Disclaimer – I read all the time. I am not joking. All. The. Time. I read to and from workplace on the daily commute (when I am not driving), I used to read in the school bus, I read during nap times, I read while feeding my baby, I was the kid who got scolded for reading past bedtimes and for reading after lights out using candle/ torch/ streetlight/ moonlight, whatever was available (spoiling my eyesight in the process – highly not recommended), I read in the loo, I have even caught myself reading pamphlets and instructions on the back of shampoo bottles to pass time – you get the general idea I think so I’ll stop embarrassing myself further.
My fellow bookworms, this is for you. And for people who are not crazy about reading but don’t mind giving it a go here and there and even for those of you who can’t really get through a book without a sustained effort but would want to give reading an honest chance once again – this is for you.
I am sure you have your favourites with respect to the place where you buy books, what form of books do you like to read (paper books or the digital version), your favourite genres, the authors, your favourite websites where you download books etc., but if you don’t mind trying out something new every once in a while then read on.
Different forms of books.
In not so recent times it was a no brainer. Books are made of paper, written/typed with ink right? Not so today. Welcome to the digital world. We now have the electronic books – ebooks for short and the audio books.
Ebooks can boast of the following pros backing them up :
- As with everything digital it is readily available anytime, anywhere.
- It is probably free or at least much cheaper than the physical hard bound version.
- It takes up minimal space and not physical space at that. You’ll be surprised at how many books you can store in your phone (Don’t ask me. I have not reached the limit yet).
- If you are reading on a decent e-reader then it most likely has a built-in dictionary and thesaurus to help you out with new words without breaking the flow of your reading.
- You can highlight texts for later reference without spoiling the actual book (which in my opinion is a crime and should be punishable by law).
The only thing that I don’t like about the digital version is missing the feel of an actual book, the smell of paper, the sound of rustling while turning a page (though some readers might offer the sound as a feature). So if you are not a sentimental fool like me then ebooks might be your thing. And if you haven’t tried it yet, give it a chance.
Types of readers.
No I do not mean people and THAT variety of readers. I mean types of ebook readers.
The most popular ones are – Amazon – Kindle, Kobo and Barnes and Noble – Nook. These have a physical device as well as mobile apps for reading on phones and tablets and have their own stores with an endless collection of books – both free and paid. I have been happily using Kindle for many years now.
Apart from the e-book readers there are hundreds of websites offering free downloads as well as online reading directly from your internet browser no need to buy any device or download any app.
A few of the most famous ones (that I have come across) are :
More about Wattpad
I came across wattpad while I was searching for fan fiction (Yes, I read that too. Challenging stare!). This platform allows users to read (obviously) and write and put your work out there as you write. There are many works in progress that you can read and provide feedback to. Works in reverse if you are a writer as well. You can write and get feedback from readers. There is a wide variety of genres if you are interested to check it out.
I have heard blurb is another site that works that way but I have not yet tried it out. From whatever little I know about it, I believe it is a self publishing site where you sell physical copies of the book but like I said I have not really used it yet.
Radish is also similar but it is paid. Wattpad is free and thus has a much larger audience. There have been issues with plagiarism though and many writers don’t want to put up their original work online for free. It is still a great platform and amazing for fan-fic nonetheless.
Audiobooks are the latest addition to the form of books. On second thought not exactly, they could well be the first; if you consider the stories and poems traditionally passed on verbally from generation to generation before writing even existed. In that context they are making a comeback. Anyway, the audio book is simply a book in an audio file. It can be played on your phone through an app/website.
Ebooks. On most of the sites mentioned above there are plenty of books available for free download however there are quite a few paid ones as well.
Audiobooks. I have been using Audible ( from Amazon) since a long time. Recently Audible India has been launched (audible.in) which has helped lower the subscription rates immensely. They offer a month’s trial free and then if you want to continue then the monthly subscription is around Rs 200/-. Audible offers one credit point each month which can be redeemed for one book irrespective of price. Google play also has audio books priced differently and Storytel is another platform with a monthly subscription of Rs 299/- but I have not yet tried these yet.
Paper Books. Apart from the digital ones, you can buy physical books online too – I like to buy from Amazon mostly since the price is generally the cheapest or you can try Flipkart, ebay or any of your favourite shopping sites that provide books.
Subscription Book boxes. Subscription boxes are something that I have recently come across. Multiple boxes are available online but the two that I have personally tried are from Books n Beyond and The Big Book Box. They curate a monthly box for the readers based on a theme that is generally pre-announced and booked in advance. these boxes have a couple of selected and sought after books along with some cool merchandise. I had ordered the Harry Potter fandom box which was released co-inciding with the release of the movie ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’. My anniversary box from TBB Box hasn’t arrived yet. I will edit the post and put up pictures later.
Used Books. In addition, there are plenty of sites providing second-hand/ used books that are still in decent shape at a discounted price (yay…). My favourite is Bookchor. They send you sweet little handwritten notes along with each consignment and free bookmarks. I also like the packaging. The books are individually wrapped in plastic and are shipped properly packed with no chance of damage unless grossly mishandled.
BookChor also organises massive sales all over the country regularly. It is called the “Lock the Box’ sale where they offer you three box sizes for varying costs and you can take as many books that can fir into the box. The only condition is that the box should close flat. It collection is primarily fiction.
These are some of my tried and tested sources apart from the convenetional sources such as the library (the first place to visit in my opinion) and bookstores (offering both new and old books).
If you wish to take up reading or want your child to develop the hobby, I hope I have covered the basics. If you still have any questions or if you have some other favourites that are not included here do post it in comments below. Till then, Keep Reading.
Note – I live in India so if you are reading from some other part of the world, there might be some other sites that are more popular than the ones mentioned above. Keep looking for the one that suits you the best.