Free reading books & newspapers as well as visiting concerts & museums online


Where to get electronic books and magazines, how to watch concerts, operas and museums from home – and preferably for free? GIGA gives an overview of the possibilities.

Staying at home is still the order of the day – on the one hand to slow down the spread of viruses, on the other hand, because no entertainment offers have opened anyway. What is the best way to spend Sundays, what can you do during the week after work? First of all, there is the game afternoon via Skype, the wine evening via WhatsApp or the movie night – with the new streaming service Disney+.

But there are also beautiful activities that you can do on your own: for example, reading, visiting a concert or a museum virtually. Some possibilities exist throughout the year, others have only been launched due to the Corona crisis or are temporarily free of charge. However, we must expect many actions to end soon.

Free newspapers and books

Use on-loan, overdrive and press reader via the library

If you want to read books and newspapers for free, grab your library documents. With access, you can borrow digital media from home: books, newspapers, magazines, even audiobooks and music, as well as some films. Many libraries work for this purpose, among other things, with On-loan, overdrive and press reader providers can be found on the website of the local library.

It gets more difficult if you don’t have a library card yet: Most libraries in Germany have closed because of the coronavirus. In some places, however, you can register online. If you don’t find any information on the website of the local library, an email to its staff might lead to success.

Free eBooks at Amazon and Projekt Gutenberg

Amazon always offers free eBooks. From the Gutenberg project, numerous classics can also be found free of charge on Amazon. If you have subscribed to Amazon Prime, you will also get a few books and magazines via this service without having to pay for it again.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can also access the classics through other options. Of course, it reads more pleasantly on an e-reader. An alternative to Amazon devices is, for example, the Tolino Shine (see test).

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Free books and magazines from different sources

Some publishers currently offer individual editions of magazines free of charge as PDF. And other providers are temporarily providing free content:

Books, magazines and audiobooks: take advantage of trial offers free of charge

Subscription and streaming services often offer a free trial month or at least one trial week. Here, too, you can read books and magazines temporarily free of charge, as long as you cancel in time:

A free trial membership can normally only be booked for new customers who have not previously used the respective service. Audiobooks are also available on music services, see the article on GIGA:

Concerts and operas on the Internet

Stream pop, rock and hip-hop concerts for free

If you want to listen to and see concerts in the field of entertainment music online, take a look at Arte’s media library first. The TV station offers a variety of usually about one-hour broadcasts in very good quality. After a short introduction, the artist’s live performance follows – often it is a concert in Germany or France, occasionally festivals. Bob Marley, Katie Melua, Tina Turner, Foals, Dwson and Sepultura are among the guests. But other television stations also show concerts.

Celebrate even when the clubs have closed? That’s possible! The Berlin institutions have joined forces to provide an audience with an audience at home during the prescribed closure. Something Every evening there is a stream in image and sound from another – empty – club. “The Berlin club culture is facing the greatest challenge in its history,” explains Clubcommission e.V. To ensure survival, his donations are necessary. They are collected as part of the stream. There are also other concerts by companies:

Stream classical concerts and operas for free

The way to the Arte-Mediathek is also worthwhile for classical music lovers. Here you can find concerts of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra under the direction of Thomas Hengelbrock, Leonard Bernstein can watch as he conducts the Vienna Philharmonic and watch numerous operas. They include Lohengrin, La Traviata, The Abduction from the Serail and much more. Under “Stage Performance” you will find ballet performances, among other things.

Some concert halls offer online concerts live and/or on demand during the Corona crisis. This gives artists the opportunity to perform during the difficult time, and you can look forward to the cultural contributions at home. A selection:

Visit museums for free on the Internet

Museums have also closed due to the Corona situation. This is why more and more of their exhibitions are showing free of charge on the Internet, partly in cooperation with television stations. Some recommended offers:

If you’re fed up with books and music, you’ll find more tips for your time at home on GIGA and the partner portals: 50 indoor games before, recommends Movie streaming subscriptions and offers 31 ideas against boredom. Fitness equipment such as ergometers, elliptical cross trainers or treadmills help to ensure that the movement is not neglected. GIGA has also tested home fitness services and apps.

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The range of book offers is therefore large, so that the ceiling does not fall on one’s head immediately after two days. If you have seen some great online book sources, concert streams or virtual museum visits on the net, please post your finds in the comments below.


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