Free Books & Podcasts on the Internet

Living in a country where few people speak and read English fluently, it can be difficult to find books, radio & TV programs in English for entertainment. (DVDs in English are found on every street corner.)

I’m always looking for sources on the Internet. (The Internet really is a lifesaver.) E-books are great, but can be expensive and difficult to read. I’ve amassed a nice collection of them, however, and was very pleased to find an interesting collection of books available at Creative Commons for download. These are books that are available for purchase in print form, but for reasons particular to each book & author, PDF formats are also available for free. The books are mostly non-fiction and are mainly about information science, copyright issues and computers, so they may not have a wide appeal, but for me, as a library & information science major, they are fascinating. There are also a few science fiction books available. The important thing for me is that they are available for free and are legal. One sci-fi author, Cory Doctorow has even allowed the printing and sale of his books in countries recognized by the World Bank as low-income countries. (With no royalties required for himself.)

There are other places on the Internet where e-books are available for free, like Project Gutenberg. Just search google for ebooks and you will find a huge selection, classics for free, and more modern texts for charges.

If you enjoy radio programs or listening to spoken word programs, there is also a wealth of podcasts available on the Internet, in a huge variety of topics and subjects. Open Culture is a website that sorts through all kinds of media available on the Internet to find high quality sources. They have lists of podcasts from major radio and news networks, smaller companies and even university courses. (A podcast is an audio file and may consist of interviews, music, speeches, spoken word, etc.) I highly recommend their list of Arts & Culture and University podcasts. I use itunes to download and listen to the files, but they can also be downloaded via conventional means and opened with any mp3 player.

If you enjoy audiobooks, LibriVox has collections of audio versions of books in the public domain (meaning you can download them for free). Open Culture also has links to other similar sites.

And lastly, I’d like to recommend a website that features translations of short stories and works by international authors that may otherwise be inaccessible to English speaking readers. Words Without Borders seeks to enrich inter-cultural relations and enhance tolerance through literature and story-telling. They offer full text stories without charge.

For expats who are limited on weight and cannot tote around large volumes of reading material, the Internet truly is a rich resource.

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One Response to “Free Books & Podcasts on the Internet”

  1. superkimbo Says:

    Excellent resources! Thanks for sharing!

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