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Best E-Book Subscriptions for Traveling

| September 21, 2015

tumblr_nrwnw4hXKg1r9rpoho1_250For travelers, one of the first things we think to pack is travel guides or a fiction book or two to pass the wait times at airports and during layovers. Instead, you can get all of the information with none of the bulk with e-books. E-book subscriptions allow you to consult multiple sources while you’re on the road.

E-books also allow you to take advantage of that extra time you’re likely to have during your trip and catch up on the books you’ve been dying to read. Download books ahead of time to avoid issues with uncertain internet connections or potential lack of access from foreign countries, and enjoy them anywhere, whether on the plane, on the beach or for a little light reading between savoring the mint on your pillow and laying your head on it.

A lack of due dates relieves any deadline pressure. However, as with a library, you will lose access to any books you have on load, even the downloaded ones, if you cancel your subscription. Speaking of libraries, if you can deal with due dates, your local library very well may offer e-books, as well, for no cost, other than your tax dollars.

Layover Guide breaks down all the best E-Book Subscriptions For Traveling:

Kindle Unlimited

Okay. Kindle Unlimited DOES have some limits. But with literally thousands of travel books, it’s hard to imagine you’ll ever reach those limits. As of this writing, Kindle Unlimited offers 741 books on Africa, 3,198 on Asia, 255 on Canada, 440 on the Caribbean, 4,122 on Europe, 1,061 on Latin America, 219 on the Middle East, and 2,596 on traveling within the United States. Many of these offerings are contained within the 220 guidebook series the brand carries, most notably Lonely Planet. In addition, Kindle Unlimited delivers 4,889 specialty travel books, 605 focusing on food and lodging, 1,665 books of essays and travelogues and 248 travel reference books. Naturally, some crossover between categories is to be expected.

You can browse the offerings beforehand to see if a Kindle Unlimited subscription will work for you. Kindle Unlimited works on any device you download the free Kindle app onto, not just Kindles, and boasts access to an overall selection of more than a million and thousands of audiobooks (available for listening through Audible’s free app). A 30-day free trial is followed by a monthly charge of $9.99.

Oyster Unlimited

Oyster Unlimited also offers access to more than one million books (and only books) in general. Lots of well-regarded guidebook series are available, including Time Out, Frommer’s, Moon Guides, Falcon Hiking Guides, Let’s Go, Rick Steves, Michelin and more. There’s even a dictionary of French medical terms (may you never need it). Oyster is beautifully designed, but difficult to navigate. For instance, if you go to the main Travel Page, a subheading of “Rick Steves” lists only four (you’d in luck if Scandinavia were your destination) of his “Snapshot” guides—excerpts from his longer works. However, click on one of these, and you’ll find links to additional, full-length books by the same author at the bottom of the page. Lesson: You really need to know what you’re looking for and do a search for it. Browsing can be a frustrating experience. Such a shame with such great travel offerings.

Oyster offers apps for reading your books on iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook HD and on the web. Books are also downloadable. Oyster costs $9.95 per month following a 14-day free trial.


Scribd offers thousands of books, audiobooks and comics and millions of member-contributed documents, such as short stories and essays, on all topics. Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Insight Guides and Frommer’s guidebooks, numerous other travel books, and 208 travel-related audiobooks contribute to that count.

Apps are available to read on your iPhone, iPad, Android or with Web-based browsers, and books are downloadable. While Scribd works on tablet readers like Kindle Fire or Nook HD, it doesn’t work on e-Ink readers, like Amazon Kindle or Nook Simple Touch. Cancelled paid accounts convert to free accounts that still offer access to your personalized profile and Scribd’s reader community. Get 14 days to try it for free. If you like it, a subscription costs $8.99 per month.


By Kathryn S. Taylor

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