read free books with OverDrive and YouTube

i used to read a lot as a kid. my parents would drive me to various public libraries around town, and i'd go home with several babysitters club titles and books i'd judged by their covers. as an adult, i stopped reading as much in favor of doing adult things like browsing reddit and watching celebrity interviews.

building the reading habit

to ease myself back into the wonderful world of reading, last year, i set an unambitious goal of 12 books for the year. a book a month for 12 months seemed like the smart thing to do, mostly because it was a Specific Measurable Achievable Result-focused Timebound (or S.M.A.R.T.) thing to do. i used Goodreads to stick to my goal because i'm a sucker for checking items off of lists and watching progress bars fill up. and it worked. yay.

this year, i challenged myself to consume 48 books via my eyes or my ears. but going to the library is time-consuming and the ones in sf smell REALLY bad, so i threw money at the problem by purchasing physical books/eBooks/audiobooks.

that. shit. adds. up.

after exhausting groupons and free trials and discounts off Audible and AudioBooks.com and Kindle Unlimited, i embodied my frugal college self and went to YouTube to score some free books for my commute/chore/down time.

free audiobooks: the shady method

  1. go to YouTube and search for book title audiobook.
  2. use your favorite YouTube to mp3 converter (or if you've never used one, just google it) to download the audio from the videos.
  3. use your favorite podcast/music app to listen to your book. my favorite is podcast addict because i can crank up the speed to 2-3x (depending on how sloooowwwllyy the narrator narrates).

the shady method isn't the best because, well, it's shady, but you'll also find that the selection is somewhat lacking. it also didn't solve my problem of accessing books i want to read with my eyes. luckily, it wasn't long before i discovered the beauty of OverDrive.

free eBooks + audiobooks: the legit method

  1. get a library card at your local library.
  2. sign up for an OverDrive account and connect your library card account.
  3. download the OverDive app.
  4. check out eBooks and audiobooks galore.
  5. read your eBooks on your Kindle (other formats also available) / listen to your audiobooks using the OverDrive app.

the only downsides are minor ones. because you're checking books out from the library, you can only hoard your books for the usual loan period (in SF it's three weeks). obviously you can return the book and check it out again immediately, but most of the popular titles have a waitlist. as for the app, you're capped at 2x for listening speed, which isn't a big deal unless you're an impatient restless person like me.

i finished six books last month (woohoo!) and am slightly behind on my reading goal for the year, but, hey -- i've already read more than twice the number of books i read last year, so i'd call that a success.

(btw, i'm always looking for book recommendations. send 'em my way!)