Libby vs. hoopla — Which platform is right for you?
A much-anticipated new resource, now available at the Racine Public Library, is the digital collection hoopla. hoopla supplements the digital collection we already offer through Libby (the app version of Wisconsin’s Digital Library), and it’s another free-to-use resource at the library. That means you can get e-books and audiobooks without putting more money into the pockets of Jeffrey Bezos (i.e., Amazon).
While Libby and hoopla are similar, each comes with their own pros and cons as well as special features, so each offers something unique to the library. That means no matter how you like to enjoy your content, we’ve got a service for you. When it comes to Libby vs. hoopla, there’s no right answer, but let me tell you what I’d recommend.
Pros and Cons of hoopla
The main way hoopla is different from Libby is that it also features music, TV shows and movies — all available for download with your library card. (Wisconsin’s Digital Library does offer TV shows and movies, too, but you can’t get them through the Libby app.)
My favorite thing hoopla gives you — which you won’t find on Libby — is five instant downloads per month. That means no months-long wait lists just to borrow the second book in the series you’re reading.
The biggest draw-back I found about hoopla is that the titles available are on the older side. So you most likely aren’t going to be able to find the newest bestsellers on hoopla. Many of the titles in hoopla even come across as fan fiction about other authors and books (i.e., bibliographies and literary analyses) — which might be a plus for you, depending on what kind of reader you are! All that said, hoopla’s collection is larger than Libby’s, and it comes with more supplemental titles.
Personally, I find that hoopla is best used for TV shows and movies. However, keep in mind that with hoopla, you only have those five instant check-outs. So if you are watching the first season of the U.K. version of “The Office” on hoopla, you can only watch episodes one through five for the whole month. That said, your checkouts reset at the start of each month, regardless of when you downloaded titles in the previous month. So my advice is that if you’re starting a new season, start watching on the 30th of the month so you can binge-watch 10 episodes in short succession.
Pros and Cons of Libby
With Libby, I find that most e-books and audiobooks I am looking to read or listen to are available — even the newer or more popular ones. And if I can’t find what I’m looking for, I can always request a title for the library to purchase, which we’re great about responding to.
The biggest downside, though, is that the wait times absolutely stink. Sometimes you’ll have to wait months for a title to become available. No joke. One of my own Libby titles, “Moon of the Crusted Snow,” just became available, and I put that title on hold probably seven months ago. (Not that I’m complaining. The book is a story about the Anishinaabe nation — which you might know as the Ojibwa — so the more hands this book gets into, the better!)
To balance out the wait times, Libby does have “always available” and “Lucky Day” collections. If I don’t have any holds available, I can usually find something interesting to listen to in either one of these collections. The Lucky Day collection is especially nice since the titles are bestsellers that would usually have long waits.
Libby vs. hoopla: The Verdict
If I had to choose one platform to use over the other, I’d go with Libby. It just has more titles I’m interested in reading than hoopla does, which is hard to beat.
On the other hand, if I’m having a bad week and I need some Harry Potter comfort that I don’t have to wait weeks to access, I’m going with hoopla.
Thankfully, you don’t have to make the choice — they’re both available to all patrons of the library. Both apps have pros and cons, and they are both fantastic resources to have. And in the end, I would use either one of these apps before paying for an Audible subscription!