The Three Free Apps I Used To Read 32 Books in 6 Months

“How are you reading so many books?” is the question I get all the time from friends, family and followers eager to get their literary fix. Here is my general reply:

When I’m commuting to work or recreational activities I throw on an audiobook. When Google maps tells me I’ll arrive to my destination in 18 minutes (and we all know it’ll only take my led foot 15), I’m listening to bits and pieces of audiobooks like Originals by Adam Grant.

When I’m waiting in line, I read ebooks like Esther Perel’s Mating In Captivity on my smartphone. I’d probably use a tablet if I could afford it, trusted that I wouldn’t drop it, or desired to lug around yet another device. Frankly, my smartphone gets the job done during those annoying holding patterns we all find ourselves in.

If finding a library hard copy or the above mentioned methods fail, guess what? I skim, I watch the movie, or I set it aside until a better time, guilt-free.

I know, I know.

These methods are all frowned upon by the print devouring elite, but truthfully, as long as I walk away from the work having learned something new or saw the world a bit differently, I don’t pressure myself to follow the rules.

Now for my favorite part: the free apps.

Here are a few smartphone apps I always recommend to anyone who asks me how I consume so much literature. Put that library card to good use.

These three apps are available in both iOS and Android application stores.

Hoopla App Digital — Instantly borrow free digital audiobooks, movies, music, ebooks and more, 24/7 with your library card. All items are available for instantaneous download and there are no hold lists, which means no waiting for your favorite materials.

This is a great app for young cell phone users thanks to their special ‘kids mode’ feature that will limit results to juvenile content. The only downside is that checkouts are limited to ten per month and not all library systems have opted in to its borrowing system.

Libby (by OverDrive) App — Libby has a fantastic built-in ebook reader, and an audiobook player as well. If you prefer, you may also send books to your Kindle for reading. This app is offered by OverDrive Labs and might be the most widely adopted app amongst public libraries. If it’s not supported by your local branch, write me a comment so I can raise hell on your behalf.

OverDrive App — OverDrive is the creator of the Libby app. Their access to collection titles is the same. The interfaces have slight functional differences so test out both and see which one you prefer. OverDrive is the “classic” app, and is compatible with more devices, including Kindle Fire, Macs, PCs, and Windows mobile devices. It also allows for transfer to MP3 players from computers.

So there you go! Are you team Hoopla, team Libby, or team OverDrive? Comment below with your preference. And don’t be stingy! If you use another free app, share the wealth with the rest of us.

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