Books

Where To Borrow Audiobooks in Houston

Here's how you can access nearly 85,000 books from the palm of your hand.

By Amarie Gipson February 3, 2022

The Houston Public Library's ebook and audiobook collection hit one million checkouts in 2021. 

IT'S FEBRUARY, AND YOU HAVE YET TO FINISH the first book on your 2022 reading list. Between the balance of work and more work, reading is one New Year's goal that often goes unconquered. Thankfully, the Houston Public Library is making reading much more accessible by providing free access to nearly 85,000 titles online. 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic's prolonged impact on physical library access, the demand for digital books has spiked in the past two years as readers from all over the world seek new titles and communities through virtual book clubs. In 2021, the HPL reported one million ebook and audiobook checkouts, ranking it amongst the top 70 in the entire world

"The massive increase in circulation of our digital materials shows how important they are to the people we serve," Patrick Atkins, the HPL's Deputy Assistant Director of Library Material Services, said in a library statement. Atkins oversees the library system's circulation infrastructure for new digital and print acquisitions and trains the librarians at over 40 library locations. 

It's one of those resources in Houston you don't think about until you need it. If you're looking for a book to read with the proper access, you might want to download the HPL reading app called Libby before you start adding things to your Amazon.com queue.

HPL's vast digital holdings include books for all ages and genres. In 2021, Delia Owen's 2018 novel Where the Crawdads Sing topped the ebook circulation list, while former First Lady Michelle Obama's best-selling memoir Becoming was the #1 audiobook in circulation. For those who love romance novels, it was reported as the most popular book genre, along with mystery and autobiographical titles. 

Readers can browse and access HPL's ebooks and audiobooks anytime through the Libby free library reading app. All you need is a valid library card.

For more information on the Houston Public Library's digital collection, visit here.

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