Digital media is any file that can be used on a computer or other digital device and includes electronic or e-books, audiobooks, magazines, music such as mp3 files, and movies. An audiobook is a spoken version of the book to be listened to on an audio device. An e-book is a digital version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or e-reader, a device designed specifically for this purpose. Popular e-reader brands include Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo.
There are many places where you can get free or cheap eBooks and other digital media (movies, music, games) in Seattle and the Puget Sound region.
In addition, all of these sources offer free e-readers. So, if you don’t have an digital reader, just download the free software to your computer, tablet, or smartphone along with free digital files to enjoy.
Bookseller free eBooks and digital readers
Amazon has free and cheap eBooks for Kindle in their Cheap Reads Collection that include free classics and out-of-copyright. Also find the link to a Free Kindle Reading App to read books (if you don’t have a Kindle) on your Apple, Android and Windows devices and computers.
Mountaineers Books discounts a different eBook of the Week from their impressive library, featuring new releases as well as some of the oldies-but-goodies! Each eBook of the Week is just $2.99. Sign up to get the ebook deal delivered to your email inbox every Monday morning. The Mountaineers Bookstore carries books, maps, and software and is one of the best outdoor bookstores in the country. They have an extensive assortment of books about hiking, climbing, sea kayaking, skiing and snowshoeing, as well as narratives, biographies, mountaineering literature and instructional “how to” books. The brick-and-mortar store is located in the Mountaineers Seattle Program Center, 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115 (Google map). If you can’t make it there, they offer plenty of e-books online for immediate download.
Public library free eBooks and digital readers
Local library systems in the Puget Sound region all offer a wide variety of digital media. To check out or download digital media, you’ll need a Library Card, access to the Internet, and a digital reader or personal computer, smartphone or tablet.
Seattle Public Library provides free digital and downloadable content to library card holders. Download to your eReader (including Kindle, Nook, or other reader, your iPhone or Android, your tablet, or to your Mac or Windows computer). Access these services 24/7 using a computer and your Seattle Public Library card number and PIN. For more information, visit www.spl.org/library-collection/e-books-and-downloads.
King Country Library System (KCLS) leads the U.S., Canada, and Australia in eBook circulation. KCLS library card holders in Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond can borrow free eBooks, eAudiobooks, digital magazines, and more for their smartphone, tablet, eReader, or computer. In most cases you will need to download and install free software to manage your downloads. For more information, visit www.kcls.org/downloads.
Pierce County Library offers ebooks, audiobooks, movies, music, and magazines for digital download. For more information, visit http://www.piercecountylibrary.org/books-materials/audiobooks-ebooks.
Other free digital file resources
Project Gutenberg offers over 54,000 free eBooks to download or read online. You will find the world’s great literature at Project Gutenberg, especially older works for which the copyright has expired. No fee or registration is required, but if you find Project Gutenberg useful, donate a small amount so they can digitize more books and improve Project Gutenberg programs and offerings.
ManyBooks.net has more than 33,000 free ebooks available for immediate download or to read online. Many classics are available from the Project Gutenberg archives. In addition, they provide information about online ebook discounts. Optionally, you can subscribe to their daily newsletter to receive information about the latest free and discounted ebooks.
Book Bub and Read Cheaply are very similar free services. Sign up, select your reading preferences, and get email about free and discounted ebooks from major retailers and publishers (e.g. Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, iBooks, Google books, etc.). So these are referral services; neither one sells books.
OverDrive is a service offered by local libraries throughout the Puget Sound region that lets you borrow eBooks, audiobooks, and more from your public library – anywhere, anytime. Download books and media that can be listened to or viewed on your computer, portable device, or smartphone. Download digital titles 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You never have to return downloaded titles: they automatically deactivate on their due date. With more than 30,000 libraries in 40+ countries, chances are there’s a participating one near you. Use the map on the Overdrive website to find a library near you.
Hoopla is similar Overdrive, requiring a library card to borrow materials, including audiobooks, music, and movies. Check with your local library, or search Hoopla to find libraries near you that have the service.