With the growing popularity of e-books, apps like Blinkist have made reading much easier, but could it come at a cost?
Over the past few years, e-books have become increasingly popular. Kindle devices and iBooks apps have helped catalyze the growth of the digital reading format. E-books are frequently compared to physical books, with some preferring the former for its convenience, and others the latter for its authentic experience.
With the introduction of audio books, e-books then took on a more digital format with the introduction of audio books. The format was popularized by Amazon’s Audible service, which offered audiobooks as part of a monthly subscription. The audio experience was appealing because it appealed to people’s inability to sit for long, uninterrupted periods to read a book.
The Blinkist app adapts even more to our decreasing attention span.
Blinkist summarizes books into short snippets that can be read in just minutes, saving hours of reading time. Users also have the ability to listen to summaries on the go, combining their benefits with audio playback.
This review will offer insight into how the app works and the pros and cons of reading through Blinkist.
How does Blinkist work?
Blinkist summarizes long books into short summaries. These are then divided into a few swipeable pages called Blinks. Essentially, each chapter is often summarized in a single Blink.
Human narrators provide audio playback, so listening to summaries through Blinkist is like an audiobook, although it can be done in much less time. While an audiobook can take hours to read, most flashes on the app can be listened to in around 15 minutes.
As a result, Blinkist promises to deliver “more knowledge in less time.” But is the request valid?
How effective is Blinkist?
In our experience with the app, the blinks capture enough information from a book, delivering value in just minutes.
As a result, you can get the book’s key messages without having to dive into the details. This allows you to read a few books at the same time as it would have taken you to read just one.
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Blinkist is also beneficial for people who want to read but haven’t found the time or haven’t got into the habit. Getting into the habit of reading 15 minutes a day is much easier than committing to an entire book in one sitting, which can sometimes feel daunting.
Another benefit of Blinkist is that readers don’t have to take notes as often with Blinks as they would with a regular book since the app provides a summary in the first place.
Even better, Blinkist seamlessly combines reading and listening, allowing readers (or listeners) to select the format that works best for them at any time.
All of these are combined with benefits already present in e-books, such as synchronized reading positions and notes, quick in-app search, and more.
What are its flaws?
Despite Blinkist’s benefits, it still faces criticism for not fully capturing the books’ message.
The blinks miss points expressed in a book that could not be included in the summary. If an author thought someone could squeeze the value of their book into a fraction of the original size, then they would have written a much shorter book in the first place.
Plus, these summaries cut right through the author’s personality, making every book sound the same.
It’s not just personality, however; The blinks are based on the interpretation of the app editors. Their point of view may be different from yours, and you may not capture the same key messages as if you had read the book directly.
On top of that, we often learn by repetition. The nature of Blinkist avoids this by only showing a summary of messages once. On the other hand, the books repeat the same key messages throughout the book, making it more likely that the information will stick with us.
How much does Blinkist cost?
Blinkist is free to download, allowing users to read a daily pick for free. However, to access Blinkist’s 4700+ books, you’ll need a Blinkist Premium subscription. It will cost $60 per year, or just over QAR 200.
Promo codes can be found online, often reducing the price by 20%. Blinkist is currently running a promotion to offer Premium at 40% off, which makes the subscription cost just under 150 QAR now.
Even at full price, Blinkist is a bargain. Most books are around $10-15, whether it’s a paperback, e-book, or audiobook. At $60, Blinkist is the price of 4 books per year.
Surprisingly enough, Blinkist doesn’t pay authors when someone reads their books. This controversial decision is explained on the Blinkist website:
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“Our Blinks are concise and compelling, but necessarily limited by their format. Think of them as a robust trailer for the books. The complete books offer more in-depth discussion, rich examples, references, and explanations that Blinks cannot fit. That’s why we’re giving customers an easy way to find, buy, and listen to the full audiobook on Blinkist. »
Essentially, Blinkist claims to provide authors with exposure, comparing their Blinks to movie trailers. However, the language used on the homepage is totally different: “Understanding books & podcasts in 15 minutes”.
As expected, authors are generally unhappy with Blinkist.
They feel their work is swindled due to loopholes, and some say seeing their work “summarized in a few words is humiliating.” Others have praised the platform for providing exposure for their books and making learning more accessible, with some authors even partnering with the service to promote their books on launch day.
So is Blinkist worth it?
The ability to read and listen to books in one subscription is great. The exchange between the two is seamless, allowing us to read the beginning of a book and then listen to the end.
Blinkist also offers full audiobooks at a discounted rate if you want to dive deeper into a book.
If you’re someone who already reads books frequently, you’re probably better off continuing to do so. However, if like many of us, you’ve tried reading books but just couldn’t commit, we recommend giving Blinkist a try.
You can start by reading the free daily pick. If you like the experience, you can start a free trial before paying for the service.
What do you think of Blinkist – and eBook summaries in general? Is a concise summary enough for you or do you prefer to read the whole book? Let us know in the comments.