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This incredible app lets you rent e-books and audiobooks for free — all while helping your local library

Libby is used by libraries, schools, and companies across the country.

Book shelf Libby

Photo Credit: iStock

This digital-first world may make it seem like we've drastically reduced paper usage, and to some degree, that's true. Emails and texts have all but replaced memos and letters, online apps have made newspaper classifieds obsolete, and stores will often send you a digital copy of your receipt.

The fact remains, though, that paper consumption has risen by 400% in the past 40 years. The paper and pulp industry ranks fifth in energy consumption with an alarming 4% of the world's energy use. And according to the University of Illinois Chicago, one ton of virgin paper requires a hefty 24,000 gallons of water to produce. 

As the paper industry grapples with ways to reduce its water consumption and carbon footprint, consumers can make their own impact — simply by shifting daily habits. An easy, immediate way to make a difference? Download the Libby app.

What is Libby?

Libby is an eco-conscious reader's best friend. This free app plugs into your local library system and connects with your library card. Simply open the app, search the catalog, and check out or reserve (if all copies are in use) an eBook or audiobook of your choice.

When your eBook is ready, you can deliver it right to your Kindle (including the Kindle app on your computer or mobile device) or play your audiobook straight from the Libby app. You have 21 days to read, and, provided no one is waiting in line, you can renew your checkout and keep going, all from the comfort of home.

Today, Libby is used by libraries, schools, and companies across the country. In 2021, over 120 library systems saw readers check out a million books or more with the app.  

Two big factors are ease and accessibility. Digital books save you a trip to the library or bookstore, as you have the catalog available wherever you are with the Libby app. Rentals are automatically returned — with ample notice that your rental period is coming to an end — eliminating the risk of late fees. 

Perhaps most crucially, digital book rentals are available at zero cost, meaning new content is always in your budget. And they're portable. For many people, carrying a library in their Kindle or pocket is a lot easier than taking up space (and weight) with physical copies. 

More than that, Libby is the eco-conscious way to support your local library. Not only can you take advantage of the library catalog, but you can reduce waste by removing the need for more paper-based books. Buying physical books also requires additional packaging and transportation, too, using more energy and creating more waste.

It doesn't get much more economical and ecological than supporting your local library with Libby. To get started, join your local library, download Libby, and get reading.

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