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20 Jan 2021

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BorrowBox lets users hire eBooks and audiobooks for free
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BorrowBox lets users hire eBooks and audiobooks for free 


With another national lockdown underway, many will be wondering, yet again, how they can fill time.

Some parents will also be tearing their hear out at how they can keep their children occupied at home while having to school them as well. 

Reading is one thing we can all do to stay busy, educated and entertained during the lockdown period – and one firm is helping us do it for free.

Borrow Box is a company promoting reading at home or on the move with users able to borrow eBooks and audiobooks.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that you can download books onto a normal Kindle, the most popular way of reading eBooks – instead an app needs to be used which is compatible with Apple, Android, Kindle Fire and other tablets. 

BorrowBox allows users to borrow from thousands of eBooks & audiobooks online for free

BorrowBox allows users to borrow from thousands of eBooks & audiobooks online for free

Originally founded in Australia, BorrowBox now has offices in Berkshire and has been supplying libraries with books and audiobooks since the 1980s. 

It is currently available throughout the whole of the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, but BorrowBox is also found in further afield countries, such as the Netherlands, Singapore and Malaysia. 

Richard Osman’s number one, best selling ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ is the most popular title at the moment. 

How does it work? 

Those interested should sign up to their local library if they aren’t already. Most are part of the scheme.

Libraries use BorrowBox as an extension of their physical library. They contact BorrowBox and it supplies the BorrowBox digital platform.

Libraries can then select the content they would like to have in their collection for users to borrow.

After signing up, borrowers will be given a login to BorrowBox using their normal library membership number and PIN. 

Richard Osman's debut novel, 'The Thursday Murder Club' is one of the most read on the app

Richard Osman’s debut novel, ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ is one of the most read on the app

On the BorrowBox app, users can browse their library of authors, titles, newsletters, interviews and author profiles.

It is available any time, anywhere, meaning you can read at home or, if you’re an essential worker, on the move.

The libraries set the limits for their borrowers with most allowing the same ‘loans’ to borrowers as they do for physical, print titles – typically around six eBooks and six audiobooks at a time.

The app is available on iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets as well as Amazon Kindle Fire devices.

Unfortunately, if your library has not signed up to BorrowBox, you will be unable to take advantage of the app.

However, the majority of libraries provide this service now with BorrowBox as it is the exclusive national digital solution for all libraries in Ireland and Wales.

One reason many have signed up as it allows libraries to be ‘always open’ in some capacity during the lockdown period.

BorrowBox said the service has been even busier during the lockdown times as people look to technology for help. 

How else can you read online for free?

Customers of Amazon Prime also have access to its Reading section where you can choose from thousands of books, magazines and comics to read for free.

Those who don’t have a Kindle can download the free Kindle app meaning you can read on any device, such as your smartphone or tablet. 

It is also possible for those who have purchased Kindle books to lend them to family members and friends.

Eligible Kindle books can be shared for up to 14 days. Those looking to share can log in to Amazon, locate the title they would like to loan, click Actions and ‘loan this title’ and send it via email. 

During the loan period, you are not able to read the loaned book but any loans not accepted within seven days become available again in your content library. 

Subscriptions are getting pricier 

Having access to a free app like BorrowBox may be even more beneficial as the price of several streaming services is set to increase this year.

From February, Netflix is increasing the price of its standard package, which allows users to watch on two screens and in high definition, from £8.99 per month to £9.99 per month – a hike of £12-a-year.

Meanwhile, the premium package, where users can watch on four screens and has 4K and HD content, will increase from £11.99 per month to £13.99 per month – a jump of £24-a-year.

However, those on its basic package, which means users can only watch on one screen, will stay at £5.99 a month.

Disney Plus, one of the newest streaming sites, is also going to raise its costs from £5.99 to £7.99 a month for new customers on 23 February.

The annual cost will also increase from £59.99 to £79.90 – a £20 rise.

However, existing customers will continue to pay £5.99 a month until 23 August.

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