Full disclosure: My original plan was to do a “3 Best Places to Find Free Ebooks, Music, and Movies” column in which I found three different but great sites.
Then I discovered that one great site in particular stood out as having the best overall mix of everything. So, I thought that instead of sending you to the farthest corners of the Internet for all your free content needs, I could direct you to a single, convenient destination.
You and I are busy people, so let’s get straight to the point, okay?
That’s the place: Hoopla. What’s the trick? There are three.
First, you will need a library card. That part is not so difficult. Second, your library must be a Hoopla partner. That doesn’t seem too 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 batch of libraries on board.
And finally, the third drawback, and it’s fair, is that Hoopla acts as a library, which means that it is “borrowing” content for a set number of days. However, unlike a real library, you don’t need to worry about returning things you’ve borrowed on time. It will expire on its own and you won’t be able to access it unless you borrow it again.
It depends on the publisher, but most movies and TV shows are available for three days. Most music is available for seven days. Most books, including audiobooks, e-books, and comics, are available for 21 days.
Now your local library will also decide how many items you can borrow at one time. Mine is capped at 10.
Your library will also decide whether to allow renewals. If so, you will receive a message 24 hours before your content is due to be returned asking if you would like to borrow it again.
How is the content?
Is it the same as subscribing to Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Peacock, and HBO Max at the same time? No, it’s not. However, Hoopla isn’t just a repository for old public domain books and underperforming independent movies, either. 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 e-books.
So, there is something for everyone and plenty to binge on. Do you have the Charm soundtrack, the Harry Potter series, hot in cleveland with the late and great Betty White and of course the terrific coming-of-age hit 13 going to 30. There are also many rags, but free is free.
Perhaps the best part, especially if you like to watch movies and TV, is that Hoopla has apps for Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, and Roku. There are also apps for iPhone and Android.