Free books at the airport

Reading a book on a cross-country flight is a luxury that is too often replaced by a series of stupid movies offered (not always for free) on the seatback entertainment screen or on an app we’re urged to download before we leave the gate area.

But what if you’ve forgotten to bring a book from home or don’t want to shell out $29.95 for a bestseller at the newsstand near the gate?

At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport there are currently two kiosks with hard-to-miss screens offering free downloads of e-books and audio books to people who have library cards – and those who don’t.

The kiosks are courtesy of the King County Library System and non-card holders are offered an instant two-day library card. Downloads are good for seven days.

People are enjoying the SEA airport book kiosks so much that the one of them already needs a tune-up, which I have been assured in underway.

Libraries in many other cities have installed e-book kiosks at their airports (some have permanent kiosks/others are temporary) and some airports have leave-a-book-take-a-book shelves.

I spotted this one at Washington’s Walla-Walla Airport.

Of course, if you already have a library card ( and you should) and your airport offers free Wi-Fi, there’s nothing to stop you from using your time at the gate to log on and scour the e-shelves for a book as well.

Or to just dream about the ‘good old days’ when an airport might have a library branch on site.

This one was at Nashville International Airport.

 

 

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