With COVID-19 quarantines and everyone being more mindful of their budget, it may seem like there are few affordable at-home options for entertainment. Luckily, we found plenty of free online books, movies, and games for you and your family—they’re all completely legal, too.
Update, 10/24/21: Verified picks are still good. Updated some broken links and adjusted Scribd’s pricing.
You may not be able to visit your local library right now, but you don’t need a library card to read the millions of books that are available online. Plus, this way you won’t have to worry about due dates and late fees!
- Project Gutenberg: The most well-known source on the internet for classic novels and other texts. You can browse the latest additions along with the most popular, or search for a specific title by authors like Jane Austen or Franz Kafka.
- Audible: The audiobook titan has made a few selections of their library available for free. No log-in or credit card is required, but if you want access to a wider selection beyond the handful of freebies here, you’ll need to formally join.
- International Children’s Digital Library: If you’re looking for kids’ books, look no further than this nonprofit organization! Find popular diverse children’s literature from around the world here.
- Librivox: Find and download public domain audiobooks read and uploaded by volunteers.
- Wikisource: Dive into nearly 400,000 public domain texts, including classic books from authors like Rudyard Kipling, Agatha Christie, and James Joyce.
- Read Print: This is another place to read classic literature, but the site is much more user-friendly as it lets you track what books you have read and want to read and chat with others in open book clubs.
- Open Library: You can borrow, read, and sponsor any of the nearly 1.8 million books here, though you’ll need an Internet Archive account to do so.
- Manybooks: Scour popular domain eBooks across tons of genres, and either read them online or download a copy for iPad, Kindle, or Nook. Enjoy Editor’s Picks here as well.
- BookBub: Find tons of free eBook deals here, including favorites from genres like sci-fi and romance.
- Library of Congress: A stellar option for finding classic public domain books, kids’ books, historical American literature, and more.
- Internet Sacred Text Archive: The world’s biggest source for texts on religion, folklore, mythology, and the esoteric.
- Riveted: Find popular YA books and excerpts here. But there’s a catch—each title is only available for a limited time.
- Feedbooks: Another great source for public domain fiction and non-fiction books, covering genres like mystery, horror, science, history, and more.
- Open Culture: A huge source for eBooks and audiobooks that you can enjoy online or as a download, including authors like Neil Gaiman, H.P. Lovecraft, David Foster Wallace, and others. They also host lectures given by figures like Carl Sagan and Bertrand Russell, and recordings of authors reading their work, like T.S. Eliot.
- Free eBooks: As the name says, this site specializes in all kinds of eBooks, from economic nonfiction and erotic fiction to textbooks and audiobooks.
Few things are more fun than watching a free movie at home in your pajamas with all the popcorn and snacks you can eat. Luckily, these services have enough free movies and TV shows to (hopefully) get us through the coronavirus quarantine.
- Crackle: Enjoy original content as well as TV shows and movies like The Cable Guy, Stranger than Fiction, and The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
- Sling Free: With Sling recently offering free content with no account, now everyone in your family can enjoy movies, TV shows, and news.
- YouTube (Free) Movies: When you’re done watching trending makeup tutorials, gaming clips, and funny late-night talk show clips, check out YouTube’s impressive library of free movies. They’re not all bangers, but they’re something.
- Vudu: Enjoy popular TV shows and movies here, albeit with ads.
- Kanopy: If you’re a current university student or have an active library card, Kanopy lets you stream free films, thanks to its interlibrary lending function.
- IMDB TV: After you look up who plays Margo in The Magicians, stay on IMDB for a while and watch more shows and movies through their TV service.
- Plex: When you get tired of all the media on your Plex server, see what TV shows and movies they are offering.
- Pluto TV: Want the experience of scrolling through the TV guide to find a movie or TV show to watch? Pluto TV’s got your back.
- Yidio: Discover awesome movies to watch across genres like Western, Documentary, Fantasy, Thriller, and more.
Whether you consider yourself a fighter, healer, or mysterious warlock, you don’t have to be high-level rich to enjoy slaying bosses and collecting gems. With all these free games, you can continue ignoring your Steam backlog for something shiny and new.
- Smartphones and Tablets: Android and iOS app stores have truly impressive quantities of free games for all kinds of gamers, from battle royales and brick breakers to card games to choose-your-own-adventure stories. And Pokemon. Beware of “freemium” upgrades, however.
- Epic Games: The epic game developer has a few major titles available for free in its store, like Fortnite, Magic the Gathering Arena, and Dauntless.
- GOG: The popular PC game store knows we’re all stuck at home, and are trying to make things easier for us by making some of its games free, and by giving away 25 games. Isn’t that sweet?
- Steam: Online game store Steam rocks tons of free titles in addition to paid options.
- Microsoft Store: Free “Default” Computer Games: ’90s kids know what I’m talking about—free “default” computer games like Freecell, Solitaire, and Hearts. Microsoft Store has these titles, and other simple classics like Mahjongg, Minesweeper, and more.
- Freegames.org: As the name suggests, this site offers tons of simple, yet free, games.
- Arkadium: Tons of free games like an online arcade.
- Disney Games: Although we can’t go to Disneyland at the moment, we can enjoy some of the simple fun games on Disney’s website. Choose from games based on Star Wars, Gravity Falls, Marvel, Frozen, and more.
- PBS Kids Games: Your young kids can game, too, with educational topics like animals, teamwork, and measurements, and help from favorite PBS characters from Arthur and Sesame Street.
- Zynga: Originally gaining popularity on Facebook, this developer has continued making fun games like Zynga Poker, Merge Dragons, and Words with Friends 2.
- Cartoon Network Games: If you like their colorful weird cartoons, you’ll surely like their colorful weird games, with characters from their shows like Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Ben 10, and Teen Titans.
If you haven’t spent all of your money on toilet paper (also don’t do this), and you don’t mind paying a little bit in the name of entertainment, you’ve got even more options open to you. Here are a few additional fun options (beyond Netflix) for staving off quarantine boredom:
- Kindle Unlimited: If you already own a Kindle device, opting for Kindle Unlimited ($9.99/mo) gets you access to unlimited new and classic books, audiobooks, and magazines.
- Scribd: Enjoy unlimited audiobooks, books, magazines, and other documents for $9.99/mo with Scribd. They also offer a 30-day trial.
- Humble Bundle: This service offers tons of quality limited-time gaming bundles with a pay-what-you-want (but at least $1) structure.
- Gaming Consoles: If you already own a console, it may have some free titles. Check out the free games currently on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation. Again, beware of freemium upgrades, and note that you’ll need a subscription to each console’s online service to download and play the games.
- If you want to step back from technology for a bit, check out some of our favorite inexpensive board games and enjoy some face time with your family.