With summer vacation fast approaching, most parents are already making plans to take a road trip, or visit their favorite vacation spot with their kids. We prepare psychologically to deal with the “are we there yet?” or “I am bored” nagging from our kids because we all know that those classic road games that we used to play when we were kids, would not be enough to entertain our kids nowadays. For this reason, I have put together a list of free resources for parents who are planning road trips with their kids this summer. The list include places where you can legally download free music, videos, audio books and many other digital content guarantee to entertained your kids during the long drive.A couple of things about this list:
- First, I am assuming that you own at least one of the following:
- An iPod, or any other Mp3 players
- A portable DVD player or any other portable media player that can play videos, music or both.
- A cell phone, PDA or any other device that can display text or PDF files.
- A portable CD Player
- Second, all the content I am providing complies with copyright laws, meaning that the files are either public domain, or the owner had agree to share his/her work.
- Third, all the content is free and safe to download (no virus, spyware, etc.)
- Forth, no subscription is necessary to download this content, in some cases you might need to create a free account with the site, but you don’t have to subscribe to any services nor pay to download the material.
This said, here is the list of FREE electronic content you can download and bring with you on your next trip.
I. Free Movies/TV Shows
- Entertainment Magazine: These free movies are the original full-length motion pictures. No registration is required to watch or download. No adware, no fees or hidden gimmicks. All of the public domain movies are legal to download, legal to transfer to a mobile device or PC and free to watch online. 200 classic comedies, dramas, cartoons and dozens of video clips and movie trailers. New titles are added weekly.
- Public Domain Torrents: Allows you to download public domain movies using the Bit Torrent download system.
- Archives.org: Provides a large selection of movies and TV shows, many of them classics which you can download for free.
- Learn Out Loud Although the site charges for most of the material, they have a nice selection of free audio and video contents (most of the material is educational but the topics are very diverse)
- The Lonely Island: Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer are the members of The Lonely Island, an LA-based comedy collective, who have released much of their music and video shorts online under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.
- Google Videos: The most popular search engine who also owns YouTube gives you the ability to download all its videos in a format compatible with iPod or Sony PSP (See free software video convertible at the end of this section). Google Video has many full length movies, shows, cartoons, etc that are part of the public domain
- Public Domain Comedy: A huge selection of classic cartoons like Bugs Bunny, classic comedy movies, silent movies with stars like Charlie Chaplin, and even mystery movies like Sherlock Holmes “Dress to Kill”. You have the choice of watching the videos online or downloading them to your computer and then transferring them a portable video player.
- Public Domain Flicks: Here you can legally download full-length feature films that are in the public domain for free. Large selection of films.
- Open Video Project: Another great site where you can download and transfer to portable video players a huge selection of documentaries, lectures, historical footages, NASA videos and similar video materials.
- Atom Films: Mostly short films independently produced by artists and filmmakers. You can download the films it to you computer, and transfer them to your iPod or other portable video players.
- America Free Tv: This site only gives you the option of watching the movies online or receiving it your 3GPP and 3GPP2 video cell phone. Still a good choice if you have a cell phone capable of watching videos and you also have an unlimited data plan.
- Stage 6: A collection of great videos, and short independent films, many created in High Definition (HD Format). You can watch them online or download it to your computer and transfer them to any DVD with divx playback (many portable DVD players, and regular DVD players can play this format. The site has a list of all compatible DVD players. You can also find a video converter software to change the format to portable media players).
- Mefeedia: Mostly podcast videos, great selection, including some videos from the National Geography Channel. You can watch them online or download them to your computer and transfer them to your portable media player.
- YouTube. Of course, the popular video site has many good videos you can watch online, but did you know that you can actually convert those videos into other formats and download them into your portable media player? To do this all you have to do is visit http://vixy.net/ enter the URL where the video is in YouTube and save it in the format you want (avi, mpg, mov, etc)
II. Free Audio Books
- Archives.org: This site also provides a huge selection of audio books including poetry, arts, classic literature and many more. It also have a large selection of music. radio programs, and podcasts you can download free of charge.
- Libribox : This online virtual library has a great selection of public domain audio books you can download to your computer and transfer them to your favorite mp3 player
- Audio Books for Free: This sites allows you to download their books for free. However their free books come with low quality audio (16 Kbps), and if you want the higher quality version you might need to pay for it. Still a good free source of audio books if you don’t mind the quality of the audio.
- Simply Audiobooks: Although this is a commercial site (it charges for the audio books) it still have a selection of free audio books you can download and transfer to your mp3 players. Every month they update the free books selection.
- Free Clasic Audiobooks: This site has a great selection of classic literature you can download absolutely free.
- Gutenberg Project: Although mostly known by their ebooks, the Gutenberg project has a good selection of computer generated audiobooks (meaning the computer-generated voices used in these books are similar to those on automated systems used by the blind, as well as some telephone automation systems)
- Open Culture: Lots of free audio books you can download and take with you anywhere. Different formats are available.
- Free Christian Audio Books: Although the audiobooks on this site are copyrighted, you still can download them and use them free of charge as long as you do it for your own use (no commercial used) The site has a nice selection of Christian audio books.
- Thought Audio: Many philosophy and classic literature on this site. Free downloads. If you download a lot of books from this site they suggest you buy a “Zip Pass” for $10.00 a year for speedier downloads.
- Podiobooks This site provides your with free serialized audio books, delivered on your schedule. In other words podcasts in the form of audio books. You don’t need an iPod to listen to the audio files as they will play on any MP3 player
- The Spoken Alexandria Project: The site is creating a free Creative Commons library of spoken word recordings, consisting of classics in the public domain and modern works (with permission). AAC, Ogg Vorbis, and MP3 audiobooks available for free download and redistribution.
- Freebooks.org: Another great site with a selection of over 1000 books you can download and transfer to your portable media player.
III. Free Music
- Acid Planet is a site where independent artists and musician upload their music, so you can review it and download it free of charge. It is a way for new musician to expose their work to the community. You need to create a free account in order to download the music.
- MP3.com: Artists trying to expose their work upload their music to this site. Some of the music is only available to listen on the computer, but many others you can download and take it with you.
- Free Album Galore: It is a blog with lots of links to download full-albums of musicians who are releasing their music under the Creative Common License.
- Jamendo: This site hosts over 55,000 tracks for you to download for free. You have the opportunity to review, share and even make a donation to the artist if you like what you hear.
- Soundclick: This site has over 2 million full-length tracks available; many for free download. Streaming audio is also used for free videos and radio stations.
- Besonic: Once you have registered for free, you will be able to gain access to over 80,000 songs to download or listen to via streaming audio. As with most websites of this size, there is a search tool which you can use to quickly find the music that interests you. Besonic also have music charts for you to consult so you can see quickly what’s popular in your chosen genre.
- Pure Volume: A smart and user friendly site that contains more than 100,000 songs to download for free. A search tool is available for your convenience along with a facility to browse through their catalog of artists if you prefer. They have a charts system showing you what’s popular and regularly feature artists.
IV. Free eBooks
- Project Gutenberg: The site host over 20,000 ebooks you can download for free.
- Free ebooks: After completing a free registration, you can download a large selection of ebooks and transfer them to your favorite ebook reader
- E-book Australia: A list of ebooks libraries in Australia and New Zealand. where you can download a large quantity of fee ebooks.
- Many Books.net: A site with a great selection of free ebooks. The best thing about this site is the different formats in which you can download the books.
- Adobe Library of Free eBooks: You can download these ebooks and read them on any device that can open a pdf file.
- Microsoft Reader Free eBooks: This site from MS has many links to download free eBooks to read in MS popular eBook reader format.
- University of Virginia: Over 2,100 publicly-available ebooks from the University of Virginia Library’s Etext Center, including classic British and American fiction, major authors, children’s literature, American history, Shakespeare, African-American documents, the Bible, and much more.
- Planet PDF: A collection of free eBooks in PDF format
- Get Free eBooks: Another blog with direct links to download free eBooks, many topics to choose from.
- Computer Books: A large selection of computer related eBooks. Some you have to read online, others you can download to your computer and transfer them to your PDF or eBook reader.
- Fiction Wise: Although this is a book club that charges for membership, it still has a small selection of eBooks that you can download free of charge.
- Baen Free Library: Another site with many eBooks you can read online or download in different formats to take with you
- The World Library: Although technically the site is not completely free, the cost to access over 500,000 eBooks in different formats is so ridiculously low that it can be considered free. Membership for adults is $8.00 a year and for students is only $2.00 a year. Membership gives you access to the full collection of eBooks.
Finally, some useful and FREE software that allows you to convert media files into different formats:
eBook Software Readers: This sites explain the different options you have to read eBooks along with links to download the most popular ebook reader software.
DVD Video Soft A free program you can download and convert YouTube videos into different formats for portable media players
Free iPod Video Converter: Provides an easy and completed way to convert all popular video formats to iPod video. You can enjoy DVD/VCD and AVI, MPEG, WMV, RM, RMVB, DivX, ASF, VOB video files in your iPod with few clicks
Free DVD MP3 Ripper can extract audio from DVD, VCD/SVCD and MPEG (MPEG-1, MPEG-2) files into MP3 which can be played in MP3 Players
Free WMA to MP3 Converter: It can convert Windows Media files to MP3 files which can be played in MP3 Players. All Windows Media formats (*.wma, *.wmv, *.asf) are supported
Free RM to MP3 Converter : It can convert Real Media files to MP3 files which can be played in MP3 Players. All Real Media formats (*.rm, *.ra, *.rmvb) are supported
Any Video Converter: The only software you might need to convert your media from one format to another. Convert any videos and YouTube clips for iPod, Zune, PSP, 3GP phone, MP4 player
Kate’s Video Toolkit: Another great software that allows you to convert different videos formats
EXPStudio Audio Converter: A simple but useful program to convert different audio files from one format to another. (Click on the download section on the web page)