Saturday, November 26, 2016

Hoopla: App Review

Scott D. Parker

Everyone of us has a stack of To Be Read items piled on our night stands, either real or virtual. And, let’s be honest: that can get pricey. What to do when you want to read a book and your book budget is completely blown and you’re already in deep trouble with your significant other? Go to the library! But, let’s put another obstacle in your path. What if you prefer digital content or you can’t get to your library and it’s midnight and you absolutely, positively have to start reading a book? Well, Hoopla is your answer.

Hoopla is a fantastic app. What makes it special is that it links with your local public library. When you have it set up—you’ll need a library card—you get up to 8 check-out items per month. And get a load of what’s available: movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows. All. Free. For the standard ‘checkout’ time of your library.

The books are pretty straightforward. You find an ebook you want and check it out. Ditto for comics and graphic novels. Just the other day, I discovered a James Bond graphic novel as written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Jason Masters. I’m reading it on my Kindle fire. Sweet.

Where this app shines is in the other digital content. You can stream music, movies, TV shows, and, for folks like me, audiobooks. I’m an subscriber and have been for over a decade. But there are still some books I want to listen to but I don’t have the credits for them. Enter Hoopla. For the kinds of audiobooks I consume—mysteries, westerns, thrillers—Hoopla has just about any I’d want. Right now, on my iPhone, I’m listening to the second Rio Kid western as written by Brett Halliday.

So, in case you didn’t catch that, I have the Hoopla app on my Kindle Fire and my iPhone. Every piece of content I check out is linked to every device. Naturally, I’m not gonna read the graphic novel on my phone, but I listen audio content there. I use the Fire for graphic novels and TV shows and movies.

At the end of the month, all your checked out items are ‘returned,’ i.e., removed from your device. There’s a “Recently Returned” section on your main page so you can re-check-out with ease and finish that book or TV show.

It’s a great service. And it’s free!

So, go ahead and let your TBR stack rise to the rafters. Yeah, you’ll buy a lot of books, but let Hoopla be your best kept secret. You can support your local library and still consume the content you wanna consume, and your significant other won’t complain about going over your book budget every month. It’s a win-win all around.

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