But I’ve never paid Audible a dime. And I imagine I never will.
That’s because of my absolute favorite entertainment app - Libby!
If you’re already using Libby, fantastic! I may have some tips/tricks to help you use it more effectively.
If you’re not using Libby and you like e-books or audiobooks, keep reading!! You could save hundreds of dollars per year while expanding your reading or listening horizons.
If you’ve used Overdrive, Libby is essentially an updated version with new functionality.
Having used both, I’d recommend the free upgrade to Libby. The only exception is if you’d like to transfer your e-books to Amazon Kindle. Libby doesn’t yet provide that functionality so in that case I’d stick with Overdrive.
How Do I Sign Up?
To sign up for Libby, all you need is a library card. Once you have one, download the Libby app, enter your library card info, and away you go!
If you don’t have a library card yet, get a library card! There are so many benefits to getting one, many of which I’ve outlined in a previous article. Getting a card only takes a few minutes plus a drive to your local library. It’s worth it!
How Does Libby Work?
Once you’ve downloaded and signed in to Libby, you can search for any e-book or audiobook you want. Just like on Audible or Amazon’s Kindle store - except that everything is free!!
You can also checkout several items at once. That's one of Libby's advantages over Audible, which gives you only one audiobook credit per month for your $14.95.
Unlike a Library, returns happen automatically, so you’ll never be charged a late fee!
After over a year of using it, I’m still impressed by Libby’s functionality and think it compares well with any paid app. Here are some of the cool features:
What if the Item I Want is Checked Out?
The awesome thing is Libby will estimate the wait time for you, so you have a good sense of when you’d receive the book. You can then click "Place A Hold" within Libby and you’ll receive an email once your copy is available. You can place around 12 holds (varies by library system), so you can queue for the most popular books while reading available books!
Here’s a tip to help avoid or reduce those pesky wait times. Get library cards from multiple libraries!
If you live near multiple libraries, each one may have a different Libby license with different wait times and availabilities.
Many libraries allow residents of nearby cities to get a card, not just residents from their own city.
For example, I personally became a member of two libraries near my apartment - Mountain View library and Los Altos library. Each has a different Libby license. Mountain View uses the “Northern California Digital” license while Los Altos uses the “Santa Clara County” license.
What’s the benefit of having both? To use a real example, the second “Mistborn” book currently requires a two week wait if I use the “Santa Clara County” license. But it has no wait if I use the “Northern California Digital” license!
And Libby makes switching between these licenses a breeze! Once I’ve logged in once with each card, I can toggle between accounts with one click, just like toggling between multiple Gmail accounts or Netflix profiles.
Save that $$$
At the end of the day, you may wonder whether downloading Libby and getting a library card is worth the up-front hassle. I would argue it absolutely is!
Firstly, you’ll continue to save money every month, which will compound if you put it towards extra debt payments, savings, or investments.
Secondly, once you have Libby you’ll likely read or listen to more books! It’s easier to take book recommendations from friends or explore books on a whim when there’s no cost barrier. And books, in any format, are an excellent way to expand your horizons!
Let Us Know!
Do you know of any other good ways to get e-books or audiobooks? Or of any other awesome free library perks? Let us know in the comments below!
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