During my crusade to promote reading in my home, our local librarian was telling my family about Libby. It’s a reading and audio app that allows you to borrow digital copies of items you’re library carries. She told us that she uses it to listen to audiobooks during her commute. To be honest, e-books aren’t my favorite way to read. Nor is listening to audiobooks. I don’t mind reading webcomics and manga on my devices. Out of curiosity, I downloaded the app and started searching for manga.
What is Libby?
Technically, Libby is the latest version of Overdrive. It’s free to download. No subscription fees, late fees, or in-app purchases. If it sounds to good to be true, you’re wrong. All you need is a library card.
Although there are select libraries that’ll let you set up an account with your phone number, most want you to apply for a physical card first. Libby’s library search will let you know what participating libraries are in your area.
Check Out and Returns
If you find a title that you want to borrow. Click, Borrow. If you library card isn’t verified, it’ll ask for you account information. Enter you username and password. If you’re library account is valid you’ll be able to borrow an item for a specified number of days. Be advised, the clock starts from the minute you borrowed it. Since the return process is automated, you’re item will be returned promptly. It’s not going to return at 11:59 PM. If you borrowed it at 3:30 PM, it’ll return to the digital library at 3:30 PM. The only loophole for returns are items that are actively being used at the return time. If the borrowers time is up and they close the item, it will be returned unfinished.
To Hold or Not To Hold
Did someone beat you to the punch? No worries Libby let’s you place holds on the titles you want to borrow. To prevent hoarding there is a limit to the amount of items you can borrow and place on hold. If you’re worried about wasting holds, Libby let’s you know how many holds the item has, as well as, it’s estimated return. Keep in mind, borrowers can return checked items early.
If you’re placing holds to avoid forgetting where you found the item, there’s a better way to keep track of books you want to read. Create a tag. This way, you can quickly find the item and borrow it when you’re ready. For now, I only have TBR list. I’ll probably create lists for specific manga genres at a later date. Libby’s sort tool is useful, but it gets really old searching through 1,000+ manga when I’m in the mood to borrow new titles.
Manga I’ve Read So Far
Some consumers may argue these types of rentals take money away from publishing companies that offer access to digital content for a small fee. The way I see it, borrowing manga from Libby gives libraries a reason to request manga for their digital and physical library. For example, I was able to resume Komi Can’t Communicate, because of Libby. My physical library only has the Volume and and Two. The same goes for My Hero Academia Vigilantes. Thanks to Libby, I’ve started reading both series chronologically.
I am willing to read out of sequence. Usually, this happens because I’m waiting for the anime to catch up to the manga. At this point it’s highly unlikely that Snow White with the Red Hair will get a third season. I decided to search for the source material and read it for free. Through Libby, my library had Volume One thru Nineteen. That’s about $200 worth of Manga. Sure, I don’t get to keep it. It’s better than creasing the spine of a manga at Barnes & Nobles 😅.
Sometimes it is tricky reading Manga with Libby. Depending on the size of the text, I have to zoom in and out of the speech bubbles. It initial zoom is small. If you’d rather us Kindle, Libby offers a Kindle reading experience for most titles. Not bad for FREE99.