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A Bunch of Hoopla

by Nicholas Bernhard // // Broomfield, CO

© 2024 NJB

CC-BY-SA 4.0

I recently had a conversation with a patron, where I expressed disbelief that someone would use the name Kafka for a software platform. Similar disbelief followed when I shared my own problems using software called… Hoopla.

I have been looking for a copy of Strange Wine, a short story collection by Harlan Ellison. The Anythink Library (the library district for Adams County, colorado) had an e-book available. I drove over to one in Thornton the other night, and got a library card.

In order to check out this e-book, I would need to download an app called Hoopla onto my smartphone. I’m not big on smartphones, but I thought I would give it a try. I keep an old iPhone SE around for testing my platform’s mobile UI, andI tried installing Hoopla in the App Store.

The App Store asked for my Apple ID password, which I don’t remember since I haven’t downloaded any new apps in over a year. Finding this password would involve finding the password for my Apple ID email address, and then I would need to find the recovery email for that account.

In my personal opinion, this is a lot to ask when someone just wants to read an e-book. I would contrast this experience with Nantucket E-Books, where everything is HTML, so sharing is as simple as sharing a link. Authors tell me they love how easy it is to share their work with readers, and I know for myself how much I enjoy this ease of sharing.

I later set up Hoopla on a new iPhone with a new Apple ID. After logging in with my library card number and setting up a password (they want an email address, too) I was able to find Strange Wine and borrow it. There is an e-reader within the app.

I later found Hoopla has a web platform, so I can use it in a browser. I must give credit to Hoopla: the web platform is appreciated. Not every company offers a website, too many direct you to ‘use the app.’

My overall experience with Hoopla was too many logins, too many passwords to remember, and too much nonfree software.

I am not opposed to logins, I currently sell an e-book that requires payment and signing up. I will probably implement some kind of login system eventually. For now, I am proud to say that I’m the one site that won’t bug you for an email and password. If you visit this site and want to read a book, then it’s that simple.

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