Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is offering free audiobooks and ebooks to the first novel in her series, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, throughout April, to help families in lockdown during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, Rowling has also launched a new digital hub called “Harry Potter at Home”. Each week on “Wizarding Wednesdays”, it will offer a range of activities, quizzes, and other things to do, like how to draw a Niffler — the Fantastic Beasts creature attracted to shiny things. And every Friday, you’ll get new ideas in your inbox with an email newsletter, if you sign up.
The free audiobook version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will be available on Audible’s newly-launched Audible Stories in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Japanese, with the English-language version narrated by Stephen Fry. Better yet, you don’t even need an Audible account to listen. As for the ebook, you can borrow it for free in over 20 different languages from a participating local or school library, at digital library supplier OverDrive, via its Libby app.
Rowling said in a prepared statement: “The teachers, parents, and carers working to keep children’s lives as normal and happy as possible while we’re all on lockdown deserve a bit of magic. I hope these initiatives will give children and even adults a happy distraction during their enforced stay-at-home time.”
“The Harry Potter books have always been a refuge, comfort and escape for readers, and right now, we need reading for pleasure more than ever,” J.K. Rowling’s agency, The Blair Partnership, founder Neil Blair said. “Many households will already have a Harry Potter book at home, but I’m delighted that we can now provide free online access to the audio and ebook of the first book in the series, through Audible and libraries, for all to enjoy, as well as a fantastic new digital hub for families with younger children to help them through these difficult times.”