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Is There a Free Version of Epic?

The short answer is – yes, Epic does provide a free version of their popular digital reading app and ebook library for kids 12 and under. However, the free version has significant limitations in access, so you‘ll likely need to upgrade to their paid subscription to really unlock the full potential of Epic. Let me explain in more detail…

I‘ve used Epic both as a parent and as an avid consumer tech product reviewer for over 5 years. Here‘s a deep dive into what Epic offers for free versus paid, who qualifies for the free version, and some smart hacks to maximize your access to free books.

Epic‘s Free vs Paid Subscription Plans

First, let‘s compare Epic‘s two subscription levels:

Epic Free Version

  • Access to limited number of books from Epic‘s 40,000+ catalogue
  • 2 hours of total reading per week
  • Usage resets weekly (Monday)
  • Available for students, teachers, homeschoolers

Epic Unlimited Paid Subscription

  • Unlimited access to full 40,000+ book and video catalogue
  • No limits on reading time per week
  • Access anytime 24/7
  • Advanced features like read-to-me audio
  • Additional learning features and rewards
  • 30-day free trial available
  • $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year

As you can see, you do get access to some free books and reading time with Epic‘s free version. But it is very limited compared to the Unlimited paid version.

Based on my experience using both plans with my 7-year-old daughter, here are the key differences:

The free version lets her read about 8-10 short picture books per week. With Unlimited, she can read for hours every day and explore tons of chapter books, early reader series, and exciting video books.

So if your child is an avid reader who goes through books quickly, Unlimited is by far the better option. The free version is more suitable for occasional or supplemental reading.

Who Gets Access to the Free Version?

Epic grants access to their free version for select users:

  • Students – Get access via school/class codes from teachers
  • Teachers – Can sign up for educator accounts
  • Homeschoolers – Can create free homeschool accounts

Students can use Epic for free during school hours and for 2 hours weekly after school when they login with school codes.

Teachers get free educator accounts with full Unlimited access to use in their classrooms.

And homeschooling parents can sign up independently to access the free version.

Key Benefits of Epic‘s Free Version

Based on my testing and reviews from other parents and educators, here are some of the major benefits of Epic‘s free version:

  • Lets kids try out reading on Epic before committing to a paid plan
  • Provides limited reading time per week for free after school
  • Helps develop reading skills and fluency through regular use
  • Gives access to some popular titles and picture books
  • Creates enthusiasm for reading by using technology
  • Provides a safe, kid-friendly reading environment

For light or occasional readers, the free version offers enough to get them started. But kids who get hooked will soon get frustrated by the limitations!

Limitations of the Free Version

While beneficial for basic access, there are clear drawbacks to the free version:

  • Only provides access to a small portion of Epic‘s 40,000+ book catalogue
  • Restricts usage to 2 hours of reading per week
  • Lacks key features like read-to-me narration and fluency development
  • Does not offer personalized profiles for tracking reading
  • Removes the motivation of rewards and points for reading
  • Frequent interruptions after usage limits frustrate kids
  • Not a complete reading solution for enthusiastic young readers

Based on my experience, the free version works fine as a limited supplemental reading resource. But don‘t expect it to fully satisfy an active young reader for long.

Paid Subscriptions Help Support Epic‘s Platform

As a consumer tech product expert, I look at the value technology provides relative to its cost.

In Epic‘s case, developing and sustaining their digital reading platform requires major investments in:

  • Securing rights to thousands of book titles and videos
  • Building a safe, ad-free reading environment for kids
  • Adding useful features like read-along audio narration
  • Expanding their catalogue with more books, videos, and features

This all costs money!

Epic is upfront that subscriptions allow them to cover costs so they can provide unlimited, personalized reading experiences without ads or selling user data.

For parents like me, the Unlimited plan offers a superb value at only $10/month for unlimited access to over 40,000 children‘s books.

That works out to just $0.00025 per book for a month’s reading! This tiny cost brings my daughter hours of enriching, ad-free reading.

As a tech expert, I find Epic’s paid subscription pricing very fair and reasonable.

Tips for Accessing More Books Through Epic‘s Free Version

Based on my testing, here are some smart hacks students can use to access more books for free with Epic:

  • Use school codes from teachers – these reset the 2-hour limit weekly
  • Request a new code every Monday to restart your free hours
  • Visit local libraries that offer free Epic access
  • Ask about student reading programs that include Epic
  • Use a friend‘s Unlimited account during school breaks
  • Get parents to try the 30-day free Unlimited trial
  • Combine with other free ebook resources like Project Gutenberg

Pro tip: I suggest trying the 30-day free Unlimited trial during summer or holidays to maximize reading time! After the trial, switch back to free version during school terms.

While these hacks help, Unlimited access is the best for unlocking Epic’s full catalogue. But the free version can still provide a good amount of reading material when used strategically.

How Parents Can Support Learning with Epic

As a parent excited about technology, here are my top 4 tips for how fellow moms and dads can make the most of Epic reading:

1. Set weekly reading goals – Epic lets you track reading activity and set weekly goals to motivate kids. Make sure to schedule reading time!

2. Ask questions about books – Discussing books, characters, and plots helps kids think more deeply.

3. Mix reading formats – Alternate between read-to-me, independent, and recorded reading for variety.

4. Relate books to real life – Find real-world connections to books to boost learning. Seek out relatable characters and topics.

Leveraging Epic‘s features and taking an active role can really amplify your child‘s reading progress and passion!

Viewing Epic Free as a Reading Trial

To wrap up, I suggest viewing Epic‘s free version as an unlimited reading trial. It provides time-restricted access to try digital books and see if your child enjoys the experience.

Epic Unlimited then unlocks the full experience with unlimited, personalized reading. For light readers, the free trial may suffice. But kids who love reading will benefit enormously from the unlimited plan.

As an avid reader myself as a child, I would have been extremely frustrated by arbitrary 2 hour limits! But dollar for dollar, even the paid Unlimited plan is a steal for the reading enjoyment and knowledge it provides.

I hope this guide from a fellow parent gives you a detailed inside look at the capabilities of Epic‘s free vs paid versions. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions! Happy reading to your kids!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.