Friends, comrades, awesome humans! Did you know that you can borrow audio and e-books from your local public library for free?
How it works where I live
I've just signed up for 'digital library services' in Haringey and Hackney, where I'm already a regular member. Hackney in particular is awesome because it's a member of the London Libraries Consortium, along with a bunch of other boroughs (see below for list) - this means you can borrow across the Consortium for free.
You download the books to your computer or phone, and, like regular books, you have them for 3 weeks before they expire. You can get all sorts of titles, not just public domain ones.
Here's what OverDrive, the app Haringey and the London Libraries Consortium use looks like:
Other awesomeness you might not have known about
While I'm here - many public libraries also give you access to subscription-only online services like reference sources and periodicals.
You can borrow movies and music too.
If your library is a member of the London Libraries Consortium (and there might be other similar groups across the country), you can borrow and request books across London for free. I get tons of books shipped in from other boroughs.
If your local library service doesn't offer all this, you can join Hackney's library service, which doesn't ask you to be a resident to join (there are probably others). But you will have to go to a Hackney branch in person when you first register.
Public libraries FTW
I'm a huge fan of public libraries. It's not just the books, it's the social and community activities, clubs for kids and all the other stuff they do. Even the simple fact that they are warm, comfortable places where anyone can while away a few hours, without being asked to buy something or move on, makes them precious spaces in any community.
So give a little less of your hard-earned cash to Amazon (who are a-holes, but that's another story) and use/support your local library. It's especially important when the public sector is under attack, and declining memberships are used as justification for closing libraries.
Show your library some love. It'll love you back with interest :) xxx
Current London Libraries Consortium members: Barking and Dagenham (BAR); Bexley (BEX); Brent (BRE); Bromley (BY); Enfield (ENF); Ealing (EAL); Hackney (HACK); Harrow (HAR); Havering (HAV); Kingston (KING); Lewisham (LEW); Merton (MER); Newham (NEW); Redbridge (RED); Tower Hamlets (TH); Waltham Forest (WF)