We’re going to take a break from our regularly scheduled thrift store finds to talk about some other way to be thrifty. That is, making thrifty choices about where we get our books and other media from.
In our house, we love books.
As you probably already guessed, some of our favorite finds come from thrift stores. But what are some other places that you can read books or watch movies without paying full retail?
It’s really easy in our “buy it now” world to forget that there are many ways to get books, tv shows and movies for free.
Remember how I said in another post that you can enjoy something without having to own it? Books and movies can definitely fall into that category. Here are some of the resources that I think you will really find helpful.
The obvious example is a trip to your local library. The kids and I try to go at least once every two weeks. But did you know that your library also offers many other resources that you can access from anywhere? You don’t get to keep them, but there are some books that you don’t need to keep forever and just need the information out of.
The Libby app connects with your local library’s digital collection. All you need is your library card number and passcode (if you don’t presently have a passcode set up, a librarian will help you). It has all the search functions that you would look for in an online store. Libby also includes recommendations, curated collections, and the ability to filter by age level. I’m currently reading The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore. My favorite thing about Libby is I don’t have to scramble to get a book back to the library the day that it’s due. I can also return it early if I’m done with it and someone else is waiting for it.
Hoopla allows you to access digital media like movies and TV, books and audiobooks, and even music. Our family recently enjoyed the animated adaptation of The Boxcar Children. Your library might be limited in terms of how many, or what type, of digital items can be downloaded in one month; be sure to check with your librarian so you can plan your movie nights accordingly.
Hoopla is available on a variety of devices; check their site to find which one works for you.
Oh sweet goodness, how I love Flipster. I absolutely love home decor and lifestyle magazines, but can’t bear to pay the price of a subscription. Flipster allows me to access my local library’s magazine collection from my phone or tablet, so I can get my home decor fix without messing with my budget.
This is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to read books, watch movies, or listen to radio programs that are old enough to have become public domain (and those are just some of the types of media available). Great not just for researchers, but also curious people like myself who want to know what housewives were doing in the 1800s. Please be aware that you should review material yourself first if you are helping your child with a project. Some material may not correspond with your family’s values.
This is a sort of link library for audio books, online courses, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses, some of which you can receive a certificate from), movies, language learning, textbooks, and eBooks. I am personally intrigued by E. O. Wilson’s Life on Earth course. As with archive.org, you should review material yourself first if you are helping your child with a project.
PBS Kids video
The app connected to PBS Kids video has been a major life saver when our family is on the road. We don’t have cable in the home, and if we’re staying over in a hotel, I don’t want it there either! Through the app, my kids can watch Odd Squad, Wild Kratts, or Ready Jet Go! on our tablet (or on my phone, in a pinch).
I must admit, I don’t spend a lot of time watching PBS (sorry guys!). But the PBS video app looks great. While there are some shows that require membership to watch, there are many PBS produced shows and movies available, on history, nature, or the arts. I was pleased to see that there are even locally produced programs as well.
I hope that these options for getting free media for you and your family to enjoy have been helpful. Now go read something on The Libby app!