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Hoopla Digital (US)

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hoopladigital.com

When is the last time that you went to the library? Maybe last year? Longer? Maybe 5 years ago? I have a friend who claims that she hasn’t been to the public library in over 10 years. At first, this sounded unbelievable to me. Then I thought about it, and I realized that it had probably been around 5 years since I have visited my local library, myself. Wow, time really does just fly away from you, doesn’t it?

The library as an institution perhaps hasn’t been in the worst state than it is today. First, there is the fact that fewer people read today than ever before in history. And those of us who do read tend to do so on our devices. Maybe I’ll read a New York Times article on my phone or pick up my Kindle when I want to read the latest bestseller. Local libraries, as underfunded and underappreciated as they are, have had quite a difficult time making the leap into the digital age.

Then, of course, this coronavirus lockdown has been a travesty in countless ways … to so many people, families, and small businesses. One of the victims of the pandemic, though, that we don’t talk about as much is, you guessed it, the local library. Seeing as the next COVID stimulus package in the United States is likely to call for an end to local and state funding by the Federal government, libraries may struggle to stay open at all (the same is true of many other valuable community services).

Fortunately, though, there is a way to support your local library without violating your state or county’s stay at home orders. Finally, there is a streaming site that makes it easier than ever to borrow movies, music, and eBooks from the library. Thanks to the free streaming site, Hoopla Digital, you don’t even have to leave your living room to borrow movies and books. You can stream them directly to your device, in a matter of seconds!

The first thing that stood out to me about Hoopla Digital is its name. Hoopla! How much fun is that to say? Well, the definition of the word, too, I think reaffirms this. A Hoopla is a boisterous or jovial commotion or excitement. It also refers to extravagant publicity. Considering the fact that Hoopla Digital works directly with libraries to stream content, this name is probably one of the cleverer names that I have come across. It works on multiple levels. Not only is Hoopla Digital an exciting or jovial commotion, but libraries are also a public service. I have always appreciated a good play on words!

So, how does Hoopla work exactly? My first big thought when I learned about this novel streaming service was, ‘that sounds great, but I can’t help but wonder how they make money.’ You know, because libraries are free and Hoopla Digital doesn’t require you to have anything more than your library card … it turns out, Hoopla Digital is able to provide its free movie streaming based on what is called a “per circulation transaction model.”

Essentially, what this means is that Hoopla Digital makes its money by charging participating libraries based on how much server space they use (how many simultaneous streams they enable). In other words, if your library only pays X amount which allows for 5 simultaneous streams and you are the 6th person who wants to watch borrow that title at a given time, it will be marked as unavailable. It’s a pretty brilliant business model when you think about it.

Hoopla Digital is no small-time streaming operation either. They offer 500,000 titles across 6 different formats. All of which are 100% free (so long as you have a library card). Add to this the fact that you can use Hoopla Digital on your home computer, laptop, or Android or iOS device (via native apps … which are quite good, I might add), and you have the makings of what is easily one of the best free streaming services available today.

So, why not support your local library today by using Hoopla Digital? Well, let us delve in and take a closer look at everything that Hoopla Digital has to offer. There is only one way to see whether a streaming site is right for you, and that is to look at its design, features, content selection, mobile offerings, and everything else. Without further ado, I give you Hoopla Digital.

Design

Maybe this is a product of my own bias, but I was shocked to see how well Hoopla Digital was designed. From its sleek, clean, and modern look to its flawless functionality, this doesn’t look or feel like anything affiliated with the public library that I have ever seen. The feel of the site is fun, professional, and lighthearted; it offers a bright blue and white theme that works to prop up highly organized and efficient browsing features.

You can browse Hoopla Digital by content type, search keyword, format, user rating, release date, added date, and language. The search engine also allows you to filter for children’s content only and certain other exclusions. There are also plenty of sorting options that will make it as simple as can be to find precisely what it is that you’re looking for.

Hoopla Digital is just about as simple, intuitive, and user-friendly as it gets.

Content and Features

As I mentioned earlier, Hoopla Digital offers over 500,000 titles. Plus, you can borrow just about any kind of content imaginable (so long as it is something that could be found in your local library). Here is a full breakdown of what Hoopla Digital lets you borrow, as well as how much of the library each content type comprises:

  • Audiobooks: 35%
  • Movies: 22%
  • Music: 19%
  • eBooks: 12%
  • Comics: 6%
  • TV: 6%

In case you are worried about the quality of content available on Hoopla, they have contracts with all of the top publishers and studios (Harpers Collins, Simon & Schuster, Disney, Lionsgate, Starz, Warner Bros., and many more).

Other than that, Hoopla Digital is very straightforward. Browse their expansive library of titles, find the one you like, and check if it is available. If so, just click “borrow,” and let the entertainment begin! The only other notable feature would be that you can also quickly and easily add titles to your favorites list, allowing you to return to books or movies later (should they not be available at the moment, or perhaps you are not ready to borrow them quite yet but don’t want to forget about them).

Hoopla Digital, once again, is one of the best free streaming sites on the web. Why more people don’t know about this service is beyond me!

Mobile and Desktop Experience

Hoopla Digital might just have the best free streaming app that I have ever seen. It is every bit as clean, smooth, and user-friendly as the desktop site (if not more so). Quickly and conveniently browse hundreds of thousands of eBooks, audiobooks, movies, and music with a remarkably dynamic and intuitive interface.

Available on both iOS and Android devices, the Hoopla Digital app is definitely one that you should download ASAP. But don’t just take my word for it. Take the average user rating of 4.8 (out of 5) that the app has on the Apple App Store into account as well. I am clearly not the only one who loves this app.

Pricing and Plans

Hoopla is as free as the library. Never pay for any of the movies, audiobooks, eBooks, shows, comics, or whatever that you borrow from Hoopla Digital. Of course, the only potential downside to this could be if your local library does not participate with Hoopla. Then you are kind of out of luck. However, there is a large (and ever-growing) network of public libraries that cooperate with Hoopla Digital, at least to some extent.

Conclusion

All in all, it really doesn’t get much better than Hoopla Digital when it comes to free streaming movies, music, audiobooks, and eBooks. All you need is a library card, and you can begin borrowing today, from a great site and with awesome design and plenty of titles. If your library doesn’t participate with Hoopla, however, then there is not much you can do about it, unfortunately. But it is definitely worth going over to hoopladigital.com today to find out!

Likes & Hates:
Great site and app design
100% free with no ads
500,000+ titles available
Broad range of content types
Need a library card to use
Not all libraries work with Hoopla Digital