SO you want to read books. Going out to a book store is not an option, but you really want to be able to tell your friends that you’ve become well-read during the movement control order (MCO). There is a way, and it won’t cost you a cent. All you need is your smartphone and an internet connection.
If you only know of one resource of e-books, let it be Project Gutenberg (gutenberg.org). Within its servers are over 60,000 free eBooks which include much of the world’s greatest literature, some of which are copyright-free.
“No fee, registration, or special app required,” exclaims the Project Gutenberg homepage.
Inside you will find classics such as Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austine, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and much, much more.
The nature of the collection, being books of classical literature, means that this resource is also perfect for students, as these are the works of some of the most celebrated wordsmiths in the world.
For the best experience on mobile, go to m.gutenberg.org on your favourite mobile web browser. Pick a book and scroll down. Look for the HTML version of the book under the download section and tap that to start reading. Just pinch and zoom if you need a larger font.
Past the Download section lies the Similar Books section, where you can pick your next recommended read.
A project of the non-profit Internet Archive, the goal of Open Library (openlibrary.org) is to create a library catalogue and build towards a web page for every book ever published. The library has currently gathered over 20 million records from a variety of large catalogues, as well as single contributions, with more on the way.
Open Library also contains a more contemporary collection of books which you can borrow from. But, you will need a membership for that. The site also has a text-to-speech feature for books, effectively turning them into audiobooks.
If a picture is worth a thousand words and you want to read really fast, there are webcomics, free online comics from both professional and independent comic artists alike. Most of these comics are strewn across the internet like chicken feed. But here are three websites you can go to on your mobile web browser and start reading immediately.
Note that most of these sites also offer apps that are available for download if that is your preference. But you don’t need them to enjoy the comics.
Webcomics curated in a post with an overall theorem, that is what you will find at boredpanda.com/comics. An admittedly addictive source of fun, quirky, and – most importantly – an ‘easy to share on a social network for a few likes and reactions’ collection of webcomics.
Unlike our next two recommendations, the comics you’ll find here are in the traditional one to four American comic panel format you would usually find in newspapers back in the day.
Love your comics long, literally? Try Webtoons, the place for comics done in a vertical format, where you scroll down from panel to panel. Here you will find a fun mix of Western and Eastern style comics. Some are epics, while others are fun short stories.
The tall format makes it especially fun to read on mobile.
The collection of comics here leans heavily towards manga, and are predominantly from independent comic artists.
Everything is presented in a more traditional book form, with a set number of panels per page so it feels like you’re reading a comic book, instead of scrolling through a webcomic.
You can search for comics via topics and themes. But, not all comics on the site are free to read. Some require a premium membership.