What is Hoopla? And how does it work? (2024)

Hoopla is a must-have app for audiobook fans because it lets you use your library card to get digital audiobooks!

Let’s check out how exactly this works…

What is Hoopla?

Hoopla is a digital library platform that offers audiobooks, ebooks, comics, music, and movies.

You don’t need to sign up for Hoopla and the service itself is free. But you do need a working library card that is neither expired nor owes money.

Is Hoopla free?

Hoopla Digital itself is free to use. But you need a library card from a participating library. And those aren’t always free.

So whether this audiobook app is free for you depends on two things: Whether or not your local library offers Hoopla access and whether or not you can get a free card from a public library.

I pay $50 a year for my library card but found that it is absolutely worth it for my 10 Hoopla borrows per month. No other audiobook subscription can compete with this!

Is Hoopla safe?

Hoopla is generally considered safe to use, even for children if an age rating is set. The content is curated by librarians, it’s a partner of public libraries, and the app doesn’t offer any purchases.

The app has 4.8 stars in the Apple app store and 4.7 stars with over 1 million downloads in the Google Play store.

Can you use Hoopla without a library card?

No, Hoopla only works with a library ID. However, some libraries offer memberships to out-of-state residents or even internationally! These cards usually cost a yearly fee. But they are still much cheaper than comparable audiobook subscriptions.

How does Hoopla work?

Simply go to the website, click on register, then choose your library, add your library card number, and set an email address and password. That’s it!

Once we’re logged in, we can access the Hoopla content and browse through everything they offer. When I find a book I like, I simply click on the Borrow button and it’s added to “My Hoopla” which shows all my current borrows, recently returned books, and how many borrows I have left for that month.

It also tells you when your current borrows will be returned. You usually have 21 days (3-week loans) for any bookish type of content, and 3 days for movies and TV shows.

You can access Hoopla from mobile devices, your computer, and even some TVs. And you can stream content or download it.

The Audiobooks catalog in the Hoopla app (What is Hoopla?)
The Audiobooks tab in the Hoopla app

Hoopla App

The Hoopla app is one of my absolute favorite audiobook apps because it is so stable and easy to use.

I always find it very comfortable to browse for new audiobooks here. Hoopla offers great filtering options to check out books that are recently released or new in the catalog.

In the app, click on the Audiobooks button, then on Genres and Collections. In the image below, I went to the Genres tab, clicked on Romance from the list, then set the Sort button to Release Date so I have the newest audiobooks visible at the top.

How does Hoopla work? In the app, you can browse audiobooks by genre and release date, among many other filter options and recommendations

The player itself looks very polished and pretty and has all the features we need: Narration speed on a slider, sleep timer, bookmarks, and so on.

This is such a nice app and it never gives me any trouble on my Samsung devices.

Screenshot of the Hoopla app audiobook player
Screenshot of the Hoopla app audiobook player

Libby vs Hoopla

A while ago, I had a chat with Christine from The Uncorked Librarian (who is, in fact, a real librarian) about library audiobooks and we compared Libby vs Hoopla.

  • Libby and Hoopla are both free to use with a library card.
  • There are no late fees or fines as digital content is returned automatically on both.
  • Hoopla has no wait time, Libby does.
  • You can put books on hold in Libby. That isn’t necessary in Hoopla as you get instant downloads.
  • Most libraries offer more Libby borrows than Hoopla borrows.
  • Hoopla has a better sound quality than Libby.
  • On both platforms, once your borrows are used up, you have to wait for the next month. But you can get more than one library card for more books!

Do Authors earn from Hoopla Borrows?

I recently saw someone equate borrowing a book from the library to piracy as – so they falsely claimed – the authors would not receive royalties. That is so, so untrue and I wanted to include this info here so you can borrow Hoopla audiobooks in good conscience.

Authors and publishers choose which audiobooks to offer in Hoopla and they can decide how they want to be compensated, either per download or by selling a high-priced library copy that includes a set number of downloads.

So yes, authors absolutely earn royalties from every Hoopla borrow. Every download benefits them, either because they get paid directly or because your download indicates to the library that it is a popular book. In that case, the library will buy another library copy once the downloads are used up.

I hope I could answer all your questions regarding Hoopla audiobooks. If not, give me a poke! I’m always happy to help.

Also, check out my list of the best audiobooks in Hoopla to get you started with something excellent to listen to!

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