Library Audiobooks: Overdrive vs Hoopla

A Guest Post from Christine @ The Uncorked Librarian

You probably know that Lovely Audiobooks is all about the cheap and free audiobooks. And while Kindle Unlimited and Audible Escape offer a whole lot of choice, they mostly have self-published books.

So, what to do when you crave some of the popular traditionally published books? You go to your library! Or their website, because… it is 2019, after all.

And who better to teach us about getting audiobooks from your local library than an actual librarian?!

My wonderful friend Christine who blogs as The Uncorked Librarian wrote a very helpful introduction for us into the world of library audiobooks. Thank you, Christine!

Let’s see what she can tell us about Overdrive vs Hoopla…

**The marked links and book covers on this page are affiliate links. If you use them to purchase something, I earn a fee at no additional cost for you. Disclosure**

Library Audiobooks

A guest post by The Uncorked Librarian

Did you know that you could easily borrow books from the library without ever leaving your home? Library audiobooks are the fastest and simplest downloads that you can access from your favorite reading spot. Plus, these audiobooks are perfect for avid travelers and commuters. Most modern libraries offer apps like Hoopla, Overdrive, and Libby to download your favorite audiobook selections. Learn about the pros and cons of Overdrive vs Hoopla.

Back in my librarian days, I landed in hideous 3-hour work commutes with the crazy Florida traffic. I devoured audiobooks just as fast as I drink an oaked Chardonnay. My best friends were library audiobooks, and yup, you might catch me sobbing in my car to The Fault In Our Stars.

I also spent my early librarian career providing one-on-one computer and tech help, focusing on teaching people how to use their devices and digital library services. Ok, maybe I once taught an older lady how to Google ‘Spark Notes’ for her book club. Oops. What many library patrons also did not know were the benefits of library audiobooks through apps like Hoopla and Overdrive.

Libraries’ Digital Resources and Apps

Hoopla and Overdrive are just two library databases and applications that are pretty universal across libraries for accessing free books and audiobooks. You can also find magazines, movies, and music depending on your library’s budget and digital service offerings.

Since Hoopla and Overdrive helped me survive my long drives, I know you’ll love them too. Library apps are user-friendly, work on most devices, and take minutes to use.

Below are a few tips to get you started with library audiobooks and a comparison of Overdrive vs Hoopla. Don’t forget the best part: borrowing digital books is free. Well…minus your tax dollars working hard…

Overdrive vs Hoopla

You do not have to be tech-savvy to download library apps or use them. Most libraries provide guides and cheat sheets online or at the reference desk. If you get stuck, never hesitate to call or head to the reference desk for clarifying questions.

Library Audiobooks: Overdrive

How To Get Started With Overdrive

Overdrive is the OG of library audiobook and ebook apps. In order to use Overdrive, you will need a working library card. Don’t forget that like regular books, typically your library will block access to loans if you owe money or your card expired. They know all. I start with the bad news first only because patrons always tripped up here and would call it quits on their tech before even downloading their first e-title.

A working library card in order, check!

Next, be sure to head over to your library’s homepage and click through their digital services to see what they offer. You should find ebooks and audiobooks listed or databases like Overdrive and Hoopla. If you see these, get ready for magic.

Download The Overdrive App

Once you know your library offers Overdrive, grab your device of choice and download the Overdrive app for free. Set-up a free account usually with some of the following information: your library card number, location, email, and a password. You will not get spammed.

Search for libraries in the system and favorite the one you frequent the most. If your library is part of a larger system, typically no matter which branch you pick will connect you to all of the e-goodies.

How To Use Overdrive

Once you have the Overdrive app downloaded, you can start searching for library audiobooks.

With Overdrive, like non-digital library items, you might have to place an item on hold. You can also add books to a “wish list.” Ebooks will still have a loan period of 1-3 three weeks depending on your library system. However, there are no fines or late fees because the titles are automatically removed via Wi-Fi once they expire. Yes, you can
check them out again, too, and renew them if available.

Check your library loan limit for ebooks. In Florida, I was allowed three at a time. For CT, I could have triple that amount (taxes, y’all). As soon as you return titles, you can check out more.

A Few Overdrive Downfalls

With Overdrive, you might have to wait for high demand titles. As in slowly perish over the next Janet Evanovich or Jodi Picoult. Also, as audiobook lovers, not every library system uses Overdrive for audiobooks, although I have yet to encounter this atrocity. I recommend moving to a better town if this is the case. Just kidding. Maybe.

Some library systems offer Libby, which is Overdrive’s ignored child. Like Overdrive, there is an app and you
create a free account. I have yet to use Libby.

Library Audiobooks: Hoopla

Hoopla is equally a fabulous little free app where you make a free account. Basically, you mimic the same process as Overdrive. Here is where Overdrive vs Hoopla comes into play, although I recommend using both.

With Hoopla, there are no waitlists and no holds. Who doesn’t love instant gratification? TMI?!

With over half a million titles, you will have slightly less of a selection than Overdrive because Hoopla includes a huge movie, music, and video database. Titles change out frequently.

Like Overdrive, you have a limited number of titles you can check out; however, once you meet this limit, you are cut off for the month. Even if you return a book early, you cannot surpass the max monthly check out. I feel like Hoopla is an evil bartender…

Audiobooks are three-week loans on Hoopla whereas movies might be 3 days.

Overdrive vs Hoopla Conclusion

This rogue and boozy librarian loves both Hoopla and Overdrive for audiobooks. Because they offer different selections for different time periods, I highly recommend using both.

Don’t forget that the perks for Hoopla and Overdrive include:

  • Overdrive and Hoopla are free to use with a library card.
  • You can access your digital library from anywhere.
  • When you download an audiobook, you are no longer streaming and using data.
  • There are no late fees or fines.
  • Library audiobook apps are incredibly easy to use.

Have you used Overdrive and Hoopla yet? What are the pros and cons of Overdrive vs Hoopla for you? Do you have any questions?

Overdrive vs Hoopla Guest Post Contributor

Guest Post by: Christine F. of The Uncorked Librarian, a bookish travel blog. Christine is a rogue librarian and new female entrepreneur. She loves to write book lists that inspire wanderlust like Books Set In Iceland and books that make you think differently about the world. Check out her literary travels, too, such as The Baltics For Book Lovers.

As a boozy sommelier, she adores brewery yoga, adopting ALL of the cats, and a glass of oaked Chardonnay overlooking the Sicilian vineyards. There isn’t a bookstore, library, or winery that can hide from Christine. Please join her as she pops the cork to read and drink her way around this tipsy world: Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter

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9 thoughts on “Library Audiobooks: Overdrive vs Hoopla”

  1. Thank you so much for asking me to crack out and use my former desk-job librarian skills for this post. I’m honored to write for your blog, and I love working with you in our little book community. Your advice is always so helpful, and I adore your audiobook suggestions.

    I hope these library apps and info help your readers/listeners get the most out of their libraries.

    Thanks, again!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to teach me about this! I really had no idea and have only now found out that I actually have a library close-ish by that uses Overdrive. Total gamechanger 🙂

        1. It had never even crossed my mind that this was a thing, digital downloads from your library. Since I am quite the digital reader (I have my holy book shelves but there hasn’t been much movement in the last few years), I thought libraries didn’t “apply to me” anymore. I know better now 🙂

  2. I’ve been hearing about both of these and I really need to check them out! I’ve been wanting to try and get into audiobooks but truthfully it hasn’t been in the budget recently. Hopefully, my library offers these because I live in a pretty small town.

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