Full disclosure: My original plan was to do a “3 best places to find free ebooks, music and movies” column where I found three different but excellent sites.
Then I discovered that one excellent site in particular stood out for having the best overall combination of everything. So I figured that instead of sending you to the furthest corners of the internet for all your free content needs, I could direct you to one convenient destination.
You and I are busy people, so let’s cut to the chase, shall we?
This is the website: Hoopla. What is the problem? There are three.
First, you’ll need a library card. This part is not that difficult. Second, your library must be a Hoopla partner. That doesn’t seem super difficult either. I live in a small town, and our library works with Hoopla.
You can check this map to see if your library is on board. Please do this before creating an account.
As you can see on the map, there is a Many onboard libraries.
And finally, the third problem – and fair enough – is that Hoopla works like a library, which means you are “borrowing” content for a certain number of days. Unlike a real library, however, you don’t have to worry about returning borrowed material on time. It will expire on its own and will not be accessible to you unless you borrow it again.
It depends on the publisher, but most movies and TV shows are available for three days. Most songs are available for seven days. Most books – including audiobooks, e-books and comics – are available for 21 days.
Your local library will now also decide how many items you can borrow at a time. Mine has a limit of 10.
Your library will also decide whether to allow renewals. If this happens, you will receive a message 24 hours before your content is returned asking if you would like to borrow it again.
How is the content?
Is this the same as subscribing to Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Peacock and HBO Max all at once? No, it’s not. However, Hoopla is also not just a repository of old public domain books and underperforming independent films. There is real content here.
To get an idea of what’s available, check out these pages for popular movies, popular shows, popular music, and popular ebooks.
So, there’s a little bit of everything for everyone and a lot to binge. You have the Charm soundtrack, the Harry Potter series, hot in cleveland with the late great Betty White and, of course, the excellent coming-of-age hit 13 Continuing 30. There are lots of duds, too, but free is free.
Perhaps the best part, especially if you like watching movies and TV, is that Hoopla has apps for Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, and Roku. There are apps for iPhone and Android too.