Library Borrowing Apps

So this topic came up in the General conversation thread and I felt it belongs here, so I’m making this thread.
I’m hoping others have more apps to suggest - especially those who live outside the US - and/or reviews to contribute.

My two contenders are Libby and Hoopla. I also downloaded BorrowBox but it was a no-go from the start.

Hoopla at least recognized my library. BorrowBox doesn’t. So it got uninstalled.

I went ahead and downloaded Libby on my tablet for comparison with Hoopla as far as what books may be available because, on my initial toe-in-the-water search for Leigh Bardugo, all I could find through Hoopla was the German audiobook for the first Shadow and Bone.
Libby has 6 ebooks and two (English!) audio books by Leigh Bardugo.

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Libby has one ebook while Hoopla has an audio book.

Libby has a Librarian list of books that are always available to borrow, and Book Club Picks.

Also, if this might be an issue for anyone: Hoopla limits you to 8 books a month. I don’t remember what the limit is on Libby but I know it’s a lot more than eight.

So I’m thinking I’ll use the two somewhat interchangeably. Primarily I want to use my ereader, which has Hoopla. But if I can’t find something there, I’ll have to use Libby on my tablet. Either way, seeing as my local library is a rather small one… It’s already slim pickins to begin with.

BorrowBox was a dud for not recognizing my library.
Libby has a much higher limit on how many books you can borrow, where Hoopla limits to eight books a month.
Libby has a list of books that are always available to borrow, and a book club list. It also has the ability to set a preference filter as far as language and format (book, audio, magazine etc)
Hoopla has none of that. It’s very cut and dried.


I have both on my Kindle & Libby on my phone. I only use the actual Libby app to listen to audiobooks; e-texts are sent right to Kindle.

Frankly, I’ve not used Hoopla too much for reading because I prefer reading in the Kindle app/reader.

I will use Hoopla for video though, it has some interesting/unique/older/kid friendly titles that the big names don’t.


I have both Libby and Hoopla on my phone, but I use them for very different things. Like @eternalhearts mentioned above, e-books can be sent to the reading app of your choice, so I mostly just use it to listen to audiobooks. There can sometimes be really long waits on either of these (because the digital copies are treated like physical ones, in that only one person can use a copy at a time), but as long as your library’s checkout time and number of holds and checkouts works for you, that’s what I’d go for if you’re looking for a service to checkout e-books and audiobooks. Libby has differing selections for each library, too, so if you or a friend/partner/spouse has a card at a different library, it might be worth getting their card information to maximize your selection and checkout capabilities. Basically, you can checkout twice as many books, but if the other library has a shorter checkout window or other restrictions, those apply to all books you check out from that library.

Hoopla serves a totally different function for me. While it doesn’t have a great selection of audio or traditional e-books, it does have a lot of other media that you can’t get on Libby. Hearts mentioned videos above (which I can’t vouch for), but they also have a lot of CDs (including musical soundtracks) and comics which is what I primarily use it for. I’ve read parts of Umbrella Academy, Ms. Marvel, and some other comics on there, and their comics reader is comparable to Kindle’s (but you can get them for free instead of paying for the comics program on Kindle). If those aren’t of interest to you, though, then I’d stick to Libby!


Yes! So many more comics than Libby!

And @Remus reminded me about another library option to look into–the major cities around you might offer cards to a broader audience. So, I have a Boston Public Library card because anyone in MA can get one.


I also use Libby! And I source some out-of-print books from libgen, or Open Library. I’ve found some books that haven’t been in print for decades on those after a bit of searching.
Those have the extra step of going from my computer to my phone, though, so it’s not always the most convenient. I usually just go through and convert from pdf to kindle/epub format and read via the kindle app.


Oooh, I hadn’t even thought of this! I decided to look, and sure enough, I can get a library card from the public library system in my state’s capital (which is also the biggest city) just because I live in the state. US Mounties (and maybe non-US Mounties), that might be worth looking into if you want another card for Libby!


Yay! So glad I thought to suggest it.


Yeah, PA already has statewide sharing. No second card for me. Over six months’ wait time for Shadow & Bone.