Updated · Oct 18, 2022
Best for: Audio summaries of nonfiction
What Is Blinkist?
Are you one of those people with overwhelming book lists that seem to grow faster than you can get through them?
Or maybe you’re just not interested in reading hundreds of pages of nonfiction?
Blinkist is perfect for those looking for succinct summaries of books.
Founded in 2012, the service creates 15-minute digests of nonfiction in audio form. Blinkist books are not the full thing – instead, they only present the main concepts and takeaways. They’re meant to be listened to like a podcast or music.
If you need something to keep your mind occupied on your daily commute, Blinkist is perfect.
It has over 5,000 nonfiction books of various genres in its catalog, from politics to self-help. So it’s guaranteed you’ll find many titles to hold your interest.
How Does Blinkist Work?
Despite its impressive library, can Blinkist actually serve as a replacement for podcasting or reading the whole book? More importantly – how does it stack up against similar ebook services?
As mentioned above, the Blinkist app provides summaries in audio form, not full ebooks.
Each book is divided into several segments, called Key Ideas.
Each Key Idea is between two to five minutes long and boils down to parts of the book in a few paragraphs. Along with the audio, these segments are also available in text form. So if you prefer reading along while listening, you can do that.
With that being said, though…
Blinkist is in no way a substitute for reading the actual book. It’s not an app designed for those who love reading – in fact, it’s the opposite.
At the end of the day, you only get a simplified summary. So naturally, many nuances and concepts will be lost. That’s why it’s difficult to compare it to other audiobook services, say Blinkist vs Audible. They target two different groups.
But if you want a quick digest of nonfiction material, Blinkist’s summaries are great and of high quality. All recordings are done by real people, with no text-to-speech tools. The ideas are conveyed clearly and to the point, almost like a university lecture.
Of course, the downside is they can feel quite dry. Boring, even.
By clicking the Explore button, you’ll see the many categories available on the service. There are 27 topics of nonfiction, and they cover pretty much every interest you can think of.
After selecting a topic, you can browse all the books in that category and add them to your library.
Meanwhile, your library is divided into two sections: Currently Reading and Finished. That way, it’s easy to keep track of your list and what you’d want to go through next.
Picking up where you left off is also super simple.
Your progress throughout each book is automatically saved. So when you get back to a title you were reading, Blinkist puts you back where you were last time.
Many Blinkist reviews focus primarily on the mobile apps for Android and iOS devices.
And that makes sense – Blinkist intends to be a substitute for podcasting or music. So you need a way to access your library from your phone. That’s where the app comes in.
If you want to try out the service, I recommend starting there.
The Blinkist app is significantly easier to use than the desktop browser version, and you get access to all the functionality. If you’ve used music streaming services like Spotify, it’ll all feel familiar to you.
A portion of the text caught your attention?
Blinkist books have the option to keep track of the text you’ve highlighted. Everything you’ve saved is then available from the Highlights tab in your account. You can see when and where the highlight was made and in which chapter.
It comes in super handy if you want to save a nugget of information for later research. It’s like a digital bookmark.
But how are new books added to the platform?
Good news: the users can pick.
When you go to the Wishlist section, you can see which books the community has voted for the most. The title with the most votes gets added to Blinkist. You can click on each entry to view the book’s Goodreads page for further info.
You can even enter your own search criteria and vote for the books you want.
Ease of Use and Interface
The website’s interface follows a minimalist approach, making it simple to navigate at the cost of overall clarity.
When exploring books, you’re greeted with simplistic representations of their covers. And while they look nice, I would’ve much preferred seeing the actual designs instead. It’s hard to browse properly when all books look so similar.
Most Blinkist reviews are positive of the interface, and I’m sure some people would find it easier to use than I did.
But personally, it feels like an interface meant to be used on phones rather than large screens.
The mobile version looks way nicer but still lacks original covers. If you’re contemplating getting Blinkist, you’ll be better off just using the Android or iOS app.
Now, let’s talk about cost.
Blinkist plans are divided into two – Basic and Premium.
The Basic plan is free and available to anyone who registers, although it’s heavily limited. For the full experience, you’ll need to upgrade to a Premium account.
There’s also a free trial available for the first seven days. After this, you’ll be automatically charged, and your subscription will begin.
Here is how each Blinkist subscription plan differs:
Access to one pre-selected title per day. Other titles are available for browsing, but you can only listen to the first Key Idea.
Access to Blinkist’s full library and features. Doesn’t include a free trial.
All purchases are entitled to a 14-day refund period which you can request by contacting customer support. If you purchase a subscription through one of the apps, you’ll need to turn to your respective app store for a refund.
Do keep in mind that once you select a subscription plan, you cannot switch between yearly and monthly billing. You’ll need to wait for your current billing period to run out before you can swap.
Blinkist Review – Verdict
Is Blinkist a proper substitute for audiobooks?
Many of the books that it tries to summarize communicate incredibly complex ideas. You cannot reliably condense several hundred pages into 15 minutes of audio. Inevitably, many key concepts and nuances will be lost.
But if you aim to gain a general understanding of what a book is about? Or if you want to just have something to occupy your mind while traveling or doing other tasks?
Then yeah, Blinkist does a pretty good job of presenting interesting ideas in a clear, albeit somewhat dull way. It’s a good enough alternative for podcasting or music.
How much does Blinkist cost per month?
A monthly Blinkist subscription is $14.99 per month. However, you also have the option of an annual plan which ends up at $7.49 per month over the course of a year.
Can you read full books on Blinkist?
No, Blinkist only provides short summaries. Each book is divided into several sections called Key Ideas, which break down the main takeaway in a few paragraphs. Full summaries are usually around 15 minutes long.
Is Blinkist better than Audible?
In our Blinkist review, we evaluated the idea of comparing the two services. Ultimately though, they serve two vastly different purposes and cater to distinct groups. Blinkist only offers nonfiction and doesn’t have full books.
Is Blinkist or Headway better?
Headway is more oriented towards self-improvement and boosting productivity. Blinkist also has titles focused on these topics but with a much greater variety. Blinkist genres include politics, science, philosophy, and many others.
My fascination with technology began from quite an early age thanks to computers and video games. Nowadays, I love anything related to music production and astronomy. Coincidentally (or is it?), both of those have a great deal to do with tech. Honestly, most of the stuff that can be accomplished with modern electronics kind of seems like magic to me. This is why I feel this strong need to constantly learn more about it and talk about it, almost to the detriment of others.
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