Bookish Online Tools to Keep Up to Date and Stay Focused

The COVID-19 pandemic has given us an excuse to mindlessly consume the 24-hour news cycle. And because of it, sometimes we lose track of new updates from our favorite authors and publishers and then eventually zone out of the bookish world.

We also lose track of the things this pandemic is giving out: free ebooks and resources from various websites. Free reads are gone and ebook deals are expired and yet we haven’t even seen them!

Not anymore. Here are three tools and apps that you can download and incorporate into your life in order to keep up to date on any important bookish update and stay focused on your reading amid the pandemic.

Applets for Bookworms from IFTTT

If you’re not using IFTTT yet, then you’re missing out! This digital tool basically automates workflows and saves us a lot of time by connecting two apps or even extending their functionalities.

IFTTT calls these “applets,” and there are some made especially for bookworms. Check out some of them below:

Reddit is a treasure trove of free ebooks! Don’t believe me? Just go to r/FreeEBOOKS and you’ll see some authors posting their free ebooks for a limited time. And if you don’t want to miss any of them, just turn this applet on. It works by automatically sending you an email digest from this subreddit.

If you want to broaden your coverage, you can try this Reddit applet, too.

I get it. Who has time for converting ebook files in these stressful times? If you have a lot on your hands but still want to read, this applet is very useful for you.

Just place the MOBI file into any Dropbox folder and it will automatically do the work for you behind-the-scenes. This applet sends an azw file to your Amazon account, which will then be loaded to your Kindle device once you connect it to wifi.

Maybe you’re a librarian or a bookstore employee who wants to stock graphic novels or maybe just someone who loves reading graphic novels. This applet automatically lists the best-selling graphic novels to a Google spreadsheet for your convenience.

This is very helpful if you want to keep track of what to buy before procuring stocks or going to the bookstore.

So you use Pocket to save articles to read later. Great! But it becomes even more awesome with this applet. It functions by automatically saving the popular articles from the Books section of The New York Times to your Pocket account.

Are you a journalist or a writer? Maybe this will be helpful in finding scoops or staying aware of the goings-on in the bookish world during this pandemic era.

This is useful if you want to keep track of what novels everyone is buying care of The New York Times Best Seller List. And if you take this very seriously, you can try this one as well.

These are just few of the applets available for bookworms on IFTTT. You can find more by searching “books” on their database. You can even create your own applet from scratch to suit your needs.

Feedly

You may think that RSS readers are a thing of the past with the death of the Google Reader. But they are seeing a resurgence and regaining popularity. Feedly is one of them.

It works wonders if you want to ditch the algorithm that fuels news on social media. You can follow several bookish sites on this app including Book Riot, of course. The interface is distraction-free because its sole purpose is for you to read.

And speaking of Book Riot, here’s the RSS feed URL of the daily Book Deals. You can add it to your Feedly app as one of your sources. From now on, you won’t miss any bookish promotion while also focusing on your reading.

Kiwi Browser

Google Chrome may be your preferred browser. With its plethora of extensions for reading articles, it may be the number one browser.

Not so fast. Chrome doesn’t support extensions on mobile, but Kiwi Browser fixes it for all of us. This Chromium-based browser has full support for extensions on Android (sorry iPhone users!). The official Chrome app can’t even do that.

With this browser, you can download the Rocket Readability extension for when you want to read stories or long-form pieces on-the-go on Longreads or Literary Hub. This powerful extension strips free of the unnecessary code of any website so you can focus more on reading the pieces written. Goodbye pop-ups and other unrelated content.


I hope these three digital tools will help you to stay stress-free and become more productive (although that’s not required) during these challenging times.

And if you want more tips to maintain your zen this quarantine, here’s How to Find Bookish Joy in a Time of Quarantine.