I said yesterday that I’d write a post about how to get free audiobooks from the library. As a writer myself I’m kind of torn: I want people to buy my books, but I don’t want to buy books myself, for the most part. I certainly hope that a few will purchase the audiobook version of Intentional Happiness that I’m currently working so hard to finish. But since it won’t be available at the library any time soon, if ever, my conscience is clear about my telling you to use the library whenever possible. That’s what it’s there for. (I do try to be careful that I’m not stealing someone’s intellectual property; it was tempting for me to just copy the patterns I wanted in some knitting books I checked out recently, but that didn’t seem right. So I did get the books on Amazon, all three used, I believe, and can now use the patterns with a clear conscience. That is, I can use them if I ever finish the current cross-stitching project. But more on that later.)
I’m so used to having the library be a part of my life that it’s hard for me to imagine what it would be like for that not to be true. The old Ross-Barnum Library in southwest Denver (which seems to have undergone some serious spiffing up) was my favorite destination from fourth grade through high school, especially during the summer, even better than the swimming pool. I’d walk the ten blocks with Brownie, my dog, leaving her outside in the shade while I went inside to load up. I’m so tickled when I remember one particular occasion when I had checked out 10 books. (These were kids’ books, little chapter-ish ones, not big adult ones, just to be clear.) I went home and read them all. (I”m sure at some point my mother called, “Debi, are you reading?” I was probably supposed to be weeding the flowerbeds, or something. How to get your kids to love reading: make it a guilty pleasure.) Anyway, the next day I took all the books back, and when I handed them in to the librarian she remembered me from the day before and said, “Oh, didn’t you like them?” to which I replied, “Yes, I did.” I still remember the look on her face.
If you’re not a library patron, I would strongly encourage you to read this Mr. Money Mustache post, get a library card for every member of your family, and start getting your money’s worth out of the place. You’re paying for it with your taxes, after all! And the great thing is, if you’re checking out digital items such as audiobooks you don’t even have to go to the library most of the time. You just get them online. What a deal!
So, to finally get to the point of this post, here are the formats available at the library. You can see icons for the various apps on my smartphone screen above. I’ll start with
Hoopla, which I consider to be the easiest to use. They allow five downloads a month; I’m currently in the “you cannot borrow any more titles this month” phase, but I certainly can’t complain. They carry other digital content besides audiobooks.
OverDrive, which also has ebooks you can download to your computer or phone.
With both of the above the process of borrowing a book is very simple; you just follow the prompts on the library website after you’ve logged in to your account. They will also give you the option to download the app to your phone, which is what I’ve done. Other services, such as OneClick Digital and 3M Cloud Library, are listed on the library website but I’ve never seen them as providers for any book I’ve wanted. There is also a little device called a “Playaway,” each containing just one book and having to be played on its own; it can’t be downloaded to your phone. I’ve tried out one of them and it didn’t work, so I don’t think I’ll bother getting another one.
And then the dinosaur of audiobooks, the book on CD. (Well, I guess the true dinosaur would be a book on tape. Strangely, there don’t seem to be any of those on the shelves.) Unless you want to carry around a little portable CD player, or use your desktop player, or the player in your laptop, if it has one, or the CD player in your car, which they were originally made for (and which are now on the way out), you’re going to have to go through the somewhat cumbersome process of downloading the CD tracks to your computer, and then (probably) converting the format to MP3’s, and then synching to your smartphone and loading the files there. I don’t know why on earth they’re bothering to make books on CD any more, to be honest. But two brand-new titles, Arianna Huffington’s book on sleep and a fascinating-sounding one called But What If We’re Wrong?, both of which I’m dying to listen to, are only available at the library on CD. My son has redone the format for me on the Huffington book and now I just need to get it on my phone. I will use the “Smart Book Audio” app–you can see it right above Hoopla. I have the other book on hold and will get him to show me what he did so I can do it myself. (Oh, wait. Does everybody know about putting items on hold at the library? I see another post looming at some point.)
Free stuff that will give you the capability of doing two things at once–what a happy idea! I listened to a whole hour of my current book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, while I was working in the yard last evening. (Stay tuned for a review of that next week.) My mother would be so pleased if she knew–no need to yell at me to get busy!