Cheap online ways to listen and read

Do you stream or download your music? Here's how you can be sure you're not breaking the law

MORE and more people are accessing their music over the internet – whether by “streaming” (listening directly) or downloading files - but if you want to make sure you are doing so completely legally in France and respecting copyright laws check out the recommendations at the official website www.offrelegale.fr

Vetted sites for streaming – the favourite method for young adults – include Qobuz, which came top of recent consumer tests by UFC-Que Choisir and stresses high quality in sound and its selection, costing €4.99/month.

Fnac Jukebox (€2/month) which was deemed next best followed by Deezer and Spotify which both have free versions with adverts or paid-for, advert-free ones.

Note however that the 'playlists' you build up on these only last as long as your subscription does.

To be approved, sites have to tell download watchdog Hadopi the works they plan to offer – which are publicised, before a (renewable) licence is granted for a year. Offrelégale also lists sites like 7digital or Virgin Mega, for buying downloads – on average for less than a euro for a track or around €10 for an album.

Another trendy site for music lovers is whyd.com a French social network where you can build up a library of your favourite clips from different sources on the web and share them with friends, similar to posting to your Facebook wall.

Popular sources would include streaming sites mentioned above as well as Youtube, Sound Cloud or Music Me. The latter puts out free music video clips, in agreement with the labels, whereas Sound Cloud is used by artists to make their work known.

While digital music options have been growing, so have ones for digital books

For example many sites now offer free out-of-copyright ones, often in formats suitable for reading on ebook readers such as an Amazon Kindle. They include Project Gutenberg (gutenberg.org), the Bibliothèque Nationale (gallica.bnf.fr) and the Association des Bibilophiles Universels (abu.cnam.fr) as well as ebooksgratuits.com and livrespourtous.com

Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/) is a handy piece of free software that allows you to organise your e-books and convert files into formats suitable for your reader, if necessary.

For more recent books, a large choice can be read free (with advertising) on a computer at Yooboox which also offers a subscription at €9.99/month for unlimited downloading of a large choice or novels, cartoon books, tourist guides, language books etc.

Amazon’s similar Kindle Unlimited has also just launched in France at the same price, offering around 700,000 books for reading on a computer or Kindle reader, of which only around 20,000 are in French. In includes bestsellers like Harry Potter.

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