePub file format on the non-Fire Kindle models. Currently, Cloud Library supports several e-ink screen reading devices that are essentially the same as e-ink screen Kindles, the roadblock at the moment is Amazon’s insistence that Kindles display only e-books formatted in the MOBI file type.
If you have any additional suggestions please direct them to Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org so that this resource can be updated as needed.