When it comes to electronic asset checkout from my library, they offer two different apps for this purpose... they are Overdrive and Hoopla. 

I used Hoopla for a bit because the app worked when compared to Overdrive. Then Overdrive was improved and made all the flaws in Hoopla shine brighter than a thousand suns.

This is not to say Overdrive doesn’t have issues. The problems include a sucky audiobook player, a terrible recommendation algorithm, and the totally indiscriminate nature by which some ebooks are readable only within Overdrive while others can be transferred to the Kindle app. 

Recently, though, my library introduced Libby, a secondary app that works with the Overdrive library but gives you a much better UX (user experience). Check out this interface...


In the top ribbon, you can control the playback speed, set a sleep timer, check out chapter listings, and set bookmarks. There’s a full playback countdown and countup as well as a percent indicator (very helpful when you’re updating your your status in Goodreads). And below the playback controls is an indicator of time back to the start of and forward to the end of the current chapter. There is also an active playback time scroll that you can manually adjust if you want to fine tune your rewind or fast forward more than the 15 second jump buttons above. They also place a dark mark on the dial indicating chapter breaks. 


On the main Shelf screen, I can see what I have downloaded along with how much has been played and manage my checkout right there. Up above, I can view both default and custom bookshelves so I can see lists of what I’ve checked out, others I’ve requested, and a list of what I want to checkout later without actually doing it right away so I don’t get inundated and wind up rushing or missing my checkout window entirely. 


In my holds tag, I can see when I placed the hold, the expected wait time, and options to manage my hold.


On my custom tag for books I want to check out, just not yet, I see indicators letting me know if it’s an audiobook vs ebook, ratings, and a card at the right that lets me know if it’s currently available (blue/yellow tag) or not checked back in yet (looks a bit like a calendar).

One thing I have not done so to try to use Libby for reading ebooks. I still prefer to checkout and read in the Kindle app, which Libby allows, so it works with my Fire. But I may give it a shot just to see what it’s all about.

Otherwise, yeah, I’m totally fanboying over Libby.


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Kevin Spencer

Loved The Martian. The movie was good but the book so much better. I'd love to read Weir's Project Hail Mary. Who am I kidding? I've picked up one book this year, read one chapter, put the book down. And now it's May.


Time to change that!

Marty Mankins

I use Libby, but the format of how the pages are is a tad confusing depending on the title. I admit to preferring Kindle for library ebook borrowing. Libby and Overdrive are better options for audiobooks.


I’ll probably never use Libby for ebooks just because of my Fire and the Kindle app. But I’m onto my second or third book using it as my audiobook app.

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