The 8 Best Free & Paid Alternatives to Blinkist (2024)

Blinkist Alternative: The 8 Best Free & Paid Alternatives to Blinkist Cover

What are the best alternatives to Blinkist? If you want to know what other book summary services are out there and how they compare to the German industry giant, you’ve come to the right place.

In this short overview, we’ve listed the 8 best Blinkist alternatives, both free and paid. We know there are countless options out there, but we only focused on the most relevant ones that stand out in terms of quality, summary style, or sheer volume of summaries.

We’ll start with the paid services, because if you’re looking for an alternative to Blinkist, chances are, you’re either willing to or already spending some money. If you only want to look at free services, feel free to skip to those.

Use the table of contents below to jump to any service or category that interests you in particular. Here are the best Blinkist alternatives!

In one aspect, all paid book summary services are the same: They charge a monthly or annual subscription fee. In exchange, you get access to their entire library. For some of them, that library extends beyond book summaries, for example with courses, videos, or podcast summaries.

Some apps offer multiple or even multimedia formats, but almost all of them have a distinct style and structure they stick to. More and more, what you’re paying for is becoming an all-around learning experience. Here are 4 of the best ones, ranked in order of how much we like them compared to Blinkist.

1. Shortform

Best Blinkist Alternatives #1 (Paid)

Shortform focuses on depth over breadth. Their “book guides” are incredibly detailed. Think 20-30 minutes in reading or listening time. They want to make sure you get the absolute most out of any book. That’s why each guide comes with relevant context and interesting insights from other, related books along the way. They also offer plenty of exercises and reflection points. Recently, they even created an AI extension that lets you summarize anything in one click.*

Shortform is an interesting alternative to most other services because it offers a level of depth no one else does. If you’re ready to go deeper, spend more time per book, and want to squeeze out every bit from each title, this might be the right Blinkist alternative for you.

  • Number of Summaries: 1,000+
  • Formats: Text, Audio
  • Price per Year: $197 when billed annually
  • Available on: iOS, Android, and Web

« Read Review Try the App* »

2. Uptime

Best Blinkist Alternatives #2 (Paid)

Uptime has created their own, unique, 5-minute “Knowledge Hack” format. You tap through a Hack the way you would browse an Instagram story. It includes text, audio, images, and even the occasional video snippet where relevant. They also summarize TED talks and other content.

Uptime is probably the most multimedia book summary service of them all. It uses different formats well without throwing too much at you at the same time. If you’re looking for an app that’s fun, quick, and engaging, maybe Uptime is the one for you.

  • Number of Summaries: 4,000+
  • Formats: Multimedia
  • Price per Year: $79.99 when billed annually
  • Available on: iOS, Android, and Web

« Read Review Try the App* »

3. Headway

Best Blinkist Alternatives #3 (Paid)

Headway has mastered bite-sizing and gamification. When you sign up, they ask you some questions to personalize your content selection and daily learning goals. You can track the latter right in the app, and then fill your “learning meter” by consuming the content in various formats. Their visual guides are the strongest, I think, though they don’t have as many of those as normal summaries.

Headway might be the most likely book summary app to help you develop a daily learning habit. While the content is fun and easy to consume, the gamification and reminders are what truly makes the difference here. If you want an app that’ll keep you coming back, try this one.

  • Number of Summaries: 1,000+
  • Formats: Text, Audio
  • Price per Year: $89.99 when billed annually
  • Available on: iOS, Android, and Web (limited functionality)

« Read Review Try the App* »

4. getAbstract

Best Blinkist Alternatives #4 (Paid)

getAbstract is one of the oldest book summary services. It was launched in 1999. It is also one of the biggest, with over 25,000 summaries of books, articles, videos, podcasts, and more. The service aims to help professionals learn everything they need to excel in their careers in 15 minutes a day, but it also supports individuals working on personal growth. Many companies license their large catalog for their teams, and they even offer a custom summary service for knowledge created within firms.

getAbstract is a good choice for those looking for a service that is time-tested, consistent, and has a big library. If you want to focus your learning around advancing in your career, this could be a great option.

  • Number of Summaries: 5,000+ books and 25,000+ items total
  • Formats: Text, Audio
  • Price per Year: $299 when billed annually ($99 for students)
  • Available on: iOS, Android, and Web

« Read Review Try the App* »

Our Recommendation

So, out of all these services, what is our top recommendation? You might be surprised to find out that it’s…

1. Blinkist

Best Blinkist Alternatives #9 (Paid)

I’ve used book summary services for almost a decade. Also, since we review and promote many of them here at Four Minute Books, I’m always pretty up to date on the industry. You might call me crazy, but as someone with that kind of experience, I’ll tell you that all in all, Blinkist still offers the best value for the money. The other services are either much more expensive or, if they aren’t, can’t keep up with Blinkist’s overall offering, ease-of-use, and speed of development.

« Read Our In-Depth Review Try Blinkist* Free for 7 Days »

2. Shortform

Best Blinkist Alternatives #1 (Paid)

Our all-time favorite aside, Shortform is a close runner-up. It is a true Blinkist alternative in the sense that it takes a different approach to book summaries altogether. It has a higher price, but if you consider its summarizing AI*, the extensive context of each summary, and the depth, it is a great tool for advanced readers and learners. If you want to “graduate” from reading only short summaries on Blinkist or balance what you learn there with more details, Shortform is a great add-on.

« Read Our In-Depth Review Try Shortform* Free for 5 Days »

Honorable Mentions

There’s a sea of other apps we could have included, but only the following ones somewhat stand out. While they are also valid Blinkist alternatives, we found them not quite on the same level as the above four services. Most of them are either too similar to another service, can’t compete on an essential metric, like library size, have a different focus, or are simply not as well-maintained.

That said, every book summary service is trying to help us read and learn more, and that’s a noble goal. Perhaps one of these is just right for your personal taste! Here are our honorable mentions in the paid category:

  • Instaread.* This is one of the OG book summary apps. It has a similar look and feel to Blinkist and is reading- and listening-focused. They also have long lists of insights and quotes for each book, but their catalog only has about 2,500 summaries compared to Blinkist’s 6,500+ titles. You can read our full review of Instaread here.
  • This service has been around for a while. Their focus is on video summaries, and those are well-made and impressive. However, Steve runs this business mostly by himself, and so the catalog is small at around 300 summaries. It is also focused on leaders and executives, so most of the books are about business.
  • Readingraphics. The idea to turn books into infographics is interesting, but while the infographics themselves are good, all in all, the service is too expensive for what it offers, I think. The catalog is not huge, and the overall offering just isn’t polished enough.
  • Imprint (formerly Lucid). This app seemingly took the world by storm when it appeared. It claims to have millions of users, but it is very similar to Headway, only with a smaller catalog and fewer features. Personally, I also find the combination of text and images they use on the screen at the same time confusing, but if visual-ish learning is your thing, you might want to try this one!
  • Deepstash. At over 2 million users, this app also made it big, but I’m not exactly sure what its focus is. In some videos, I see it touted as “a social media network that focuses on what matters.” On their website, they pitch primarily based on ideas curated from books and other sources. The visuals and features are cool, but I have a hunch this one is heavily robot-based behind the scenes. Maybe just try it for yourself and see if you like it!
  • Scribd. This one is a catch-all for all kinds of content, from research papers to full-length books to magazines. It’s a bit like Netflix for reading, but it’s not very focused. Nor do they edit the content for your understanding. You can read our in-depth review here.

Free Blinkist Alternatives: The 4 Best Free Book Summary Services

In Germany, we have a saying: “Nothing is free, except death — and that will cost your life.” What it means is that everything has a price, even if it is hidden. When it comes to free book summaries, the people and companies providing them must make a tradeoff: Do they offer an amateur experience in their spare time or go more professional and monetize via secondary means?

For example, many bloggers publish a few book summaries on their sites, but there’s no structure or consistency. Perhaps they do them for fun or are actually selling consulting services or something else that’s only loosely related to books. Their blog might not have ads, but their summary effort is also not very professional.

Others, like we here at Four Minute Books, monetize via ads, sponsorships, and affiliate partners. In exchange, you also get a better experience, like a big library and new summaries every week, despite the content still being free. It’s easy to complain about ads and other sales pitches, but if it allows you to access a wealth of knowledge for free, perhaps the model is not so bad.

In any case, it is worth keeping this tradeoff in mind when looking at free Blinkist alternatives. Here are our 4 favorite ones, ranked in order of how much we like them.

1. Four Minute Books

Best Blinkist Alternative #5 (Free)

Four Minute Books is, to my best knowledge, the biggest collection of free book summaries on the internet. Each summary shares 3 valuable lessons you can learn in just 4 minutes, and while that makes the summaries “incomplete,” it keeps them fun and unique. I like to think that Four Minute Books is the most likely place to make you pick up and read more actual books, as the summaries function as teasers that get you to want more.

As a Blinkist alternative, Four Minute Books is fast and, with only 3 lessons per book, allows you to “screen” any book you might want to read in full or even as a longer summary on any other service. All summaries are manually written and combine personal experiences with ideas from the books. This way, you get more than “just” what’s in the book, all while leaving plenty of room for you to dive deeper later.

  • Number of Summaries: 1,200+
  • Formats: Text, Audio (Paid), Video via Youtube (Some)
  • Available on: Web

« Read a 3rd Party Review Browse All Summaries »

2. Philosopher’s Notes by Heroic (formerly Optimize)

Best Blinkist Alternative #6 (Free)

Philosopher’s Notes used to be part of Brian Johnson’s paid Optimize program, which had over 250,000 members. After changing his company into a B Corp (a public benefit, for-profit organization), however, he integrated them into his new Heroic app — and made them free of charge!

Brian’s Philosopher’s Notes are some of the best, most detailed free book summaries out there. I believe he wrote all 600 himself, though I’m not 100% sure on that. Each one comes with a nicely formatted PDF and an mp3, sometimes even a video version. If you’re looking for high-quality summaries of some of the best books, this is a great stop.

  • Number of Summaries: 600+
  • Formats: Text, Audio, Video (Some)
  • Available on: iOS, Android, and Web

« Read a 3rd Party Review Browse All Notes »

3. The Power Moves

Best Blinkist Alternative #7 (Free)

The Power Moves is the only other blog-style site that releases free book summaries in numbers. Lucio is a disciplined and dedicated guy, and I believe he still writes all his summaries himself. He always prioritizes objectivity and quality, and he has released over 500 free summaries to date. While the site’s focus lies on psychology, communication, and interpersonal relationships, there are still plenty of business, productivity, leadership and other books in their library.

The Power Moves is a Blinkist alternative with comparable summary-length and format. Lucio tries to pull out the main takeaways of each book, no fluff. He also reviews each book with some pros and cons at the end. Especially if you’re interested in power dynamics, this is a great resource.

  • Number of Summaries: 500+
  • Formats: Text
  • Available on: Web

« Read a 3rd Party Review Browse All Summaries »

4. Nat Eliason’s Book Notes

Best Blinkist Alternative #8 (Free)

Nat Eliason’s Book Notes are the winner in the “loose-but-interesting-highlights” category. Many bloggers export their highlights from their Kindle reads and publish them as “summaries” on their websites. Nat also does this, but he often adds his own notes as well as high-level thoughts on the book. Sometimes, he even records an entire podcast episode discussing a single book or publishes a video review on Youtube. Finally, at almost 300 books, he offers the biggest note collection of this kind.

Nat’s Notes are great for picking books to read but also for learning a few interesting tidbits in a short amount of time. He rates each book on a scale of 1 to 10, too. If you love browsing inspiring ideas to find your next big read, his collection is an awesome place to start.

  • Number of Summaries: ~300
  • Formats: Text, Audio via Podcast (Some), Video via Youtube (Some)
  • Available on: Web

« Read a 3rd Party Review Browse All Notes »

Our Recommendation

Best Blinkist Alternative #5 (Free)

Anyone who tells you they’re completely unbiased is either naive or a liar. At Four Minute Books, of course we think Four Minute Books is the best free alternative to Blinkist. It’s also the biggest collection of free book summaries on the web, period.

We always try to strike a good balance between valuable insights from great books and simply fun, unique, engaging writing. We hope we succeed at least most of the time, and that, if you’re ever looking for free book summaries, you’ll make us the first place you’ll start. Thank you for being a reader, an here’s to many more free summaries!

« Read a 3rd Party Review Browse All Summaries »

Honorable Mentions

As in the paid category, there was no shortage of options, but only few of them deserve your attention. While not as big, comprehensive, or focused on non-fiction, the following free Blinkist alternatives might also be worth checking out:

  • Actionable Books. I remember being shocked at the size of their 1,000+ free summary catalog back when we started. I’m even more shocked to see that, 8 years later, we’ve overtaken them. While it’s still a big library, their summaries all share only 1 big idea and then 2 more random insights. The format is even more limited than ours and less coherent.
  • Derek Sivers. This quiet writer and brilliant mind has published his notes (not highlights) along with ratings for each of the 380+ books he’s read so far. They’re still just loose thoughts, but this is a cool collection.
  • Sam Thomas Davies. Sam’s highlights are more comprehensive than most. He also summarizes each book in 3 sentences and shares 5 big takeaways. That said, there are only 130+ books in his library.
  • SparkNotes. This is the most extensive collection of free summaries of textbooks, classic literature, and anything else high school or college students might need. Also good for any lifelong learner!

Conclusion: The 8 Best Blinkist Alternatives in a Nutshell

Okay, let’s quickly recap the 8 best alternatives to Blinkist on this list:


  1. Shortform*
  2. Uptime*
  3. Headway*
  4. getAbstract*


  1. Four Minute Books
  2. Philosopher’s Notes
  3. The Power Moves
  4. Nat Eliason’s Book Notes

Did we miss any important ones? Which one’s your personal favorite? Let us know on X, and wherever you may do it, enjoy discovering more book summaries!

Other Reviews

Looking for our other reviews of the most popular book summary apps, tools, and services? Here’s a list of all the reviews we’ve published so far:

Last Updated on January 1, 2024