Blinkist Review 2020
Or Fit reading into your life not so much?
Today we’re going to take an in-depth, unbiased look at Blinkist, the online book summary service. Our goal is to answer the most important question faced by anyone considering this app: is it worth using Blinkist for more efficient reading? And if yes, how can you get the most out of it? Check our newest, 2020 updated, Blinkist review.
First, we’ll take a quick tour of the app and its features.
Then we will go over the main pros and cons of Blinkist.
After that, we will give you some tips on how to use the app efficiently.
And finally, we’ll provide our verdict and find out whether Blinkist is worth your time and money.
I don’t have time for reading anymore
The number of newly published books has been growing so rapidly in the last decade that some have called it a book explosion. With hundreds and thousands of fresh titles being written every year, how do you keep up with your constantly growing reading list?
This is where Blinkist comes in: by offering easy to digest versions of popular books it helps you better navigate the ever-expanding ocean of human knowledge. Each summary – or blink as they call it – is structured as a self-contained narrative that can be read or listened to in about 15 minutes. There are more than 3,000 blinks in Blinkist’s library. And new titles are being added all the time.
You can access blinks via a browser-based online service, a mobile app, or even by sending them to your Kindle. Of the above options, the one you’ll probably be using most is, of course, the mobile app – while commuting, walking, or just waiting for a friend to show up in a cafe.
The reading interface is minimalist and distraction-free: the only buttons visible are back, audio and text size – and even they can be hidden by simply tapping the main text. Swiping right or left flips the page, and the green progress bar at the bottom of the screen unobtrusively indicates the current position in the blink.
Having been testing Blinkist for more than two years we can definitely conclude that one of the most useful features of this app is the audio versions of blinks. They allow ingesting book summaries while keeping your eyes and your hands-free for other activities – ideal for walking, driving, jogging, hiking, or even rock climbing if you’re into that…
Overall audio quality is quite high and the narrators have mostly non-irritating voices. This by the way actually helps with perception because you don’t get bored listening to the same person every time you use the app.
Blinkist browser version
The browser version of Blinkist is just as distraction-free and easy to use, however in over 24 months of testing we ended up using it much less often than the mobile app – the hands-free, wherever you go usefulness just seems much more appealing.
Blinkist – is it free?
Blinkist is a so-called freemium service, which means there’s both a free version and a paid one. The free version gives you access to one pre-selected blink per day. In other words, you don’t get to decide what you can read.
A subscription costs $14,99 per month or $89.99 per year if you use annual billing.
Perks of using Blinkist
Alright, enough with the build-up! After becoming a subscriber you’ll be able to read any number of blinks anytime you like, as well as unlock the audio summaries we mentioned earlier; you’ll be able to store the blinks locally on your mobile device and read them without an internet connection, which is useful for flights and other situations where you have low or no connectivity.
What comes next is based on our impressions from using the app over 24 months, as well as a comparative analysis against five competing services, including getAbstract, Instaread, Joosr, 12minutes and Soundview.
Cons of using Blinkist
First, some rough edges that might require more work from the Blinkist team:
- occasional audio delays when transitioning from one part of a blink to the next,
- slightly varying sound quality,
- absence of an easy in-app sharing mechanism for recommending blinks to other Blinkist users.
Should I stop reading books altogether?
None of those is a party breaker, but it’s still worth keeping in mind that the service isn’t perfect and still has some areas for improvement. Apart from the technical issues, some users feel it’s quite easy to get lazy with Blinkist and stop reading books alltogether. While summaries can be a great time-saver, they’re in no way a substitute for the good old-fashioned “reading the entire book” approach to learning.
In order to avoid this pitfall, it often makes sense to combine Blinkist with full-length books – which we’ll talk about in the next part of our review. As for the positive sides, it’s not hard to come up with at least a dozen; here we’ll focus on the most significant benefits that can potentially affect your decision to use or not use the app.
Benefits of using Blinkist
- Blinkist is the easiest way to get an overview of a book in the shortest possible amount of time and the minimalist interface eliminates all distractions so you can focus on grasping the main idea of the book in under 15 minutes,
- Blinkist has the least expensive subscription with audio summaries out of all similar services – as we mentioned earlier, audio blinks are by far the most useful feature of any book summary app because they enable you to go through the blinks while doing other things, like walking or commuting.
- The library of blinks is constantly growing, which guarantees that you’ll never run out of interesting items to read or listen to.
- Blinkist can serve as a great productivity tool for narrowing down your reading list and saving you money on book purchases.
I don’t want to stop reading books…
There are several ways you can use Blinkist without giving up on books: instead of switching to summaries altogether try some of the following techniques.
- Pre-select books for your in-depth reading list. Blinks can allow you to filter out some of the titles that aren’t going to be worth your while for various reasons; this can help save money and time as you narrow down your reading list and focus on the books which truly have value for you.
- Pre-scan books before you read them in full. You can get much more out of a book when you already have an idea about what the author is trying to say. Being familiar with how the book is structured also allows you to focus more on the details than on trying not to lose the overarching line of reasoning.
- Recap books that you’ve already read; this one’s quite straightforward: blinks can serve as an easy way to remind yourself about the main points of a book you’ve read a while ago without having to sift through hundreds of pages for the author’s main ideas.
- Quickly immerse yourself in a specific topic. Being familiar with the essence of well-known books can help you lead a more informed and fluid conversation even on the topics that are outside of your field. As an example, you might want to go through several popular books on time management or entrepreneurship before going to a job interview, a corporate event or an investor pitch.
Is Blinkist worth the money?
Well, if you’re interested in one or two particular summaries – definitely not. Just find them elsewhere and read them online.
However, if you’re an active learner, if you read a lot of books or you’d like to read more; if you’re interested in quickly expanding your perspectives on specific topics – then an equivalent of one or two takeaway coffees per month for a repository of condensed human knowledge might not be such a huge price to pay.
Blinkist can fill your walks, runs, and commute time with 15-minute bursts of learning and thinking without keeping you glued to a screen – what else would you ask from a good productivity app?