• long running

Free eMagazines, eBooks & Audiobooks Borrowing with Local Library Membership @ The Libby App by OverDrive


This deal has been shared on OzBargain before, but the libraries tend to change their apps & process every few years.

For those not in the know: you can get free digital access to a large collection of magazines, eBooks and audio books via your local library and an app called Libby (Overdrive).

All you need is:

  • A member card of any local library;
  • Download the Libby app via iOS or Android app store. (or via browser: https://libbyapp.com/ )
  • Log in with your library card number.

Voila! Free stuff. The Libby app is new and much better than the predecessors (RBDigital, Overdrive etc).
Pretty much any magazine you can buy in stores, freely available here.

Good to know:

  • Libby/Audio books work really well with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Remembers your progress;
  • Magazines work really well on tablets. I use Libby on a ChromeOS Lenovo Duet.
  • Completely free, no catch other than you need to have a library member card - which is free pretty much anywhere.

Related Stores

The Libby App by OverDrive
The Libby App by OverDrive


    • +21

      Agreed, it's always been free. But I'm always surprised how many people are unaware of it, and how easy it is to access.

        • +3

          That's what the negs are for…

  • +49

    Free is a great bargain, and I do not search forums so I'm glad you posted it here.
    Don't listen to the naysayers
    Cheers ! :)

    • +3

      and I do not search forums

      Well you are missing out on a whole bunch of 'always free' stuff then…

      • +1

        that looks like a rabbit hole that will consume my lunch break :) ty for link

    • -5

      Free is a great bargain

      If something is always free, it is not a bargain as there is no savings

    • -5

      Air is free as well, let's put up a new post for Air.

  • So you can't use this on desktop?

  • +3

    Why does some Libraries have both Libby and Borrow Box?

    • -3

      Why does some Libraries and Kanopy and Beamafilm?

    • +8

      They are competing subscription services and will usually have access to different titles. Borrow Box has more local Australian contents.

      • Thank you for your reply.

      • Varies from library to library of course but I've found my local library has better ebook coverage on Libby and better audiobook coverage on Borrow Box. Definitely pays to check out each, though the Libby app is much slicker.

    • They are both great, and if your library has both, get both. eBooks are close to the same on both (some niche stuff like Mills and Boon is mostly only on BorrowBox), but Audiobooks are very heavily skewed to exclusives these days.

      BorrowBox has exclusive Bolinda (parent company) audiobook titles, and there is some pretty great stuff in there. They also have first party Audible titles which you can't get anywhere else.

      OverDrive has exclusives on a bunch of good stuff as well, as well as timed exclusives for eBooks from some of the big publishers.

      There is other platforms that also have their own exclusives as well. Ulverscroft have their own, Bibliotheca, etc.

  • +2

    Saved me during lockdown for the kids! Brisbane Library works on there.

  • Thanks for the reminder Kontiki. Very useful, much appreciated :)

    • -3

      This isn't OzReminder though…

      • +7

        It’s not Ozjvhavinganendlessfnwhinge either, and yet

        • +1

          Have you reserved that domain name?

        • +3

          JV really gets his knickers in a twist over the sanctity of bargains.

  • +8

    For those of you who have multiple library cards, you can search multiple libraries at once on overdrive.com for the books you want. Just save all your libraries on their site.
    Each library has different apps including borrowbox, cloudlibrary and axis library which can make it tedious to search through each one for a book.

  • +3

    Also, many libraries allow you to recommend a book for purchase if they don't carry it.

  • +1

    You are eligible to sign up for a free membership to any public libraries within your state. Most of them allow you to sign up online and have immediate access to their eLibrary/digital collection.

    • +1

      I find many people are not aware this includes magazines as well. In most libraries you are not allowed to borrow their magazines, you have to read them then and there.

      To be able to download/stream the magazines at your own leisure is IMHO pretty neat.

    • Some council libraries eg ryde now restrict access to elibrary to local residents or restricts other LGA residents to lower subscription costs. Soon they will cease universal access unless you are a rate payer.

      • I wonder who made this short sighted decision. My understanding is that the library funding is somewhat tied to usage. The more people use the library services, the easier for them to justify their funding. Restricting access can only lead to decrease in people using the library.

        If subscription cost is an issue, libraries should consider banding together to negotiate as a consortium.

        • Allocation of funding within the grants provided by councils and state governments to libraries is linked to usage, eg if a product is getting more usage, a larger slice of the funding is generally allocated to it, but higher usage is unlikely to lead to a bigger overall pot of funding for the library service.

          There is so many things competing for the funding within the library (services, technology, programs, physical collections, buildings, etc) all of them have to fight to get the funds they need. Often digital collections will get allocated an amount of money to be split between their products and then the librarians have to work out how to spread it around. This is all after they have negotiated for the overall pot of funding from their councils etc.

          Negotiating as a consortium is complicated and requires a lot of cooperation (which is not always something librarians do well!). Its also not generally the subscription cost that is expensive, its the content within the subscription. Libraries have to buy the titles that are in their collections, and the have to buy extra copies of the titles to have enough copies to keep the wait times on holds down. I can pretty much guarantee you that no libraries want to restrict their items, but are often forced to do so as a library who has a particular resource that no one else does or does a great job of having the new titles asap will find people outside of the customer base that their funding is supposed to support making wait times etc longer for their customer base.

  • Anyone knows if this has newspapers too?

    • +5

      Yes. It depends on the library you have access to.

      Melbourne Public Libraries

      Press Readers has many regional and international newspapers.

      You can read The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

      News Corp newspapers (Herald Sun etc..) do not provide access to public libraries.

  • Lobby is a lot slower than the previous app

    • Was that RBDigital? I had a lot of issues with that one. Crashes, not saving progress etc.

    • You can still get the previous OverDrive app from the app store or Google play, but after Feb next year you won't be able to download it anymore and it will stop working completely around the end of next year.

  • +2

    With US libraries you can borrow to Kindle using Libby. Don’t know why you can’t using Australian libraries (or at least my local library).

    • +1

      I think that's mostly a restriction on Amazon's end tbh

    • +1

      Amazon don't play nice with libraries. Why give stuff away for "free" when you can make it difficult enough that people will just give in and pay you money for it?

  • Parramatta not on the list n Ryde library only allows their LGA residents access to Libby.

    • +1

      Yes - the next nearest is the Hills Library, but again same issue - LGA residents only.

      However Parra has access to equivalent services BorrowBox, Pressreader, Beamafilm etc. See here and here

      For other LGAs, check your local library site, or there's always these 'national' ones: here and here

    • +1

      Fyi Wollongong Library let's you sign up online on their website, regardless of where you are. They have access to Libby, BorrowBox, Hoopla, full LinkedIn Learning access, Kanopy… The works.

      • +1

        Thanks very much for this. Will try to sign up.

        • Doesnt work. Only get a temporary number but cant be used to log in. Need to go into library to get card and set PIN

  • +2

    Thanks for the post I would have never known about this if it wasn’t here & just in the forum, though it has been ages since I last went to the library, I can at least read some of the books/mags on my phone with this. I had no clue that there was an app to access the books from my library, in the times of lockdown this will come in handy. Finally some use of my rusting library card.

    • +2

      Be mindful that some libraries suspends long unused accounts and/or force the holder to renew every few years to remain active.

      • This is what has happened to me when I tried to use the app, lol. Now I have to send emails to the local library for reactivation or alternatively will have to apply for an E-membership

        • Parramatta library requires the cardholder to show the card and proof of residency to reactivate at one of their libraries, which are closed due to the current lockdown.

          • @naruto128: I just emailed my library informing them about the deactivation and they replied “ Your membership has been reactivated. You should now be able to login to our e-resources…”

  • +5

    Having fun isn't hard when you got a (digital) library card!
    You can get digital memberships to many libraries from your home. Hume, YPRL, and Melbourne library service has good digital collections.
    You can also access Linkedin learning for free. Story box library is great for the kids.

    • +1

      The Linkedin Learning with the library card, I did not know!
      This will be quite useful, thanks for the knowledge.

  • +2

    PIN = password

  • +3

    This is great, especially if you have a tablet or enormous phone. No need to pay subscription fees or buy digital books.

  • +2

    BorrowBox and Hoopla are also great. I've been using these for years but didn't think to share, massive shout-out to the OP on a great post

  • +1

    It never occurred to me to post my libraries' services as bargains but you're totally right. Wollongong Library has access to HEAPS of digital services fyi, all accessible for free and you don't have to be a resident of the Wollongong area. 👀

  • I use this for CHOICE magazine thumbsup

    • Which library you use? I could not find CHOICE magazine in my two public libraries [Manningham & Boroondara] in VIC :(

  • +1

    For NSW residents with a library card from any NSW library, you can also access ebooks and audiobooks via the IndyReads/Odilo app. This is an initiative of the State Library of NSW.


  • Thanks OP.

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