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Apps to enhance your summer beach reading 

The Libby app brings the local library to

The Libby app brings the local library to your mobile device. Enter your library card number and you can access e-books and audiobooks for download.  Credit: OverDrive

For this year’s beach-read season, why take one book to the shore or pool when you can take a whole library and several bookstores? These apps will help you find the best e-books and audiobooks for your Kindle. Don’t have a Kindle? Download the Kindle app (iOS, Android, free) for your smartphone or tablet and start reading. 


(iOS, Android; free)

Libby brings your local library to your mobile device. Enter your library card number — virtually every library in Nassau and Suffolk participates —and you have access to a selection of e-books and audiobooks you can download. Libby includes its own e-reader or you can send the titles to your Kindle or Kindle app. Don’t worry about overdue fees: Your books are automatically “returned” when they are due.


(iOS, Android; free)

If you devour a lot of e-books and audiobooks, Scribd might be for you. The subscription-based service ($9 a month) gives you access to millions of selections from bestsellers to obscure titles. And in a nod to its beginnings when Scribd was an online document-sharing site, you can access thousands of official government reports, study guides, academic dissertations, and medical journals.


(iOS, Android; free)

Instead of reading this summer’s bestsellers, how about discovering next summer’s bestselling authors. Wattpad is a community of writers and readers who share their works. You can find nonfiction stories as well as fiction in an array of genres, including romance, science fiction and mystery. Among the authors who began their careers on Wattpad is Anna Todd, whose “After” started on the site and became a bestseller.


(iOS, Android; free)

Amazon started as an online bookstore and this Amazon-owned app gives you access to millions of titles at Amazon and other booksellers. In addition to letting you buy e-books (sometimes at a deep discount), Goodreads is an active online community where you can read and share reviews and get recommendations. And here’s a novel idea: You can also buy traditional hardcover and paperbacks.

Facebook apps dominate

Facebook-owned apps held down four of the top five positions for most downloaded apps in the first quarter. Research firm SensorTower said messaging app WhatsApp was No. 1 with 223 million installs. The other Facebook apps in the top five were Messenger (No. 2), Facebook (No. 4) and Instagram (No. 5). The only non-Facebook app in the top five was video-sharing app TikTok at No. 3.


Do as I say, not as I do

Parents have complained for years about their teenagers’ addiction to smartphones. But parents should look in the mirror — or maybe, these days, at their latest selfie. A Common Sense Media survey found 44 percent of teens say their parents are distracted by their phones, up from 19 percent in 2016. And indeed, 45 percent of parents admit they are addicted to their phones.


Alexa gets delete recordings command

Amazon tweaked its Alexa voice software to give consumers the ability to delete recordings of what they’ve said throughout the day. The change comes as privacy concerns regarding artificial intelligence assistants mount. Alexa and Apple’s Siri keep recordings of everything said after they hear their “wake” words. Amazon’s new feature lets users remove the day’s recordings by saying, “Alexa, delete everything I said today.”


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