Westlake Porter Public Library has a whole host of excellent Download and Stream options. From ebooks to movies, we have a little something for everyone. But, sometimes with this much choice, there’s an chance for things to get muddled up or confused. What service do I use? All of them? Just one or two? The answer, for me, is very simple. Just use the one that has what you want. And if you’re not sure which service has what you want, then you’ve come to the right blog post! I’ll go over some of our different downloadable resources, highlight what they offer, and help you choose the best starting point for you!
What they offer: Free, downloadable comics (including manga)
If you enjoy reading comics in any form, then this might be the resource for you. ComicsPlus offers comics in a wide variety of genres, from Horror to History, Manga to Webtoons, and even art books, like The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia.
What they offer: Downloadable ebooks on a variety of (mostly) non-fiction topics.
I’ll be honest with you all–this was my first time using this resource. And let me just say, I’m very excited! This resource contains all kinds of essays and ebooks on a wide variety of topics, from Self-Help to Science, and Humor to True Crime. Plus, there’s titles for children and teens, as well. Books can be downloaded in PDF or ePub format for easy reading on different devices.
What they offer: Downloadable digital magazines
This is another resource offered by EBSCO (see the entry above). Flipster offers popular magazines like Women’s World, People, Vogue, Newsweek, Taste of Home, and more. Magazines can be read directly in your browser, but there’s also an app (search Flipster Magazines in your app store) that you can use to read on the go.
What they offer: Ebooks, audiobooks, comics, movies, TV shows, music, and “BingPasses” (more on that below!)
Okay, so I’m going to be 100% honest with you all… Of all the titles on this list, Hoopla is my #1 favorite. Not only can I get access to a great collection of books and audiobooks, but there are comics (their comic reader is awesome and allows you to zoom in on individual panels or to read the whole page at once, depending on your preferences), tons of great music, TV, and movies, and of course, BingePasses.
BingePasses allow you to access extra content on a week-by-week basis. Instead of checking out an individual item, you check out a BingePass which gives you unlimited access (for an entire week) to GreatCourses, Curiosity Stream, Hoopla Magazines, and Hellosaurus.
What they offer: Documentaries, foreign films, and film festival selections
A resource that offers access to Criterion Collection, PBS documentaries, and more? Sign me up! If you’re a film fanatic, you definitely have to check out Kanopy. The database also offers Kanopy Kids, for children to have free access to a ton of wonderful titles, without having to worry about stumbling upon something less age-appropriate.
What they offer: Ebooks, audiobooks, and “extras” (more on that below!)
While Hoopla may be my favorite, Overdrive is the other big contender for awesome digital content! Check out books, audiobooks, and magazines, add multiple libraries to one app (each library will have an individual collection), and access a whole host of great app-exclusive “extras,” including access to films through Kanopy (see above) and iNDIEFLIX, recordings of live performances through Qello Concerts, and GreatCourses! Plus, enjoy curated ebook and audiobook lists assembled for you by the librarians at Overdrive and at your library!
What they offer: Digital magazines and newspapers (including international selections!)
Like Flipster, PressReader offers readers access to a wide variety of digital magazines. Additionally, they offer digital newspapers from around the world, for those of you who are not only interested in international affairs, but in reading about them in their original languages. Great for language learners. Offerings can be read in browser or on the app, and individual pages can be printed out for offline viewing.
What they offer: Animated talking books and ebooks for children
Kids will greatly enjoy the colorful, animated fun of Tumblebooks. With a wide variety of titles, from picture books to chapter books, and even graphic novels, this is a great resource for tech-savvy children who love to read!