Libby App: the easiest way to read books for free

One of the first apps I installed after moving to the United States was Libby. It’s a mobile app that allows you to get e-books and audiobooks for free.

I had heard about it for a long time, and finally, I had the chance to use it. So, I installed the app, received a card from my local library, and got access to lots of content. But first things first.

How It Works

It works pretty much the same as a standard library, but everything is digital. You just open the app, look for a book, and then you can rent it. If the book is popular, you can place a hold on it, and once other people finish reading, you can rent it.

You can read digital books right in the Libby app, or you can transfer them to Kindle (which is amazing). You can also borrow the audio version of the book and listen to it right in the app.

Libby App

By the way, the app looks amazing. The interface and overall user experience are so good that I still can’t believe it is free.

Why Is It Free?

Public libraries fund the purchase of digital content licenses through their operating budgets, which typically come from public sources like taxes and government funding, as well as private donations. So libraries purchase licenses for digital content from publishers, just like they buy physical books and other materials. They then lend out these digital titles to patrons for free through apps like Libby.

Is There Really a Good Choice?

Yes, the choice is decent. In 8 out of 10 cases, I can find a book I want to read.

Oh, and you can add a few library cards — in this case, you have a better choice since every library has a different budget and spends it differently. For example, the New York Public Library provides more copies for rent, but my local library provides access to newspapers and magazines. It is really great to realize that I have a chance to read all the new digital issues of Rolling Stone or Esquire for free once they are out.

There is also a separate app called Kanopy, which lets users watch TV shows and movies — I have already watched a lot of great arthouse movies there.

So yeah, if you like reading books and haven’t tried the Libby app, you should do it. I am sure you will love it.

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