You LOVE to read, but don't have room in your suitcase for all of the books you're wanting to finish in one semester? Here's how you can still read and listen to your favorites without losing any packing space.
Bringing everything you'll need for months of living abroad can be a bit stressful. Of course there are the essentials, like clothing items, and then there are the nice-to-haves. And then there's the arranging and rearranging of your suitcases and carry-on so you don't exceed the weight limit and can avoid extra baggage fees. And unfortunately, books often don't make the cut. Even though they are so nice to have abroad! Especially when you have free time as a volunteer with International Language Programs to read about places you're actually living in, like Russia and Thailand.
Have you ever wanted to live abroad for months as more than a tourist?
Here Are Some Quick Facts About ILP You Need To Know
There are a lot of things you can get in your volunteer country, but books usually aren't one of those. Unless you know how to read Spanish or Russian or whatever the local language is of the country you'll be living in. So if you don't have extra room in your luggage but still want to read, these tips are for you! Need some helpful tips for making a packing list? Read this blog post.
Sometimes we save the best tips for last, but in this case, you're getting them very first! If you love books but want to save money (aka spend it on pastries in Europe or ziplines in South America) then obviously checking books out from the library is the way to go! Cause library = free books! And you can take these online libraries anywhere with you! All you need to get started is a library card to your local library.
Oh, you guys! I have used this app for years and love OverDrive! This is how I've read during my entire semesters abroad without having to bring a single book. All you need to do is download the app, choose a library, enter your library card number, then your library pin number (4-digit code), and then you can search for a book! Once you find one you want to read, click "borrow", then download it and you'll find your book back on the main menu in your "bookshelf".
The materials on Overdrive work just like regular library books. There is a specific number of copies available, and if they’re checked out, you’ll have to wait in a hold line until they have been returned. You can also look through their list of most popular and best books, find awesome recommendations of what to read next.
So the Libby app is technically connected to OverDrive. And while we love OverDrive, this one is even more user friendly. It's basically a simpler, more stream-lined way to access all of the same things! You can have books sent straight to the Kindle app if you prefer to read books that way, or just read them in the Libby app itself.
One of our favorite differences from the OverDrive app is that if a book you placed a hold on becomes available, it will automatically be added to your bookshelf. You can also see all of the books you've checked out in the past! There are a lot of other features that we're sure you'll love.
Hoopla is an app that provides access to ebooks, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, and music. So pretty much everything a library does! But it's different from Overdrive and Libby in that those are platform, so libraries are in charge of purchasing and adding content to the the Overdrive system. How many books or movies are available on your Overdrive account just depends on how much money your library is using on what they add to their Overdrive collection.
Hoopla has a set collection. So if your library uses Hoopla, you have access to all of the same books and movies that anyone else does. You are limited to how many checkouts you can make per month since that just depends on your local library (we've seen limits of 3, 5, or even 15). But major bonus, unlike Overdrive, there are never hold lines, so you can check out what you're wanting to read at any time without having to wait for someone else to finish.
Loyal Books is a free public domain of audiobook and ebook downloads. Their selection mostly includes classics, books like Robinson Crusoe, Pride and Prejudice, The Count of Monte Cristo, Little Women, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. If you're wanting to familiarize yourself with these stories that are constantly referenced (which we highly recommend), then this is a great option! Download the audiobook and ebook files straight onto your smartphone or laptop.
More About E-Books
Okay, so in all honesty, BookBub is one of the greatest book websites out there! They will send deals to your email on all of the best ebook sales, most of which are on Amazon. And so many of them are popular or brand new books! For $5 or less! A large handful of the books are even free. Just make a free account and sign up for the daily or email updates. You can also browse through dozens of genre book lists to find all the best recommendations tailored for you.
We've mentioned the Kindle app a couple of times before, and if you're a reader, you just need to get it! It's free (attached to your Amazon account) if you're just wanting to send books to it from OverDrive and Libby. Those are then automatically removed once they expire from the online library. You can have any of your books purchased through BookBub sales on the Kindle app as well. If you want to share books you own on the Kindle app with other readers, there is an easy way to do that.
You can also sign up for Kindle Unlimited which is $9.99 a month for unlimited reading (over 1 million books) and listening (thousands of audiobooks) on any device. Many book lovers feel this is very worth it!
More About Audiobooks
Audible has the biggest collection of audiobooks available! The app itself is free, but for $14.95 a month you can pick out one audiobook that then gets permanently added to your library. These audiobooks are usually around $30 so it actually is a pretty good deal. Any other books you buy in a month will be 30% off! If you want to just test it out first, Audible will give you a 30-day trial and 2 books (for Amazon prime members) before you start paying the $14.95 per month for your subscription.
This audiobook subscription is pretty unique and we are big fans! Libro.fm. is also $14.95 a month, but instead of all of your money going straight to Amazon (which it does with Audible) you can select a local bookstore that this company will split those profits with! Your subscription will get you one audiobook a month which is then yours forever. Also, if you refer a friend and they start using Libro.fm. you get a free audiobook credit! Great incentive!
Curious about other Audiobook subscriptions? We've found this blog post to be really helpful and informative!
A Note On Spotify
Yes, we all love listening to podcasts and music playlists on our beloved Spotify! But, it's a little known fact that there are actually some audiobooks available on Spotify too. These are mostly classics, such as Dracula, The Great Gatsby, and Around The World In 80 Days. You may have to do a little digging, but usually a search for "books" will bring up multiple playlists of audiobooks that are available!
Curious to see what our volunteers are up to every semester?
Our volunteers get to spend their semesters abroad teaching, exploring, serving, and immersing themselves in a new culture! We love sharing the highlights and honest facts of their experiences. And since we've had HUNDREDS of volunteers, we have quite a lot to share. Make sure you're following us on Instagram.