I have a love for a good deal and free is my favorite price. Something else you know about me is I love reading, and in this world, I call mom life I only have time to listen to audiobooks. So it should come as no shock to you that I don’t love paying the monthly Audible membership fee. Today I have a great deal for you if you love or want to love audiobooks, how would you like to listen to audiobooks for FREE! That’s right I said free.
Well did you know that your local library probably has a membership to Overdrive, Libby, and/or Hoopla? Well they probably do, even if you live in BFE (is this a term people still use? I don’t know, I am not really a cool kid…) Most libraries nowadays have seen an increase in audiobook listeners, and libraries are trying to make it easier to get these audiobooks in your ears.
To find out if your library has an Overdrive account just google your library’s name and Overdrive (or Libby or Hoopla), and your library will most likely pop right up. You can use the app to browse the collection, place holds, make wishlists, or download the books straight to your computer, phone, or other devices. And did I mention it’s FREE!
What is the difference between Overdrive, Libby, and Hoopla, you ask? Well, honestly there isn’t that big of a difference between them. My favorite app for listening to audiobooks is Overdrive, but I think they might be trying to phase it out and move it more towards Libby. I tried to switch using Libby for a little while but switched back because of the sleep timer on Libby. The shortest amount of time was 20 minutes, and if I’m being honest I can only follow the story for about 10 minutes before I nod off to dreamland. If this isn’t a problem for you, then Libby will work great! I do think Libby has fewer glitches and is more user-friendly. But unless they change the sleep timer I will not be listening to my audiobooks there.
Here is a breakdown of how these apps work (Overdrive/Libby and Hoopla).
Cons: Hold lines can be super long (ex. Becoming by Michelle Obama I’m 196th out of 297 holds), Limited time to listen to the book before it expires (usually 14-21 days), and the selection depends on what books the library has.
Like I said this is my number 1 source of free audiobooks. And most libraries have an account with Overdrive. The app works just like your library with real books. You log on to the app, find your library, enter your library account information (typically library account number and password) and then you can place holds, check out, make a wish list, etc. all from your library card and the app. I will tell you the number of books you can hold depends on your specific library, for example, my library allows me to hold up to 15 titles at a time, but every library is different.
I should also mention that the Overdrive app was the first audiobook app, but Overdrive has made a new app called Libby and it is made and managed by Overdrive. Libby has a lot of things going for it. It is way more user-friendly (think more along the lines of Audible), less glitchy, you can add a whole family worth of library cards versus just your card. Also with Libby, you don’t have to download the book to your device, you can just listen from the app if you are connected to wifi. Which can be nice because the books can take up quite a bit of space. Also, Overdrive/Libby isn’t just for audiobooks. You can also check out ebooks and with Libby, you can send them straight to your Kindle.
A few things to keep in mind with the Overdrive/Libby apps.
- It can be hard to find books. The selection is limited to the books the library has.
- You might have to deal with long hold lines. If you are looking for anything that has been published this year, you might have to wait to read it, because everyone else wants to read it too.
- The books automatically get returned after your check out period. I have a love-hate relationship with this fact. It is nice because I never get late fees anymore, but it really sucks when you only have about 20 minutes left and the book automatically expires and returns to the library.
Pros: Free, no hold lines
Cons: Limited selection, can only use a certain number per month (usually 10)
Hoopla is new to me. I have heard other people talk about it but I didn’t think my library had it. Then the other day I was looking up a book for book club (remember we only read books if there are enough copies at the library because no one wants to purchase the book. See my Book Club post) and the library said there were no current copies, but try to listen to it on Hoopla. Hot dang I’m excited to give it a try. I know there are people who love Hoopla. It is also through your library and it has an app, but instead of the hold lines, you just have a number of books you can check out for the month. For us, we can check out 12 titles per month and it is good for audiobooks, movies, music, comics, ebooks, and tv shows. Another thing about Hoopla, is people sometimes say they don’t find a very good selection through their library, but I haven’t really found that to be true. My library has a lot of good books that I’ve been wanting to read. So it really just depends on your library.
I love audiobooks. And honestly, with how busy mom life is, if it weren’t for audiobooks I probably would have given up my reading life. Which how sad would that be. Mama needs an escape from the real world sometimes. If you have any questions at all about these apps or audiobooks I would love to answer them. Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know if you use any of these apps and/or which ones you like best. I hope you’re able to get some audiobooks in your life because they are awesome!
6 replies on “How to Listen to Audiobooks for Free”
Great hack! I’ve taken out books online but i’ve Never thought of audio books. I have a long commute, so it would be perfect!
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Oh they would be perfect! I swear audiobooks changes lives. People who tell me they don’t have time to read and then they try audio become very ambitious readers and end up read so many books throughout the year. It’s so fun!
Yes and yes. I have recently been listening to audio books on my library app and I love it
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It is seriously the best way to get books in your life. And FREE is the best price!
Sounds interesting.. I’ve never tried audio books yet. I’m now thinking of having one.
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They are awesome. You’ll love it once you try it.