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Libby Tips & Tricks

6 tips to read more in 2024 with the Libby app

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Jan 19, 2024

I spend so much time on my phone and truthfully, a lot of that time is spent scrolling Instagram or TikTok. (Is anyone else following along with the 9-month long Ultimate World Cruise like I am? Shout out to cruise passenger @angielinderman on TikTok who mentioned she’s been reading a lot on her Kindle thanks to the Libby app!)

I’d love to switch my habit to do less scrolling and even more reading. Last year, I set a goal of reading 40 books and ended the year a little over that, at 42. This year, I’ve decided to be ambitious and increase my goal to 50.

Here are some easy tweaks in the Libby app that help me read more and can help you hit your reading goals this year:

Increase audiobook speed to get through books faster

I know this may be controversial but… I listen to most audiobooks at 1.25x speed by default. Depending on the narrator, I may end up at 1.5x, 1.75x or even 2x speed. (Gasp!)

There are some purists who would never imagine speeding up an audiobook and others who scoff at 1.5x like I’m an amateur. Libby lets you fine-tune your playback to a custom speed between 0.6 - 3x! I can’t in good faith recommend 3x speed, but as a Gilmore Girls fan, I’m used to keeping up with fast-paced dialogue so increasing the playback speed makes sense to my brain.

I love this TikTok from my favorite librarian on social media, Mychal at the Solano County Library, sharing a story of how a kid looking for audiobooks on CD was introduced to Libby and adjustable audiobook speeds.

Try it before you borrow it

You know that feeling of starting a book and you just can’t get into it? I’m not going to name names because it’s a new year and we’re leading with kindness, but there are some audiobooks where I didn’t love the narration. Sometimes a narrator can be so distracting that I get hung up on that instead of the plot!

That’s why I love the option to sample an ebook or audiobook before I borrow it in Libby. Will I jive with this narrator? I can find out before I use one of my checkouts, take up shelf space or waste time. Plus, there’s a “Sampled” smart tag that gets added so when I’m browsing for what to read next, I can see what I’ve sampled and it’ll jog my memory.

Tag your TBR listTags in the Libby app

Speaking of tags, I use them to help curb my habit of browsing aimlessly. There are always new and shiny things to read but I sometimes end up with decision paralysis and can’t pick anything. This year, I decided to dive into NPR’s Books We Love curated list, so I created a custom tag to easily find those books. Now, when I’m ready for my next read, I click my “Books We ❤️” tag in Libby, filter by “Available Now” and select from that list.

Fun fact: If you’re someone who uses Goodreads to track your reading, did you know that Libby allows you to export your tags so you can import them to Goodreads? You can also export your activity for your own tracking whether that’s in a spreadsheet or on a platform like StoryGraph.

Don’t be afraid to return books early

I do not fear the DNF. Books with the DNF (or Did Not Finish) label aren’t a sign of failure for me.

I know some folks start reading and are committed to finishing, even if the story isn’t hooking them. If I’m not into it, I’m returning the book early, enjoying the flower explosion and borrowing my next read (which is free BTW. Thanks, public libraries!).

Collect library cards like infinity stones

If not already obvious, I’m on the “BookTok” and “Bookstagram” side of social media so I frequently see people talking about how much money they spend on books. I love to be their money-saving fairy godmother and chime in to spread the goodness of the library and encourage them to try Libby. Since you’re reading Libby Life, chances are I’m preaching to the choir on that front. 😉

Something that you may not know though is that you could be missing out by not adding all the library cards in Libby you could have access to. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with several library systems, you can add more than one library card from multiple libraries. In my area, I have access to my city library, the county library and the state library. This helps cut down on potential hold times and increases my options while I browse as title selection, availability and copies owned varies by library.

Don’t get buried by an avalanche of holds all becoming available at once

A few tips from your friendly neighborhood book lover who chronically has the issue of placing way too many holds on books that all become available at the same time:

Holds Expected Next in Libby✅ I keep an eye on the Holds on my Shelf and sort things by “Expected Next” to see what the estimated wait times are for my stack and what will be available soon.

✅ If I’m knee deep in my current read(s) and not ready for any holds, I go to my Shelf > Actions > Suspend All Holds and press pause on getting that Hold notification for anything on my list. You can also choose to suspend single holds until you’re ready for them.

✅ If I forget to suspend my holds (this admittedly happens often), I have the option once my hold is ready to say, “Not now” and deliver it later.


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About the Author

Melissa Marin is a Product Owner, mom of 2 and has loved reading since her days of devouring all the Babysitter Club books she could borrow from the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. When not reading, you can find her listening to comedy, pop culture and true-crime podcasts, watching feel-good TV and movies and seeing live music.

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