Introducing Libby: The Amazon Kindle and Scribd Killer

If you are an avid reader and subscribe to Scribd, or buy numerous eBooks from the Amazon Kindle store, then you need to take a look at the Libby app, by OverDrive. This app will save you a ton of money on books, movies, and music. Libby allows you to check out eBooks, audio books, music, and movies from your local library for free, with a valid library card.

Most of us, including myself, have not stepped foot in a public library in years. So, some of us probably do not remember how a library card looks like, let alone knowing the location of the nearest branch. If you do not want to carry a card around or do not care to learn the location of your local library, then no need to worry. Nowadays, there are many libraries that allow people to apply for “electronic library cards” via the Internet. These electronic library cards are especially tailored for readers who use reading apps like OverDrive and Libby.

OverDrive = Headache

I first experimented with the OverDrive app not too long ago. OverDrive essentially does what Libby does, but in a much more “sloppier” fashion. With OverDrive, you can check out books from different libraries. However, the books would be shown separately, respective to the library, in which the books belong to. In other words, if you borrowed five different books from five different libraries, you need to remember which book belongs to which library. If you do not have an extraordinary memory, like me, then you will be spending a lot of time trying to find the book you want to read.

Another complication with OverDrive is after you borrow a title from your library, the app requires you to download the eBook in epub or Kindle format. You then need to open the file with a compatible e-reader or Kindle app. There’s also the option to read the eBook via the OverDrive Reader, however the application is just not as smooth as the Kindle App.

Libby streamlines the whole process by placing all your borrowed books into one “bookshelf”. Once when you log into Libby, you will see a prompt with two selections. One for “Library” where you can browse your book selections, and “Bookshelf” which compiles all your borrowed books into one place. Just choose “Bookshelf” to see all of your borrowed books listed. Additionally, all of your books and audio books will play directly from the Libby app. No need to download epub or Kindle files.

The Selection

The selection is actually really good. I thought their catalogue would consist of a bunch of old books and classic novels. But, to my surprise, I found many current and recent NY Times Bestsellers. Their audio book collections consist of numerous bestsellers, fiction and non-fiction. Also, if there is a particular book you really want to read but is not available, there are some libraries that will allow you to suggest them your desired title(s). They do not guarantee availability for all suggested books; however they do take recommendations and will introduce similar books to you.

I was searching for a recent book I read, named “The Ken Fisher Classics Collection”. Unfortunately, the New York Public Library (NYPL) did not have any copies. I suggested this title to the NYPL, and the app, in turn, recommended similar titles, like ”Philip Fisher Investment Classics”. Philip Fisher is the father of Ken Fisher, and is also known as the Father of Growth Investing. Of course, I naturally borrowed the Philip Fisher books.

If you are located in a state with a large city, chances are that the library system will have advanced features, such as streaming services available over the Libby app. For instance, New York State residents get to stream movies and audio books through NYPL on Libby. And if you a New York City resident, you will also have access to the Brooklyn and Queens Public Library system. I currently have the whole NYPL, Queens, and Brooklyn Libraries’ circulation right at my fingertips. Now, that is a lot of media to consume for free!