Even between increased workloads and more of our free time occupied by our digital addictions, we’re still making time to curl up with a good book. Whether you love YA books, celeb dirt or gorgeous cookbooks, there are so many reads just waiting to be discovered. In this week’s edition of our Upgrade Your Life tech series, we’re sharing six apps that will put a digital bookstore at your fingertips and have you turning the “pages” of those must-read summer books faster than ever. And if you’re not already a book lover, we have a feeling you’re about to become one.
1. Expand Your Horizons: If you’re a nonfiction buff who loves to discover the mysteries of the universe, the Inkling app offers you access to as many educational ebooks as there are stars in the sky. Topics range from cooking, travel and photography to anatomy and programming. While printed academic texts can make it difficult to grasp dense subject matter, Inkling’s learning aids, like high-resolution images, highlighting and search and definition features make it easy to master any subject. Inkling even offers offline access, so that once you’ve downloaded an ebook, it can be read anywhere or anytime, even when you’re not in a WiFi-enabled area (gasp!).
2. Digitize Your Bookshelf: If the bestsellers on your bookshelf are now collecting dust, taking a sad selfie with them won’t make them any more valuable, but you can repurpose them by digitizing them with the Shelfie app. To use Shelfie, all you have to do is use your phone to take a picture of your physical books. Shelfie creates a catalog of your library and recommends discounted or free ebook versions of the books that are available for download. The app even lets you share your library with other Shelfie users or peek into the shelves of other users. With over 100,000 ebook titles available in EPUB, MOBI and PDF formats, even the pickiest readers will be spellbound.
3. Be a Borrower: In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius famously tells his son Laertes, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” Polonius clearly wasn’t using the Overdrive app. With 30,000 libraries of ebooks, audiobooks and streaming video, Overdrive makes it a crime not to borrow from your library. If you have a valid account at a public library, you can use the app to read media, create wish lists, place holds and even make suggestions for new titles to be added to the collection. The best part about borrowing media from Overdrive is that there are no late fees; titles are automatically returned when they are due.
4. Get Connected: If you ever read a novel and wished you could connect with the author directly to profess your undying love for his or her work, Wattpad can help. Wattpad offers a library of over 20 million free stories, ranging from classics like Moby Dick to fan fiction. Wattpad also hosts a community that lets users communicate with both aspiring and famed writers, such as Margaret Atwood and Paulo Coelho. With Wattpad, you can even write your own stories and share them with the world.
5. Make the World Your Oyster: Many die-hard fans of printed books think that ebooks simply can’t mimic the beauty or the reading experience of a physical book. The Oyster app is here to prove otherwise, offering both variety in its selection of ebooks and elegance in its interface. Oyster opens your eyes to millions of ebooks, from indie favorites to new releases and award-winners. Artful themes make the reading experience both streamlined and stylish. You can even read the Harry Potter series in custom themes designed for each house of Hogwarts. (FYI: We’re Gryffindor for life!).
6. Marvel at the Marvel Universe: With ebooks largely focusing on mainstream fiction titles, fans of comics and graphic novels often feel left out of the ebook revolution. But the Scribd app leaves no genre out of its digital bookstore. It offers an unlimited selection of one million comics, audiobooks and ebooks, ranging from bestsellers to award-winning graphic novels. Like Netflix, Scribd recommends titles that are tailored to you based on your interests and reading history. The app even comes with a free trial, after which you can get a subscription of unlimited books for only $8.99 per month — less than the price of a paperback.
Tell us what you’re reading this summer in the comments below!