Uptime Review Cover

Uptime Review 2022: Is This 5-Min Book App Worth It?

Uptime is a 5-minute learning, knowledge-hacking, and book summary app. It offers over 2,500 knowledge hacks in extremely creative reading, watching, and listening formats.  In our Uptime review, we’ll explain exactly how it works, what it’s like, and whether it’s worth your time and dollars.

Whenever there’s a new book summary service, at Four Minute Books, we feel obliged to review it for you. In Uptime’s case, we’re excited to do so not just because of their creative approach to delivering the content, but also because their self-proclaimed goal is to replace doomscrolling with productivity, learning, and wellbeing. If that’s not a noble reason to start a book summary service, then what is?

The Uptime team not only summarizes books but also adds courses, documentaries, and podcast summaries to its quickly growing content library. It also has a lot of unique features that add a lot to the summary-reading experience. We’ve tried Uptime for the last few weeks, and now, we’d like to tell you all about it.

After our usual, quick summary and FAQ, we’ll show you the pros and cons of using Uptime, along with a detailed walkthrough of how it feels to use the app. We’ll also break down how Uptime’s “Knowledge Hack” format works, and we’ve even gathered some reviews from other users around the web. Finally, we’ll end on our conclusion and recommendation.

As always, you can jump to whatever section of this review seems most interesting to you thanks to our neat table of contents:

If you want to come back up here at any time, just hit the little up arrow icon on the bottom right corner of this page. Alright, let’s dive into our Uptime review with the most frequently asked questions about the app.

Can they turn your downtime into uptime? You’re about to find out!

Quick Summary of Our Uptime Review (FAQ) 

1. What is the Uptime app? 

Uptime is a knowledge-hacking app that gives quick summaries or “hacks” of all kinds of content, from books and online courses to documentaries and more. You can read or listen to hacks and leave bookmarks, download for offline listening, and see where you can purchase the course or book.

2. Is Uptime a good app? 

Uptime is one of our favorite apps for learning from digital content. It’s easy to use, has all of the most important features like the ability to read or listen anywhere, and it’s got a ton of content. One of our favorite parts is that it lets you quickly figure out what the best books, courses, and documentaries are for you so you don’t have to waste time on content that doesn’t appeal to you. More on that later though!

3. Can you use the Uptime app for free? 

You can download and use the Uptime app for free but you only get one free hack per day and you don’t get to choose it. The app does give a variety of free summaries between their different content types, including book, course, documentary, and podcast hacks. 

4. How much does an Uptime subscription cost? 

The regular price of Uptime is $19.99 per month if billed month-to-month. You can also pay yearly at the price of $79.99 per year, which comes to about $7 per month. We often find discounts though that let you purchase your first year for $49.99, or just over $4 per month on average.

5. Is Uptime worth it? 

For just $4-$7 per month you get thousands of summaries of courses, books, podcasts, and documentaries that you can learn from to improve your life, learn a new skill, or just relax and enjoy interesting stories and ideas. This saves you hundreds of hours of your precious time. It also saves hundreds of dollars that you’d normally have to spend on all of this content. You can get just the main points for a fraction of the time and money, making Uptime 100% worth the cost.

If this is all you’ve wanted to know, and you now want to go right ahead and join Uptime, you can use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the rest of our detailed Uptime review.

Pros and Cons of Uptime

Uptime has so many cool features that we can’t wait to show you. Before that, though, we want to go over the main reasons that people love Uptime and also let you know what’s not so great about it. Let’s jump right into it with the many plusses of using Uptime!

Pros of using Uptime:

  1. It has over 2,500 summaries of courses, podcasts, and documentaries as well as books. This is the only app that we are aware of that offers shorter versions of courses, podcasts, and documentaries and we absolutely love it. We love digital content of all types, and the ability to find summaries of all kinds is wonderful because it really broadens the horizons of what you can learn from.
  2. Uptime will save you a TON of time and money that you could be spending consuming full courses, books, podcasts, and documentaries. We love this about all summary services but Uptime does an exceptional job here with all that it has to offer. Many online courses, for instance, cost between $150 and $1,000, so to be able to get the main points of as many courses as you want for just $4-$7 a month is an incredible deal. Not to mention that most courses, documentaries, books, and podcasts would normally take you at anywhere from one to 10 hours to complete. With Uptime, you can get the main ideas in a mere 15 minutes at most.
  3. The app already has phenomenal reviews in the Apple app store and many awards. It’s got a 4.8 out of 5 average rating and users are raving about it. Almost every review has a response from Uptime as well, both good and bad. It’s also currently an Editors’ Choice app in the Apple app store. We’ll get into more on what other users have to say about Uptime in the next section.
  4. The content delivery system is one of the best we’ve ever seen. You can read or listen to hacks and each is made up of mini lessons that you swipe between, so you’re never overwhelmed by a wall of text. They also get creative with the way content is delivered, occasionally including videos to give context to the lessons and make them even more clear. Plus, you can save any page within a hack so that you can easily remember your favorite parts of everything you read on Uptime.
  5. Their team is adding 40 new hacks every week. That averages to almost six new summaries every day. I’ve been using the app for a little while now and it’s tough to consume that much in a day, so I’m excited to know that I’m never going to run out of stuff to learn from within Uptime!

Cons of using Uptime:

  1. It’s a new app, so it might not have some of your favorites. However, because they are adding 40 new titles every week, their library is growing quickly and you’ll soon be able to find everything you want to learn from inside.
  2. You don’t get the stories and nuance that you’d normally have reading a full book. We’ve found that this is completely made up for in the fact that we end up using Uptime to find the best courses, books, podcasts, and documentaries, so we only spend our time and money on what we love. I might use Uptime to find a course that I really love amid a few that are just alright, so it’s much easier for me to decide to go purchase the full course. Plus, there are links to the full courses, books, and podcasts in each hack!
  3. Some of the courses give really generic tips. I found that I couldn’t go into as much detail with learning from courses as I would have liked to, and I’m sure the same applies for the rest of their content as well. I’d sometimes get to the end of a course hack and not feel like I’d learned how to do what the course was designed to teach. I will say that it was always a good preview of what I would learn if I were to purchase the full course, which made it much easier to be picky in which online courses I actually decide to buy.

What Is It Like to Use the Uptime App?

As we’ve already explained, the user interface in the Uptime app is one of the best we’ve ever seen. There are so many options for reading or listening, it’s super simple and visually appealing, and it lets you save anything you might want to access later. 

Let’s get right into it with the main screen when you first open the app:

Uptime Home Screen (Uptime Review)

In the top right corner the little fire icon shows your streak and lets you customize your interests at any time. If you are using the free version of the app you’ll notice a diamond icon up there that shows your options for purchasing a subscription.

Next up, in the first main section of this screen, you’ve got the option to jump back into any hacks that you were partway through when you last opened the app. 

After that begins a section of recommendations based on your previous reading. More suggestions follow, starting with the “Now trending” section just above the bottom menu. Below that you’ll continue to see more recommendations and other sections:

Uptime Home Screen 2

That bottom menu lets you navigate between four main pages within the app:

  1. Your home page, which is what you see above
  2. The “Browse” area, which lets you find new content by topic or collection
  3. “Sparks,” which are bookmarks of your favorite lessons
  4. My Uptime, which will show your streak, messages, settings, and your hacks, including downloads.

Let’s take a dive into each of these other sections, starting with “Browse.” Here is a screenshot of what this section looks like:

Uptime Browse Screen

At the top you can search for any hack by title, author, or keyword.

Next you can browse by topic. This section includes all the major topics of books, courses, podcasts, and documentaries. You’ll see sections like Personal Growth, Money & Investing, Parenting & Relationships, Arts & Design, and more. 

The “Deep dive into” section comes last, and includes links to all different kinds of hacks that Uptime has. These sections are:

  • Collections
  • Book hacks
  • Course hacks
  • Documentary hacks
  • Podcast hacks
  • Editor’s picks 
  • Trending hacks
  • New hacks

Uptime Browse 2

Note that collections are groupings of hacks based on all kinds of things, such as authors favorites, top documentaries, best books, how to be a leader, and much more. 

Editor’s picks will show you hacks for current top rated content in all different categories.

I think my favorite thing about this is how simple it is to find content that you’ll love. Right away I can see genre’s that I like, but I can also sort through collections by my favorite authors or life events I might be dealing with. 

It’s also not bogged down with too many sections. You get the search bar, the browse by topic option, and the deep dive area, and that’s it. I don’t ever feel like I have to waste time trying to figure out how to use this section, which saves me even more time getting right to the best lessons from all kinds of content!

After the Browse area comes the Sparks, which is like a personal library of your favorite lessons that you’ve saved from summaries. Here’s what the main screen looks like:

Uptime Sparks (Uptime Review)

Sparks are organized into boards, and the default board they’ll go into is “My board” shown above. Once you go into the board, you’ll get to replay each of the sparks you’ve saved as if you were reading it within the summary that you saved it from. 

Within each Spark you can also have a few different options:

Uptime Spark

First up is your typical share option. Below that you’ve got the big button that lets you add a note to your Spark. I love this idea because the library then becomes a living document that you can go back and record ideas and experiences living the principles that each Spark teaches. 

Below that you’ll see the option to view the board that the Spark is in. You can also remove the Spark. At the very bottom is a link that will take you to the full hack that the Spark came from.

As with the previous sections, I love how simple this is. It’s just what you need and no more than that. It’s not overwhelming with too many options. I really think that if you used it right this could rival an Evernote library, but you’ll have to check out our review of Evernote to decide for yourself.

The last of the main sections in the Uptime app is “My Uptime.” Here’s what it looks like:

My Uptime Screen

From the top right corner we’ve got the mail icon, which lets you join Uptime’s newsletter to get updates on their newest content. Next to that is where you can change the app’s settings, including going into dark mode, signing out of your account, changing your notification options, and more. 

Next, you’ll see the “Start your streak” section. You’ll start and continue your streak by completing one insight per day from any hack. This a fun way to help you remember to keep learning.

Below that you’ve got the option to set up reminders so that you don’t lose your streak. I’ve found that this is really helpful because with so many apps on my phone, it’s easy to forget what I want to be spending my time on the most. I don’t usually allow many reminders on my phone, but Uptime is definitely one I’m considering letting notify me to remind me to keep learning!

In the next section you’ll see all the hacks that you’ve saved. You can view them by all, downloaded, unfinished, or your history.

At the very bottom you’ve got two last areas, one for your stats and the other lets you get in touch with Uptime:

My Uptime Screen 2

I really love the “hours saved” widget, which shows you how many hours you would have had to spend reading full books and other types of content instead of using Uptime to get them summarized. 

You’ll also see your longest streak, number of different topics you’ve covered, your favorite category, and more.

Thank you for reading this far! If this is all you’ve wanted to know, and you now want to go right ahead and try Uptime, use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the remainder of our review of Uptime.

That does it for the main screens in the Uptime app, now let’s move on to get into the finer details of using Uptime!

How Do Uptime’s Knowledge Hacks Work?

I love reading summaries, also known as hacks, with Uptime. It’s simple but also goes in-depth in all the right places. For this section, we’ll focus just on book and course hacks, but podcast and documentary hacks are going to have the same look and feel. Basically, consuming these hacks feels exactly like watching stories on Instagram or Snapchat!

When you first press on any hack, you’ll be taken to a screen that has a summary, options to bookmark and download, and a link to the full content. You can then select whether you want to read, watch, or listen to the hack.

Once you start reading a hack, here’s what you’ll see:

Uptime Book Hack

At the top you’ll see a little bar showing you the name of the book and a notation of which section you are in of how many total sections there are in the hack. Next to that you can pause the hack, toggle listening on or off, and exit out of the hack.

The small bar below that shows the title of the section you’re in and has a slider showing how long you have left on this screen. Uptime automatically switches between sections in each hack, so this bar is like the timer telling you when your time on this section is up. You can pause at any moment though, so don’t worry about missing anything!

The body of the hack follows, and I love how this keeps things super simple for us and doesn’t have a wall of text or anything overwhelming. The content in this section changes as you go through, starting with the “in a nutshell” and moving on to the actual lessons:

Uptime Hack Video Example

This is an example of one of my favorite parts of Uptime. Rather than just telling you about an event or lesson, it actually gives you the video or other applicable content as much as possible. 

In this instance, we see the hack mentioning when a news reporter had a panic attack while reporting on live TV and they actually show the footage of it! You can’t even get that when you’re reading a book normally! 

This is just one small way that Uptime goes above and beyond when it comes to summaries. No more searching to try to find what a book is talking about, it’s right there for you to watch for yourself! We’ve never seen this kind of thing in a summary service before, and it’s one of the reasons we love Uptime so much.

Also while reading hacks you’ll have a few options at the bottom of the screen, starting with the “Spark this” button, which will pull up this screen:

Uptime Save a Spark (Uptime Review)

Your Spark will automatically be saved and you can choose what board to add it to or create a brand new board. After pressing “Done,” you’ll return to the hack to continue reading, listening, or watching. 

On the right side of the bottom menu while reading a hack, you’ll see the option to share and then a “More” button, which takes you here:

Uptime Book Hack Options

At the top you’ll still see the “Spark this” and “Share” buttons and a “Less” button to take you back to the hack. 

In the middle, you’ve got options to save the hack to your library to read later, change the mode, download it for on-the-go listening or reading, and the option to change the reading speed. 

The mode is pretty cool as it lets you change between three types of delivery:

  • Story, which is the default option where it automatically moves from lesson to lesson.
  • Audio, where the hack is presented in the same breakdown as story mode, but it’s just audio instead of text.
  • Text, which lets you just read the hack at your own pace and move to each section whenever you want.

You can also toggle the auto-play in story mode. This lets you choose whether or not you want hacks to automatically play the next lesson and gives you the chance to move at your own pace more. 

I like both options because sometimes it’s easier to focus when I know that the content will only be onscreen for a limited time but it’s also nice to be able to switch if I want to just take my time and think about the lessons as I go through them.

Another cool feature of Uptime is that it shows you ways to apply what you’re learning. I love that they emphasize this because a lot of the time with summarized content it’s easy to get caught up in consuming volume instead of taking a deep dive. Uptime fixes this by offering an “insight in action” for each lesson:

Uptime Course Hack Example

You get to see each insight in action at the end of the lesson, and a shorter summary of all of them together when you’ve finished the hack:

Uptime Course Hack Take Action

Sometimes it’s really tough to get the “what should I do about this?” out of non-fiction content like this. Many books we read have so much in them that we feel overwhelmed with everything we want to do about what they teach. 

Uptime removes this problem by giving you the summary and focusing you on just a few main points from the content that you can apply to improve your life!

That’ll do it for Uptime’s main features! I told you it was simple and easy to use, didn’t I? It’s easy to see already that we love Uptime, but let’s wrap up with a quick summary of everything and our final conclusion of whether or not Uptime is worth it for you. Although I think you already know what we’re going to say about it!

Uptime Reviews By Users

As of this writing, Uptime has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 in the Apple app store and 4.0 out of 5 in the Google Play (Android) store. Let’s take a deeper look into what people have to say about Uptime in their reviews.

On the Google Play app store, the majority of negative reviews have to do with the cost of Uptime. Many of these people say that the content is great, they’re just frustrated with the price. 

Looking through the reviews, I also couldn’t find a single one that Uptime hadn’t responded to, no matter whether it was critical or praise! And I scrolled through maybe a couple hundred reviews, too. These guys care about their users, and it shows. 

Here are some of the main ideas from comments from app store reviews of Uptime:

  • People love the concept of summaries for books, courses, documentaries, and other types of content as well as the way that Uptime delivers these.
  • Tons of summaries and a very nice app but sometimes the summaries feel too simple and thin. I just want to point out here that as we mentioned in our pros and cons list above, this is inevitable with summary services and can actually be a good thing as it helps you decide what content is actually worth your time.
  • One user referred to Uptime as “Snapchat for knowledge” and we couldn’t agree more. 
  • Comments mention that it gives people an opportunity to learn from books and other content that they’ve been dying to read but haven’t had the time for. Plus they love that it also leads them to books that they might never have found on their own!
  • A review from just a few months ago describes how the user used to pick up lots of books and never finish them, but that Uptime has solved this issue for them!

I searched for reviews of Uptime on Reddit but unfortunately wasn’t able to find anything just yet. Give it some time though, and I’m sure people will start chiming in there to let us know what they think! 

There are already hundreds of comments in reviews in the Apple and Google Play stores though. If you want more ideas to help you see if Uptime is for you, check out Uptime in each app store via the links below:

Read Uptime Reviews in the Apple App Store »

Read Uptime Reviews in the Google Play Store »

Now that we’ve seen what others think of Uptime and looked at it’s major pros and cons, it’s time to get into the awesome details of what the app feels like.

Thank you for reading this far! If the knowledge hack format and what other users are thinking has convinced you, please use the button below to sign up for Uptime. You’ll support this site at no extra cost in the process by automatically letting them know we’ve referred you, and we’ll get a small commission. Thanks! And now, on to the rest of our Uptime review!

How Uptime Has Changed My Life for the Better

I love non-fiction content, especially from books and online courses. In just the last few years, I’ve probably spent a few thousand dollars on just courses and books.

The sad part about all of that, though, is that I’ve only actually finished about 25% of it all. If I had started with Uptime, I would have saved all that money and not left anything unfinished because I’d have got through all of that content much sooner at a far cheaper price. 

I’ve only been using Uptime for a short time, and it already tells me that I’ve saved 57 hours by learning from 27 insights. If we were conservative and said that each of those was a book insight and the average cost of a book is $15, I’d be out $405 to read all of those books. Considering many of those were courses, the actual number is probably over $1,000!

What’s more, those 57 hours I’ve saved have let me spend more time on applying the content to improve my life and less time bogged down in the details that can make some non-fiction content difficult to get through. Without all that overwhelm, I’ve improved my life much faster than if it weren’t for Uptime.

Conclusion of Our Uptime Review: Is Uptime Worth It?

An Uptime subscription costs just $4-7 per month and lets you get the main ideas out of books, courses, and documentaries in a fraction of the time. Plus, you get to find out whether or not a book or course is worth it for you without spending all the money to buy it first. No more wasted time buying digital products that don’t meet your needs. 

My conclusion is that Uptime is 100% worth the price because it’s one of the best all-around summary services out there. For just a few dollars per month, you get summaries of books, podcasts, courses, and documentaries, all in an easy-to-consume format with the ability to save and take notes on all of it.

If you’ve made it all the way here, congratulations, and thank you! If you’d like to give Uptime a try, please use the button below. We’d really appreciate it. As always, we hope we’ve helped you learn more in less time, and we’ll see you soon in our next review!

Thank you for reading our Uptime review! We hope you found it helpful. If you like what you’ve seen and are excited to sign up, simply use the button below. We’ll get a small commission for referring you at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

With the free trial, you’ll get seven days of as many book, course, documentary, and podcast hacks as you want. Plenty of time to make up your mind whether you want to keep your subscription!


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:

Evernote Review Cover

Evernote Review 2022: Is It the Best Note-Taking App?

Is Evernote the best note-taking app for you? How does it compare with its alternatives? Is the free plan of Evernote enough or is it worth getting the premium version? Let’s find out.

Evernote is a popular note-taking app with a large userbase. It has established a solid reputation among students and professionals. People often use it for both their personal and professional needs.

In our Evernote review, you’ll find out how it works, its pros and cons, and how it compares with its alternatives so you can pick the note-taking app that suits you the best. As usual, you can use our handy table of contents below to jump to whatever section might interest you the most! Let’s go!

Quick Summary of Our Evernote Review (FAQ)

1. Is Evernote the best note-taking app?

Evernote is one of the best note-taking apps. Whether it is the best for you depends on your preference and needs. We compared Evernote with its common alternatives in the Evernote vs Competitors section of the review.

2. Does Evernote offer a free version?

Evernote has a free plan that covers the basic features you’ll need to take notes for personal use. If you want access to the premium features or need more storage, you’ll need to upgrade your account. Check out the Evernote Pricing section of the review for details.

3. How’s the user experience of the Evernote app?

Most users find the interface of Evernote simple and accessible. However, its extra features can be a bit more complicated than some of its alternatives that offer a simple note-taking solution without the added features.

4. How much does Evernote cost?

Evernote has a free plan, a premium personal plan for $7.99 a month or $69.99 a year, and a premium professional plan for $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. We compare the differences between them in the Evernote Pricing section of the review.

5. How does Evernote compare with its alternatives?

There are many similar apps to Evernote. It is commonly compared with apps like OneNote, Notion, Google Keep, Notability, Bear, Apple Notes, Trello, and Todoist. We highlight the key differences between them in the Evernote vs Competitors section of the review.

If this is all you’ve wanted to know, and you want to go right ahead and start a risk-free Evernote trial while securing any exclusive discounts we might be able to get for you, you can use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the rest of our detailed Evernote review.

Pros and Cons of Evernote

Evernote is one of the most famous note-taking apps which also has a task management system. It is known for its extensive features with an easy-to-use interface. Most users stick with it because it lets you efficiently capture, organize, and search notes. It also syncs between several devices and integrates with third-party programs.

Evernote has its upsides and downsides as follows:

Pros of using Evernote:

  1. Capturing, accessing, organizing, and searching the notes is convenient. It also syncs with other devices quickly so you can switch between your devices with ease.
  2. Navigating the app is super simple and elegant. Most people have no trouble getting started with the app. Even the advanced features are easy to grasp, thanks to its slick user experience and interface.
  3. Miscellaneous features like Web Clipper, Document Scanning, Character Recognition, Tasks, and Calendar make it stand out as a prominent note-taking app. These features can save you a lot of valuable time and effort.
  4. Integration with apps like Google Drive, Slack, Outlook, MS Teams, Zapier, and Gmail makes it extremely useful for working professionals. It’s also helpful for teams working together.

Cons of using Evernote:

  1. Cheaper alternatives to Evernote are available when you compare their premium plans. However, the price difference between them is only a few dollars.
  2. Evernote can be heavier or more complex than a simple note-taking app if you take notes occasionally and don’t need the extra features.
  3. Some of Evernote’s competitors provide more storage but usually, most people find Evernote’s storage to be more than enough.

What Is It Like to Use Evernote?

Evernote is a dedicated note-taking app that gives you complete control over your notes. It makes capturing, organizing, and searching notes exceptionally accessible.

Evernote’s user experience is simple, elegant, and efficient. It syncs between multiple devices fast and is available on desktop, mobile, and web. The navigation on all devices stays similar.

Onboarding instructions make it easy to get started with the app. Even the advanced features are not hard to grasp. You can access almost all features from the home tab or you can open the side menu bar to access various sections.

1. Navigating the App

The following features and sections are available while navigating the app:

Evernote Review Menu

Is Evernote the Best Note-Taking App?

  • Notes

A collection of all notes sorted by recently used.

Is Evernote Worth It?

  • Scratch Pad

A writing space for jotting down a quick note, which you can later delete or copy-paste into a new note.

  • Pinned Note

Pinned notes are shown in this section for quick access.

  • Recently Captured

Captured web clips, images, documents, audios, and emails are shown in this section.

  • Notebooks

A list of all the Notebooks sorted by recently used. Notes are organized under Notebooks.

Is Evernote Worth the Price?

  • Tags

A collection of tags made by the user to easily access notes under the same tag.

Evernote Review

  • Shortcuts

A list of shortcuts created by the user to quickly access frequently used notes.

Is Evernote the Best Note-Taking App?

  • Calendar

The calendar connects with Google Calendar to link notes with events for easy access.

  • Filtered Notes

Set filters based on keywords, tags, notebooks, attachments, dates, etc. to view a collection of notes in one place.

Is Evernote Worth It?

  • My Tasks

A list of tasks created by the user that can be added to notes and organized with due dates or flags.

Is Evernote Worth the Price?

  • Settings

Manage app settings and customize the look with Dark Mode or Create Button appearance options.

Evernote Review

2. Writing Notes

Is Evernote the Best Note-Taking App?

As you tap the “+ New” button, you’re prompted with a range of options to add a camera photo, sketch, attachment, audio, task, or a note.

Evernote vs OneNote

At the top, you can see or edit the notebook under which the note is saved. Then, you can enter the title or simply start writing. You also have an option to pick a Template provided by Evernote or you can create a custom template if you’re a premium user.

Is Evernote Still Worth the Price?

These are the formatting options you can use while typing notes:

  • Insert a task, camera photo, calendar event, attachment, image, link, table, divider, audio, checkbox, code block, sketch, or Google Drive files within the note.
  • Edit the text style, size, font, text color, highlight color, or text alignment.
  • Make the text bold, italics, underlined, struckthrough, subscripted or superscripted.
  • Add a checklist, bullet list, or numbered list
  • Add a link with a title and a URL.

You can use the following features while using notes:

Evernote Review

  • Share the note with someone via email, invitation, or by creating a shareable link.
  • Search text within the note.
  • Add a tag or reminder to the note. 
  • Pin the note to Home.
  • Find more info about the note such as creation date, last update date, size, etc.
  • Save the note as a template.
  • Print, move, duplicate or delete the note.
  • Undo or redo any action.

Evernote’s sketching mode comes with the following additional features:

Evernote Review

  • Turn on “Snap to shape” for smoother or precise sketches.
  • Change the background color or background pattern of the sketch.
  • Change the color and the size of the sketching pencil or the highlighter pen.
  • Use the eraser or the slicer to edit the sketch.
  • Zoom in, zoom out, or come back to the fit-to-screen view.

3. Searching Notes

Evernote Review

Evernote is popular for its search feature that makes it incredibly easy to search through the notes.

You can apply filters based on tags, notebook, creation date, update date, and the following contents:

  • Addresses
  • Archive Files
  • Attachments
  • Audio
  • Calendar Events
  • Checkboxes
  • Code Blocks
  • Contacts
  • Dates
  • Document Files
  • Email Addresses
  • Encryptions
  • Google Drive
  • Images
  • Integers
  • Lists
  • Numbers
  • Office Files
  • PDF Files
  • Percentages
  • Person Names
  • Phone Numbers
  • Presentations
  • Prices
  • Spreadsheets
  • Tables
  • Tasks
  • Tasks: Completed
  • Tasks: Not Completed
  • Time
  • URLs
  • Video
  • Webclips

The search function also includes character recognition that searches for keywords in photos, whiteboard scans, business cards, handwritten notes, and documents.

If this is all you’ve wanted to know, and you want to go right ahead and start a risk-free Evernote trial while securing any exclusive discounts we might be able to get for you, you can use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the rest of our detailed Evernote review.

Additional Features of Evernote

Evernote continually adds features to keep its reputation as one of the best note-taking apps. Some additional features that make Evernote stand out are:

1. Web Clipper

The Web Clipper is available as a browser extension that lets you save web pages, articles, images, screen captures, and PDFs. You can easily organize them under notebooks and annotate screenshots while saving them.

2. Document Scanning

If you hate keeping piles of papers, Evernote has got your back! You can scan and save any document whether it is your ID card, a business file, or a handwritten note. With Evernote’s character recognition feature, you can even search inside documents for a particular text.

3. App Integrations

All your tasks, emails, calendar, and notes can work in harmony with third-party integrations in Evernote. It integrates with applications like Google Calendar, Gmail, Google Drive, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, Outlook, and Zapier.

4. Penultimate App

Penultimate is a free digital handwriting app for iPad by Evernote. It’s like a paperless and inkless notebook that you can take anywhere for sketching or writing notes. It syncs with Evernote seamlessly. 

Evernote Pricing

Evernote has three tiers of pricing and a team plan:

1. The Free Plan

Many users who don’t need premium features only use the free version of Evernote as it covers the basic features you’ll need for casual use. It includes:

  • 2 devices synchronization
  • Up to 60 GB monthly uploads
  • Up to 25 MB note size
  • 3 widgets on the home page
  • In-note tasks
  • Search with tags
  • Web clipping
  • Document scanning
  • Attachments as PDFs, receipts, files, photos, images, and documents
  • Audio notes
  • Gmail connection to save emails in Evernote
  • Offline access to notes on the desktop

You can see all details of the free plan here.

2. The Personal Premium Plan

The Personal Premium plan costs $7.99 a month or $69.99 a year. It is ideal for personal use if you want to use its premium features. It covers all the features of the free plan and also includes:

  • Unlimited devices synchronization
  • Up to 10 GB monthly uploads
  • Up to 200 MB note size
  • Customizable home page
  • Access to extra widgets
  • Google Calendar connection
  • Due dates, reminders, and notifications feature for tasks
  • Offline access to notes on mobile and desktop
  • Text search inside images, docs, and PDFs
  • Custom templates
  • Images and PDFs annotation
  • Email forwarding to Evernote
  • Google Drive connection to add files to notes
  • Note version history and restoration

You can see all details of the Personal plan here*.

3. The Professional Premium Plan

The Professional Premium Plan costs $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. It is best for professionals who want to manage projects of large scope at work or in their personal life. It covers everything in the personal premium plan and also includes:

  • Up to 20 GB monthly uploads
  • Access to all widgets and customization options for the home page
  • Personal and workplace Google Calendar connections
  • Task management system for teams
  • Boolean terms search
  • Location-based search
  • Notebooks exports (as PDFs)
  • Integration with Slack, Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, and more

For a full overview of all details of the Professional plan, go here*.

4. Evernote Teams

Evernote also offers a workplace solution for businesses working in teams. It costs $14.99 per user a month. It covers everything in the Professional Premium Plan and also includes:

  • Spaces that make collaboration in team projects easier. You can access all notes, documents, and tasks within a Space from one dashboard. You can also find the latest updates made by the team members and pin notes that are frequently accessed.
  • Admin Console lets the admin manage users, content, billing, security settings, and integrations from this dashboard. It also lets you search the activity history with detailed logs.

Evernote vs Competitors

There are many alternatives to Evernote. Below we compare the key differences between them to help you make the best choice.

Evernote vs OneNote

  • Evernote is more user-friendly, simple, and elegant than OneNote.
  • Evernote offers some features only to premium users whereas OneNote gives all its features for free. You’d only need to pay for OneNote if you need more than 5GB of data storage.
  • Evernote has an advanced search tool whereas OneNote’s search function is limited to text without many search modifiers.

Evernote vs Notion

  • Evernote is primarily a note-taking app whereas Notion is more than a note-taking app. Therefore, Evernote is best if you’re looking for an exclusive note-taking app without many distracting features and Notion is best for those who want a multipurpose workplace app.
  • Evernote can be great for personal management whereas Notion may be better for large team project collaborations.
  • Evernote offers features like in-app sketching and document scanning whereas Notion doesn’t offer such features.

Evernote vs Google Keep

  • Evernote’s user interface is like a notebook while Google Keep’s interface is like sticky notes. Therefore, Google Keep is simpler to use and navigate, but Evernote offers more features.
  • Evernote integrates with many programs whereas Google Keep integrates only with Google applications.
  • Evernote has rich text formatting options whereas Google Keep doesn’t offer such text formatting options.

Evernote vs Notability

  • Evernote’s free plan provides enough features whereas the free version of Notability is quite limited even for personal use. However, the premium version of Notability costs only $11.99 a year (pricing varies by region).
  • Evernote organizes notes under Notebooks whereas Notability has Subjects and then Dividers which makes its organization a bit more complex.
  • Evernote is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android whereas Notability is only available on Mac and iOS.

Evernote vs Bear

  • Evernote offers distinct features like Templates, Web Clipper, and Audio Notes while Bear has other distinct features like multiple export options, Markdown Syntax and Focus Mode.
  • Evernote is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android whereas Bear is only available on Mac and iOS.
  • Evernote integrates with more third-party programs than Bear, which makes Evernote easier to synchronize with your workflow.

Evernote vs Apple Notes

  • Evernote and Apple Notes, both let you create Notebooks but Evernote lets you tag notes whereas Apple Notes lets you create sub-notebooks.
  • Evernote provides rich text formatting, has many features, and integrates with many third-party programs whereas Apple Notes is simpler, has fewer features, and doesn’t integrate with any third-party program.
  • Evernote is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android whereas Apple Notes is only available on Mac and iOS.

Evernote vs Trello

  • Evernote is great for taking and organizing notes while Trello is best for planning and managing projects. You can use either one or use both by connecting them with the Evernote Power-Up in Trello.

Evernote vs Todoist

  • Evernote is specialized in note-taking with Tasks as an additional feature while Todoist is a dedicated task management app for managing projects.

Feel inspired to start a risk-free trial of Evernote? Click the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the conclusion of our Evernote review.

Conclusion of Our Evernote Review: Is It Worth It?

Evernote is a prominent note-taking app that has been around for decades. It is reported to have more than 250 million users. Although it has many alternatives, Evernote has many loyal fans who stick with it too. It may be best for you if:

  • You take a lot of notes and want to organize them efficiently. Its advanced search will let you find the exact note you’re looking for in seconds.
  • You’d like a task management system built into the app along with your notes to smoothen your workflow.
  • You like to take voice notes, draw sketches, insert images or scan handwritten notes.
  • You want an easy and efficient way to clip sections or pages from the web to add to your notes.
  • You use several devices to take notes and want them to work in synchronization.
  • You use applications like Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Slack, Outlook, MS Teams, Zapier, etc., and want to integrate them with your notes or tasks.

Overall, Evernote is a great app for your personal and professional use. It is worth the considerate price. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll likely stick with it.

In our opinion, Evernote is the most accessible note-taking app with rich enough features to cover most, if not all use cases you’ll need. Other Evernote alternatives are not bad either, but we prefer Evernote because its developers keep upgrading the app to make it more useful, efficient, and ever easier to use.

That’s it! If you now want to try Evernote while supporting Four Minute Books at no extra cost (we’ll receive a small commission for referring you), use the button below. Thank you!

We hope you found this review helpful, and that you now have the information you need to pick the best note-taking app that works for you. We’ve been using Evernote to organize our book summaries for many years, and we still think it’s one of the best productivity tools out there.


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:

Academic Mastery With Roam Review

Academic Mastery With Roam Review Cover

Roam Research is one of the best (if not the best) pieces of software for writers, academics, and thought leaders to take notes and manage their knowledge. The problem is that not many people know how to take full advantage of Roam and all its functions. For that, you need to put deliberate effort into learning it, preferably having someone holding your hand in the process.

Academic Mastery With Roam is a digital course for academics on how to use Roam Research efficiently. The course was created by Maarten van Doorn, a Ph.D. in philosophy and one of the top Medium writers with hundreds of thousands of views on his articles. In his course, Maarten walks you through his research and writing process and shows you workflows that you can then replicate in your own work.

In this review, I’m going to cover exactly how the course can help you master Roam, who it is for, and what you should and shouldn’t expect from it. By the end of reading this page, you will have a good understanding of whether Academic Mastery With Roam is the right online course for you.

If you want to quickly jump to any section that’s particularly relevant to you, use the handy table of contents below:

Alright, let’s get started!

Summary: Academic Mastery With Roam Review (FAQ)

1. Who is the person behind this course?

Maarten van Doorn is the creator and teacher of this course. At the time of writing this review, he’s a PhD candidate in philosophy and one of the most successful Medium writers. In 2021, he received the Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. He also coached dozens of people one-on-one in using Roam Research.

2. What’s inside the course?

Academic Mastery With Roam is a video course hosted on Teachable. It consists of six modules walking you through a research and writing process Maarten designed based on the Zettelkasten method. You’ll learn the nitty-gritty of Roam’s various functions and extensions, and how to use them in your academic work. More than this just being about taking and organizing notes, the course teaches you how to create your own knowledge management system. It also covers how to study effectively, and how to turn your notes into publishable written output.

3. How much does it cost and what are the alternatives? Is it worth the price?

Academic Mastery With Roam costs $159. It’s the more favorably priced one out of the two available courses on Roam Research that are designed specifically for academics. For more general online courses on Roam, you can check out this page.

Given how much content Maarten provides, I feel like you’re getting a lot here for your money, especially considering you’ll get 20% off with our affiliate link. That said, ultimately, you’ll have to be the judge of the value of this course. Luckily, you’ll also have 30 days to make up your mind.

4. Is there a money-back guarantee?

Yes. You have 30 days to request your money back and there will be no questions asked.

5. How long does it take to complete the course?

In the live version of the course, the modules were designed to take one week each. That said, the course is completely self-paced, so you can do it in your own time. The total length of all video material amounts to about 6-7 hours. Compared to many Roam Research courses that only have 1-2 hours of videos, it means that this one covers quite a lot!

Also, keep in mind that this isn’t one of those courses that you complete once and for all. You’re likely to review the material many times to study those aspects of Roam you’re currently working with.

If that’s all you wanted to know, and you’d now like to go right ahead and try Academic Mastery With Roam, use the button below to get started.

You’ll even get a generous 20% off for being a Four Minute Books reader and support us at no extra cost to you, since we’ll receive a commission for referring you. You’ll also have a full 30 days to test the course and get your money back if you don’t like it for any reason whatsoever.

Thank you! If you want to learn more first, read on for the detailed review.

The Pros & Cons of Academic Mastery With Roam

Before we go into the details of the course content, I want to give you an overview of the biggest advantages and downsides I found in it. This will give you. an initial overview of what you should and shouldn’t expect from Academic Mastery With Roam.

Pros:

  • The course is extremely well-structured. You may not realize this in the beginning, as Maarten seems to be “dumping” a lot of information right off the bat. But there’s a reason for it and that is to give you an idea of what Roam Research can do. As you go through the course, you’ll gradually learn how to get those same results in your own work. Maarten also “zooms out” on the course content quite a lot, giving an overview of where you currently are in the course. I found this helpful for consolidating my knowledge about Roam.
  • This course is suitable both for beginners and somewhat experienced Roam users. In many modules, you can choose your “level of entry” depending on how advanced you are in using Roam and designing your knowledge structure. As a complete beginner, you can also decide to take the course in its most basic scope first and skip some of the videos. You can then come back to them later to expand your command of Roam.
  • The course was created by a successful online writer and academic who won an Outstanding Doctoral Student Award in 2021. He also coached dozens of people one-on-one in using Roam. I can’t think of someone who would be more qualified to explain the architecture of knowledge, as well as the mechanics of learning and note-taking.
  • Long-term, Academic Mastery With Roam will give you much more than fluency in using Roam as software. It’ll help you build your personal knowledge management system, which you will likely use well beyond the context of academia.
  • It has a 30-day money back guarantee. This means you’re buying this course risk-free because one month is definitely enough time to verify if Maarten’s approach works for you. If it does, I’m sure you’ll be more than happy with what you paid for the value you’re getting!

Cons:

  • No additional accountability by default. As someone who expects added accountability from buying online courses, I found there weren’t enough assignments to complete as a form of “homework.” Because the course is self-paced, it’s also up to you to divide lessons over a period of time – which may be a challenge. That said, Maarten is now offering access to his online community as part of the course, which may be one way to get that accountability and motivation!
  • Lots of new terminology to learn. Several new concepts will be thrown at you right from the start. Maarten explains Roam’s functionalities from the academic angle: making arguments, collecting evidence, linking supporting and objecting claims, etc. This will probably be no big challenge for academics who work with logic principles on a daily basis. For a blogger like me, it required an extra bit of effort.
  • No lesson on keyboard shortcuts. These can make working in Roam much faster and also, Roam allows you to customize your key commands. Luckily, this is something you can easily find online without paying, including guides on how to customize your keyboard shortcuts in Roam.

What Is It Like Inside the Course?

Academic Mastery With Roam is hosted on Teachable, one of the most popular e-learning platforms. This makes it very straightforward to navigate. Here’s how the course will look on your desktop:

On the left, you have a sidebar that displays the course’s curriculum. In the main column, you’ll see a video with the lesson you’re currently watching, plus links to additional resources underneath. You can also post comments under each lesson if you have questions, suggestions, or doubts.

Most of the videos simply show Maarten’s Roam screen which he uses to present the lesson material. By the way – looking at the dates of some of his notes will show you that he’s been using Roam Research for a long time! Occasionally, Maarten will show his face (usually in a short video where he summarizes the module) or give a slideshow presentation – for example, when he explains the Zettelkasten method.

Zettelkasten is the foundation of the system Maarten will teach you in the course. First used by a prolific German scientist Niklas Luhmann, it’s a system for making interlinked notes and, by extension, enabling innovative thinking and synthesizing research. This is central to what Academic Mastery With Roam course is about. 

Rather than just teaching you how to use a software tool, Academic Mastery With Roam helps you develop a complete system for reading, studying, note-taking – and finally, producing quality written output based on all that.

Here’s a brief overview of how this is broken down into six modules.

Module 1

The first module is a tour through Roam’s user functions. It shows you what edits you can make in the text, how you can link text blocks together and embed them in different places, what a Roam graph is, and many other things. After this module, you’ll get a sense of what’s possible with Roam (although the understanding of how to make it happen comes later ;))

Some of the key takeaways from Module 1: 

  • Creating, linking, and tagging blocks and pages
  • Text formatting within Roam
  • Using Roam templates and extensions.

Module 2

The second module focuses on effective reading strategies. Maarten speaks about why most popular reading techniques are inefficient for retaining information (although they seem to be). He also introduces the first steps to start building your Roam’s knowledge database.

Some of the key takeaways from Module 2: 

  • Mental processes to “run in the background” that will help you remember what you read
  • Learning to install Zotero (a digital reference manager) and integrating it with Roam
  • Learning how to import chosen content from pdfs, websites, Readwise, and Twitter into Roam.

Module 3

The third module is all about effective studying. This means translating the content of your highlights into your own words – which, as Maarten teaches, is important for a few reasons. Mainly, it’s crucial for remembering and better understanding what you read, so you can later use it in the context of your own academic work.

Some of the key takeaways from Module 3:

  • The importance of spaced repetition when it comes to retaining information,
  • Setting up a spaced repetition system in Roam, so you can actively learn from your notes,
  • The Feynman technique to deepen the understanding of your research topics.

Module 4

The fourth module introduces the Zettelkasten method and explains the principles of taking smart notes. You’ll learn how to make them relevant for your future self, as well as how to organize them and structure your knowledge database in Roam.

Some of the key takeaways from Module 4:

  • Becoming familiar with different types of notes and how to use them,
  • Learning how to use keywords to file your notes
  • Learning how to dissect what you read into atomic smart notes written in your own words.

Module 5

The fifth module expands on the relationships between your notes. It adds information on how to make relevant connections between notes so, as Maarten puts it, they can start “talking to each other.” This is where you really start reaping the rewards of the Zettelkasten method by discovering ideas and lines of thought that were previously inaccessible.

Some of the key takeaways from Module 5:

  • Learning how to create explanatory and argumentative connections between notes,
  • Building a smart notes template that you can keep using in the future,
  • Introduction to the complete Roam workflow based on everything you learned.

Module 6

The sixth module is all about turning your notes into publishable text. This is where everything comes together and you get final tools to produce excellent written output based on your Roam notes.

Some of the main takeaways from Module 6:

  • Learning how to outline your paper or book in Roam,
  • A cool feature in the Discourse Graph extension that allows you to visually plan the content of your paper,
  • An export workflow in Roam to create your bibliography much faster.

If you feel like you’ve learned enough and now want to try Academic Mastery With Roam, use the button below to get started.

You’ll even get a generous 20% off for being a Four Minute Books reader and support us at no extra cost to you, since we’ll receive a commission for referring you. You’ll also have a full 30 days to test the course and get your money back if you don’t like it for any reason whatsoever.

Thank you! If you want to learn more first, read on for the rest of this review.

Additional Bonuses of Academic Mastery With Roam

Throughout the course, there are a few nice add-ons you may not expect. In my opinion, they add to the learning experience, making the material even richer. Here are a few simple but cool features I appreciated:

  • Recordings of live workshops. In between each module, you’ll find a recording from a Q&A Maarten did with his students in the live version of the course. In there, you’ll hear people asking questions you may have had yourself. It can be helpful especially in the second part of the course when you’re actively building relationships between notes and need some additional explanations.
  • Live Q&A every last Tuesday of the month. This is your chance to ask Maarten a question in person! 😉
  • Lots of cool additional resources. If you feel like taking a bit of a break from videos, be sure to check out the “Useful Resources & Our Community Forum” (the second lesson of the course). In there, Maarten lists various resources: from links to other experts’ articles to specific guides on installing extensions and implementing bits of code, to a graphic representation of the complete workflow.
  • Subtitles to highlight the most important points. In his videos, Maarten uses selective subtitles to highlight the key parts of what he’s saying. I found it super useful, as this gives my brain cues to pay extra attention to what’s most important.
  • Displaying the course material in the form of Roam notes. As Maarten goes through the course content, you see everything he’s saying summarized in the form of Roam notes. This gives you a better understanding of how Roam can be used for a complex task, such as designing an online course.
  • Effective reading and memorization techniques. This course really is about effective learning – and using Roam is a big part of that. Throughout the course, Maarten explains really valuable practices, like the Feynman technique or spaced repetition, that you can use anywhere and anytime – not just when working with Roam.
  • The Zettelkasten method is explained in depth. Zettelkasten has become a bit of hype, but I’ve rarely seen it explained with the kind of depth that Maarten provides in his course. For me, this was the first real opportunity to understand what lies at the core of Zettelkasten ( i.e. fostering the connectivity of thoughts and exploring relationships between them, rather than just their content).

How Can You Get the Most Out of Academic Mastery With Roam?

The main advantage of Roam Research over other popular note-taking apps (like Evernote or Notion) is that notes can be linked together and then discovered in new contexts. It’s not about making hierarchical bullet notes that you then dig through when you need to find something. When you’re proficient with Roam, the notes you need appear in the relevant places because you designed them to do so!

While this is a game-changer, it also takes time to learn how to design that system in Roam. This may be the most important disclaimer when entering the Academic Mastery With Roam course: Don’t expect the benefits overnight.

Learning Roam is a long-term investment, and the longer you’re using it, the more returns on that investment start to compound. The more interlinked notes you have, the more Roam adds to your thinking and writing.

Knowing this, I recommend that you start using Roam Research the moment you enroll in Maarten’s course. If you’re not sure if Roam is right for you yet, don’t worry – the first month is free. But it won’t do much if you’re just studying the course material without applying it. You need to have access to Roam!

You can put the course material into practice in two ways: 

  1. Start doing your academic work in Roam, alongside studying the course. Your notes don’t have to be perfect straight away. You’ll see that Maarten also has notes from way before he developed his system, and even though they may lack some aspects he now prioritizes, they still support his overall Zettelkasten.
  2. If you’re not an academic or don’t have an ongoing research project you can apply this to simply make notes about the course. The benefit here is kind of “meta”- you’re using Roam to learn Roam! 🙂

Also, my personal way through the course was not to get too attached to the linear structure of it. For example, the first module contains a few lessons on functionalities that I wasn’t able to digest in the beginning. So, I dropped them and came back to them later after watching other modules and having gained some basic fluency in Roam.

Be prepared to watch some lessons a few times, at different stages of your learning. Chances are, they will gain new relevance after your command of Roam has improved.

The 7 Main Benefits of Academic Mastery With Roam

Maarten’s promises about Academic Mastery With Roam aren’t small. On the course’s landing page, he says that if you learn his system, you’ll remember everything you want, think better, and write effortlessly – among a few other things.

Sound like a bit of a long shot? Maybe, but taking that Maarten’s used his method to write most of his Ph.D. thesis in 10 months, it seems like he knows what he’s talking about. 

Here are the seven biggest benefits you’ll likely to experience if you take the course and study it diligently.

1. The efficiency of your learning and writing will improve.

This is a no-brainer. If you do what Maarten teaches, you’re pretty much guaranteed to become a better thinker and writer. That’s because his Roam system is designed to streamline certain processes that otherwise slow down your research. A good example is when he explains what to do with the highlights you import into Roam. You need to process them rather than just copy-paste them. The latter, in Maarten’s words, “doesn’t get you retention of the material and it doesn’t get your mastery of the material in a way sufficient for you to be able to write about it.”

 

2. You’ll get insights about your research topic that you wouldn’t come across otherwise.

There are only so many links between pieces of information that your brain is able to hold at any given moment. When you use Maarten’s system in Roam Research, you effortlessly create and record more of those links. As a result, you may discover completely new angles from which to view your subject matter.

3. Your memory will improve.

One cool thing about Academic Mastery With Roam is that it teaches you how to learn. The course ventures way beyond just recording pieces of information in Roam. It teaches you to do it in such a way that your retention of information and understanding of the topic improve along the way!

4. You’ll end up with your personal Wikipedia.

Another tangible benefit of taking this course is that, by doing it, you’ll end up with a well-organized knowledge database that’s relevant to your research interests. This is a really great asset that you can refer to anytime in the future, not just for the purpose of one specific project.

5. You’ll unlearn a few unhelpful studying habits.

As Nir Eyal once said, “living the life we want requires not only doing the right things, it also requires that we stop doing the wrong things that take us off-track.” This is one other benefit you’ll reap after taking Maarten’s course. You’ll stop doing the wrong things in your research and learning that give you an illusion of understanding – but that really just distract you from deepening your knowledge 

6. You’ll understand Zettelkasten and the principles of taking smart notes.

Zettelkasten is a learning system that’s praised by many academics and other knowledge workers. It allows you to organize complex ideas in a straightforward manner, record them, and connect them together. The Zettelkasten relies on atomic smart notes. Once you understand the principles that make them so smart, you’ll be able to record information in a brand new, more effective way.

7. You’ll see all the above benefits compounding exponentially over time.

Roam may be hard to get started with and as many people note, it has a “steep learning curve.” The good news is that once you get a gist of it, any material you add to your Zettelkasten increases its value exponentially. Once you reach a certain point, there’s really no going back because the value of all your notes linked together in Roam becomes far greater than just the sum of their content.

If these benefits have convinced you to try Academic Mastery With Roam, use the button below to get started.

You’ll even get a generous 20% off for being a Four Minute Books reader and support us at no extra cost to you, since we’ll receive a commission for referring you. You’ll also have a full 30 days to test the course and get your money back if you don’t like it for any reason whatsoever.

Thank you! If you want to learn more first, read on for the final part of this review.

How Maarten’s Course Helped Me Adopt a New Perspective on Learning

I’ve been an online writer for over four years now. The more I wrote, the more I had trouble digesting and compiling all the research I’ve continued to do. So, when I first heard of Roam Research, I was thrilled. I subscribed immediately, expecting a quick return on my investment.

But months have passed and I grew frustrated. I was still paying the subscription fee, but it felt like the money was wasted. I struggled to make notes in Roam because I simply didn’t know how to use it. All the available functions overwhelmed me and so, I ended up making notes that felt pretty much useless.

Despite the promises about Roam being a tool to leverage my thinking, it didn’t do that for me. Eventually, I canceled my subscription because I wasn’t seeing much progress.

It wasn’t until I found Maarten’s course that I picked it up again. I’m still by no means a proficient Roam user. I’m learning it, and the learning curve is steep indeed. But after Maarten’s course, I managed to change my perspective on learning and building my knowledge base in Roam.

My main two takeaways are about shifting my perspective to more long-term:

  1. Learning Roam takes time. I’m taking that time now to understand all the Roam’s various features and then figure out how to apply them to my work. Also, it’s okay if I don’t understand everything. It’s the grasping of the philosophy behind Roam and Zettelkasten that matters.
  2. My Roam database will become more valuable over time. Right now, I cannot draw much from my notes as I haven’t put a sufficient amount of content in. But I can already see how this will build up over time. I’ve become more patient in waiting for the biggest rewards to appear in a few months, or maybe rather, in a few years’ time.

Academic Mastery With Roam: Is It Worth the Price? And for Whom?

There are lots of resources to help you learn Roam Research. Many of them seem quite solid. However, they typically offer a general overview of Roam’s functionalities without focusing all that much on the context in which you’re using them.

Academic Mastery With Roam is special in the way that it’s designed with academics in mind. It presents Roam’s functionalities in the context of making scientific arguments, supporting claims with evidence, and constructing an academic discussion that incorporates these. This saves you time that you’d otherwise spend on (1) learning Roam’s functionalities and then (2) figuring out how to apply them to the context of your research. Maarten’s already done that for you and packaged his expertise in the form of a well-structured course.

With that said, don’t anticipate this course to be fast and easy to complete. It’s definitely not enough to just passively watch video lessons to learn Roam. The only way to take full advantage of this course is to study it alongside using Roam Research, so you’re putting what you learned into practice.

Academic Mastery With Roam is a course well worth taking, especially if you work in academia. You’ll need to trust Maarten and put in a good few hours to grasp the basics. But if you do, you’ll see the benefits of Roam quickly. You’ll build your very own knowledge management system and develop a workflow that you can then use in your research, writing, and beyond.

As Maarten put it, this course will allow you to go from “I have a bunch of papers to read” to “I have now synthesized the literature and have a set of promising angles to attack my research problem from.” I think that’s an accurate description of the journey you’ll take if you decide to enroll. Overall, I can recommend this course!

I hope you found this review helpful, and if you do decide to take Maarten’s course, you’ll get 20% off with our unique discount code (affiliate link). Thank you, and happy researching and writing!


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:

Scribd Review

Scribd Review 2022 – Is It Worth It?

I’ve used Scribd consistently for the last 3+ years. In this Scribd review, I’ll cover all the details of why it’s my favorite audiobook service.

Scribd has audiobooks, ebooks, and more, all in one place. It’s like a combination of Audible, Audiobooks.com, Kindle, and more for less than $10 a month.

To jump to any particular section in this review, here’s a handy table of contents:

If you love books, be it fiction or nonfiction, audio or digital, I think you’re going to love Scribd. Let’s get right into the most frequently asked questions about Scribd!

Quick Summary of my Scribd Review (FAQ) 

1. What comes with a subscription to Scribd?

With a Scribd subscription, you get unlimited listening and reading of all content in their gigantic library of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, news, podcasts, and much more.

2. How much does Scribd cost?

Scribd offers a free 30-day trial after which a subscription is just $9.99 per month. It’s as simple as that. No upsells, confusing credit systems, lack of flexibility, or anything else.

3. Is Scribd actually unlimited?

Scribd lets you listen to, read, or access any of its digital books, audiobooks, magazines, and more as much as you want for as long as you’re in a free trial or paid subscription. Some titles are available only at certain times, however, but you can still always find plenty to listen to. If not, I wouldn’t have been paying for it for the last three years!

4. Are all books available on Scribd?

Not all books and audiobooks are available on Scribd, but most are. I’ve found and listened to or read the digital versions of hundreds of bestsellers and popular books on Scribd. Its recommendations are far superior to that of Audible, so much that I’ve never run out of books to read or listen to!

5. Is Scribd safe and legal?

According to the Scribd website, it is “fully compliant with the DMCA and complies with all applicable laws.” In all my time using Scribd, I’ve never had any issues or concerns with my personal data and credit card information.

6. Is Scribd free?

You can get a 30-day free trial of Scribd during which you will have full access to their entire library just as if you were a paying customer. Other than that, Scribd is not free. Once your trial ends, you will need a subscription to keep using Scribd.

7. Do you keep Scribd books?

While you don’t get to keep the books and audiobooks you access on Scribd, I’ve found that this is never a problem. I always have more to listen to on Scribd than I have time to listen. It’s also been one of the best and most inexpensive ways for me to get a feel for books that I might want to buy before actually buying. Audible and Kindle don’t have that benefit, once you get a book there, you’re stuck with it forever.

8. Can I cancel Scribd after a free trial?

You can cancel your Scribd free trial or paid subscription at any time. I’ve had to cancel once just to switch my account to a different email address and the process is simple and painless. No gimmicks or anything!

If that’s all you’ve wanted to know, and you want to go right ahead and start a risk-free, 30-day Scribd trial, you can use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you. Thank you! If not, read on for the detailed review.

Pros and Cons of Scribd

I could spend all day telling you all the reasons why love using Scribd. For this review, though, I’ll just stick to six of the best. I’m also going to explain some of the drawbacks of Scribd, but I think you’ll find that many of them aren’t really that big of a deal.

Here are the main pros of using Scribd:

  1. You don’t get stuck with any bad books because you can try so many books at a time. This is really what sets Scribd apart from Audible. If you want to find a new listen on Audible you take the risk that you won’t like it. That never happens with Scribd, though, as you just find another book if you start to hate the one you’re listening to or reading. I’ve done this hundreds of times and I’m so glad I have this option!
  2. You get audiobooks and digital books and much more all in one place. I love this. If I can’t find a title in audio format, it’s usually available in digital! It’s also really helpful that I can listen when it’s tough to read and vice versa. It’s nice that I get both options in one great app! Plus there are a lot more content types to choose from. More on that in a moment.
  3. The recommendations are the best I’ve ever seen in any reading app. Audible’s recommendations mainly focus on getting you to buy new books. Kindle is the same. And the trouble with both of those is that you usually have to spend money to try any of the books out! With Scribd, you get hundreds of really specific recommendations that are actually similar to what you’re reading. Each different section usually has dozens of recommendations. And the best part is that you can click on the book and start listening to or reading it instantly!
  4. You get a ton more than just Audio and digital books and it’s all high-quality stuff. The Scribd library includes books, audiobooks, documents, magazines, podcasts, Sheet Music, and Snapshots (summaries). So not only can you get your digital books and audiobooks in one place, you can listen to your favorite podcasts and read summaries in Scribd as well!
  5. You can download books for offline listening, add bookmarks, and do just about everything else that the other reading apps do. I have yet to find an app feature within Audible that Scribd doesn’t have as well. It’s got everything that you need! If there is something missing I haven’t found it yet because it has all the features necessary for a quality listening experience.
  6. At about $10, the price is fantastic. This is a large part of why I’ve loved Scribd and have had it for as long as I have. It’s been called the “Netflix of books” and if you give it a try you’ll see why this is true. It’s been interesting to see how Audible and other services have recently been trying to keep up with Scribd by adding more streaming-type subscription options. But Scribd was always the winner in that race, and the best, in my opinion!

Now let’s take a look at the cons of using Scribd:

  1. You don’t get to keep the books you listen to. This is one area where Audible does beat Scribd, but honestly, I don’t really care. For one, as I mentioned above, the recommendations are so good and I can listen to so much at once that I never get stuck with a bad book. What’s more, I can keep listening to my favorites as long as I have a subscription. Angela Duckworth’s book Grit has been in my library for at least two years now and I’ve listened to it dozens of times!
  2. Adding highlights in digital books is tough sometimes. I never had a problem with this on Android but ever since I switched to iPhone it’s difficult to add highlights. I have to try multiple times to get it to do what I want. This doesn’t happen on Android, so it may just be an iPhone problem. They’re usually good at fixing bugs though, so I’m not worried that this will remain a long-term issue.
  3. There are too many great books to listen to. This is a good problem to have, honestly! But I do often feel like I’m missing out on so many good books because the recommendations are really so fantastic. I’ll go through phases where I listen to a dozen books at a time and it’s hard to actually finish because they’re all so good! This does help me find the best of books though, which I really enjoy.

What is it Like to Use the Scribd App?

Now that you know some of the general details and pros and cons it’s time to get into the finer details of Scribd. There’s some really cool stuff here so let’s dive right in and check it out!

We’ll start by focusing on the main uses for Scribd which are listening to audiobooks and reading digital books. Then later we’ll take a look at some of its features and benefits other than books.

First, we’ve got listening to audiobooks. Here’s what the audio player within Scribd looks like:

Scribd Audio Player

You can see the book title and author, an image of the cover, how much time you have left, and have the ability to rewind, fast-forward, skip ahead, add a bookmark, and much more. It’s a pretty similar audio player to most of the others.

Let’s start from the top and move downward looking at each feature. In the top right we have the menu, which lets you:

  • Remove the book from Saved or add it to Saved if you’re listening to a book that you haven’t yet added to your library.
  • Download the book for offline listening.
  • View the table of contents.
  • View the bookmarks you’ve added within the book.
  • Share it.
  • Change the audio jump length so instead of jumping 30 seconds at a time you can jump a different amount. 
  • See the details about the book

Scribd Audio Player Details

The next main feature on this page is that little arrow in the middle of the screen on the left. Pressing on it will take you back to a spot that you’ve previously listened to. It may be the beginning of the chapter or the beginning of the book even. It changes depending on your listening habits, which is nice.

This is helpful for being able to get right back to where you want if you end up listening on different devices or want to listen to a section multiple times.

A little below that arrow you’ll see the moon icon which will show you options for the sleep timer. This lets you select an amount of time after which Scribd will automatically pause your book so if you fall asleep you won’t miss anything. You get the following options for a sleep timer:

Scribd Sleep Timer

I really like that it has the custom option like many others but also that it adds the “End of Chapter” in there. I often listen to books before bed and it’s really helpful to be able to know that I can turn that on and not have to wonder which chapter I was in when I started in case I fall asleep partway through a chapter.

In the middle of the screen just below the image of the book, you see the option to add a bookmark. This is really helpful for quickly getting to your favorite parts of a book. It makes listening to non-fiction a lot easier because you can get right to the main points after you finish a book, which makes it easier to practice whatever the book teaches.

To the right of that, you have the option to change the playback speed. These include the typical options all the way up to 2x: 

Scribd Audio Playback Speed Options (Scribd Review)

On the very bottom, you have the main player controls. This area shows you what chapter you’re in, the progress in that chapter, and the buttons for moving around. 

Scribd Audio Player

You can press and hold the blue dot then move it backward or forward to go to any specific location in the chapter or hit the buttons directly to the left or right of the pause/play button to either rewind or fast-forward. The arrows to either side will take you to the beginning of the chapter you’re in currently or the beginning of the next chapter.

That about does it for the audiobook player, now let’s get into what it’s like to read an e-book on Scribd. 

Here’s what the e-book reader looks like (I’ve pressed the Aa menu in the top right to show the options for the look of the e-reader):

Scribd E-reader

The three dots in the upper right corner have the same options as in the audio player. Next to that, you can see the “Aa” button which lets you change your font, alignment, line spacing, scroll direction, font size, theme, and brightness. I really love that I can read in dark mode, it makes reading at night a lot easier!

Underneath this section, you have the main reader. Note that those options to change the look of this screen aren’t always showing, I just pressed that to show what you can change. 

On the reader, you can press and hold anywhere on the text to make highlights and add notes. At the bottom, you’ll see the book title, which will show you the chapters in the book. You’ll also see what page you’re on, your progress in the book, and you can scroll to any section within it. At the very bottom right you’ll see the search function which lets you find any specific words or phrases you want to look up within the book.

If you tap once anywhere on this screen you’ll enter fullscreen reading mode which hides all the player controls and even your phone’s top menu. I really like this because it’s a distraction-free way to read. You do still have the option to add a bookmark as you can see by the dashed diagonal line in the upper right corner:

Scribd E-Reader Fullscreen

Reading books in Scribd is simple and straightforward just as it should be. There are no crazy frills or missing features here. I just wish it was a little easier to add a highlight, but as I said earlier, I believe they’ll fix that soon.

Finally, the other main feature of the app is viewing the books and other content that you’ve saved. Here’s what your library looks like:

Scribd Library (Scribd Review)

If you look at the top left of the screenshot above you’ll see that we’re on the “Titles” section. This is the main area you’ll see your content in. 

Starting from the top and moving downward you can see that you have the ability to do the following:

  • Search your titles. This is only for the titles you’ve saved.
  • Filter your titles. You can select by books, audiobooks, magazines, documents, or podcasts. Also, you can hide the titles you’ve finished. This and the previous option might seem trivial but trust me, you’ll use them more than you think. With Scribd’s awesome recommendations you get a ton of books stacked up (notice how I have 64 saved titles!) and it can be hard to find what you want with so many in there!
  • Pressing the “Downloaded” button is another way of filtering that shows only the content you’ve saved to your device. This is helpful when you’re not connected to the internet. I use it all the time.
  • View the titles in your library and continue listening or reading to them.

You’ll be on this screen more than any of the other options. But within your library, you can also access your content by the following:

  • Lists, which you can use to create groupings of your content however you like. You could make lists of non-fiction books and fiction books or business books and personal development books, for instance. The sky’s really the limit here! I haven’t used this feature to its full potential yet, probably because I’ve just been spending way too much time listening to and reading all the great recommendations that Scribd gives me!

Scribd Lists

  • Notebook, where you can see all the bookmarks and highlights you’ve saved, view them and any notes you’ve added to them, and share them with others. Whenever I find a really life-changing book I use this section a ton to refer back to my favorite sections in the book. Just see how many notes and highlights I have in Jon Acuff’s Soundtracks!

Scribd Notebook and Bookmarks

  • History, which shows you everything you’ve ever read or listened to. This is helpful when I need to find a book I’ve listened to that I can’t remember the title of. 

Scribd History

Across the bottom of all these pages, you’ll see the main menu items. I haven’t focused on these yet because you’ll spend most of your time in the audio player, the reader, or your library. 

These menu items include the following:

  • Home, where you can find new content between books, audiobooks, and more. We’ll get into all of those in just a moment.

Scribd Home - All

  • Top Charts, which is just another great way to find new content to add to your library.

Scribd Top Charts

  • Search, which is also a way to find new content and is pretty self-explanatory:

Scribd Search

  • Saved, which is where you can find your library of books as explained in detail above.
  • Account, where you can find support, manage your downloads, change your settings, and more:

Scribd Account Settings

That about covers the main features of the Scribd app. There are a few more though that I think are worth touching on and we’ll get into those now!

 

Additional Features of the Scribd App

For this section, we’ll focus on mostly the features that make the reading, listening, and discovering experience better for just books. In the next section, we’ll dive into the other awesome content within Scribd. 

All of this can be found on the “Home” page by pressing the home icon on the bottom menu. 

Once on the Home page, you’ll see options at the top for selecting different types of content to view:

Scribd Books

The main three are All, Books, and Audiobooks. This is where I spend most of my time when I’m looking for new books. The All page has every type of content, starting with your library then showing books and audiobooks, and then going into other types of content. 

When you press on Books or Audiobooks you get a long list of recommendations in each category. These each start with the books you’ve saved, then have lists in the following categories:

  • Books similar to the ones you’ve been reading or listening to. This is one of my favorite things about Scribd. These recommendations are where I find most of the new books that I read and they are always right on with the kind of content I love most. There are multiple sections, one for each of the books you’ve read or listened to the most recently. 
  • Genre recommendations, like business, motivational, and more. These take the genres of your most read content and give you suggestions based on what you’ve been reading in that genre. 
  • Bestselling in the categories that you listen to the most, similar to what we just talked about.
  • General recommended for you based on the content type. So, for instance, if you’re in the Books tab it will show you recommended books, and so on.

Here’s a brief preview of what this looks like in the app:

Scribd Audiobooks Recommendations

Keep in mind that what you’re looking at here is just a tiny sample of the many many sections to get recommendations. So you can find thousands of books that you will enjoy. You’ll never run out of stuff to read or listen to.

Also, don’t forget that you can press and immediately begin listening to or reading any title you see. You don’t get this when you’re in Audible or Kindle. Instead, those apps make you purchase each book individually. With Scribd, you just get unlimited content that you can start reading or listening to right away. This is a big thing that sets Scribd apart for me and so many others that enjoy it. 

When you click on each title you also get to see the details of it before listening to see if it’s the kind of thing you want to dive into:

Scribd Title Details (Scribd Review)

You get to see ratings, length, and more. I really love that it will show you the formats that Scribd has available for the book. This title, for instance, is available in e-book and Snapshot, which is a summary of it:

Scribd Review

Below this, you’ll also see that there are even more recommendations for you. There are just so many ways to find great books to read in Scribd that you’ll never run out. And I know this is how it goes because I’ve been doing this for over three years now!

We’re about done with this review but there’s one other aspect of Scribd that we’ve got to touch on first. It’s other content than just books, and I really think you’re going to be excited about it!

Other Benefits Than Just Books

You’d think that all these awesome features for listening to and reading books are all there is to Scribd. But wait, there’s more! No really though, Scribd has a ton more content than just books, and it’s all really great stuff.

There are five main additional content types that Scribd offers:

  • Podcasts. Whether you like Hidden Brain, This American Life, Stuff You Should Know, or some other podcast, Scribd has them all. I really love that the first couple of sections on the Podcasts section appear to be specific based on my listening habits. It’s just further proof that Scribd is by far the best at giving recommendations! You can also find award-winning podcasts, best of, and more. 

Scribd Podcasts

  • Snapshots. If you’re familiar with Blinkist, this is just like what Blinkist offers. If you’re not, this section (and Blinkist) offers short summaries of books. You can read them or listen to them and download each for offline access as well. Most are about a 7-10 minute read which comes to about a 15-minute listen.

Scribd Snapshots

  • Sheet Music. If you play the piano, guitar, or a percussion, woodwind, or brass instrument, Scribd has sheet music for you. I’m a piano player myself and have really loved some of the sheet music I’ve found on Scribd. It’s got top songbooks, currently charting, Grammy award-winning artists, and much more. I mentioned earlier one downside of Scribd is that I end up finding too much that I don’t have time to consume it all, and this definitely applies here too.

Scribd Sheet Music

  • Documents. This section is a little different but is extremely useful. It includes documents, like PDFs, of all sorts of books and other media. A lot of it is workbook and journal-type stuff that goes along with books you read. But there’s way more than just that, you can find just about anything here. When I was studying for a licensing exam a couple of years ago I actually found some great resources that really helped with that too! I’ve never seen a section like this in any reading app but I’m really glad Scribd has it. It’s unique and useful and I think everybody will find something in it that they’ll enjoy. 

Scribd Documents (Scribd Review)

  • Magazines. Ever wonder what’s happening to print magazines as everything moves online? Well, many of them are still around and you can read them right within Scribd! It’s got a wide variety including politics, entertainment, tech, business, parenting, health, cooking, arts, crafts, home & garden, and sports. You’ll find some of the big-name magazines on here like Time, People, and Macworld, just to name a few.

Scribd Magazines

Is Scribd Worth It?

I’ll just get straight to the point and say that at about $10 per month for unlimited access to thousands of books and other content, Scribd is 100% worth it. I’ve been paying for it for over three years so I should know! It’s worth every penny I’ve spent on it.

You might look at all these features and books and think that alone makes Scribd worth it. But what really sets Scribd apart for me, and has for the past three years I’ve been using it, is the way it’s changed my life. 

A couple of years ago, not long after I first discovered Scribd, I was having a tough time with my financial situation and work. I felt burnt out, stressed out, and like I would never make enough money. Listening to all kinds of books on Scribd was helping a ton, but it all changed when Scribd’s awesome recommendations led me to this book

I listened to the entire book in just one day. Since then, I’ve used Scribd to listen to it almost 20 times. I’ve also listened to other great books on Scribd like Think and Grow Rich, Essentialism, and so many more. 

My mind and life have been completely transformed for the better because of all of these books. It’s like I get to hang out with the authors and really see how they view the world. Their perspective helps me live better, which makes me happier and more successful. 

That’s not the end of my story though. After finding that finance book and listening to it all in one day, I felt determined to change things. I made a plan to start my own company then wrote myself a check for $100,000 and dated it two years in the future. Fast-forward a couple of years later and I was checking the financials of my new company that I’d started that year. We had billed exactly $101,000 of work. I was stunned. 

Not only that, but as I reflected back on that year and on my financial life since, everything has improved. We paid cash for a car, bought a house, went on spur of the moment vacations to Hawaii and Alaska, and so much more. Most of all, we finally feel financially free, and even though life and work still have their challenges, I feel more confident than ever that we’ll be just fine.

All of this just because of one book that I found from a recommendation on Scribd.

This has improved the financial aspect of my life so dramatically that I hardly recognize it from where it was before. And that’s just this one area of my life! This has happened with many other areas as well. 

This is all to say that you can have a similar experience with Scribd. All it takes is the right book at the right time and your life can completely change for the better.

Scribd is the way to make that happen because it gives such great recommendations and you can listen to or read every one of those books right away. There’s no financial barrier like there is with Audible and Kindle. You get to try thousands of books until you find the ones that will make the difference you seek in your life.  

So you have to ask yourself, is the potential to transform your life for the better worth $10 a month? I definitely think so. And if you’re on the fence, just get a free trial of Scribd and you will get to see what I mean. You’ll never look back again. I certainly haven’t, and I plan on keeping my Scribd subscription forever.

Conclusion: Our Scribd Review

The fact that I’ve been paying for Scribd each month for the last 3+ years should be a testament to how great it is. And especially so considering that I’ve been off and on with Audible and Audiobooks.com during that whole time but never stuck with either of them! Scribd has been my favorite of all three for a very long time.

My final conclusion about Scribd should be no surprise. It’s definitely worth the price to get unlimited listening and the best book recommendations you’ve ever seen. I mean it when I say that if you want to never have to be looking for books again you have to get Scribd. It’s just that good.

If you’d like to try Scribd out yourself and support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, click below to sign up for your free 30-day trial and start listening to and reading all the books (and more!) you want for free:

And if you’ve made it all the way here, thank you for reading this review! We hope that Four Minute Books helps you learn more, get smarter, and improve your life!


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:

Audible Review

Audible Review 2022 – Is It Worth the Price?

Audible is the most famous audiobook service in the world. Their “one new audiobook per month” subscription has been many people’s favorite for years, but, lately, they’re trying to switch things up and become the ultimate audio streaming service all around. In this Audible review, we’ll find out if the industry leader is (still) worth the price.

We’ll discover all the details of Audible’s newest subscription options, why its unique features make it such a good pick for audiobooks, and whether or not it’s really worth it for you, based on your unique circumstances. Here’s a handy table of contents so you can jump to any section you want:

Strap in, and let’s get right into our Audible review, starting with the most commonly asked questions you might have about the service.

Quick Summary of Our Audible Review (FAQ)

1. How many books do you get a month with Audible?

Audible has two membership options. The classic one-credit-a-month plan, known as Audible Premium Plus, will let you choose a title in their library to keep and listen to any title they have. They also now have a cheaper option called Audible Plus, which is like a streaming service for audiobooks where you can listen to all you want a month at a time.

2. How much does Audible really cost?

Audible Plus is $7.95 a month, for which you get to listen to any book in the library (but you don’t get to keep them). Audible Premium Plus costs $14.95 a month and gives you everything Audible Plus does plus 1 credit per month to select any audiobook in their library to keep.

3. How many audiobooks are on Audible?

There are over 200,000 audiobooks available on Audible. I’ve been using it for years and have yet to find that it doesn’t have one of my favorites. It’s also usually the quickest service to get bestsellers as they come out and many audiobooks are only available on Audible.

4. Is Audible free with Prime?

Audible is not free with an Amazon Prime membership. However, if you choose to get a free trial of Audible Premium Plus then you get to select 2 audiobooks to keep instead of just one! 

5. Can I get Audible for free?

You can try Audible for free for 30 days. Then, your subscription will renew monthly depending on which plan you chose. If you subscribe to Audible Premium Plus you’ll get at least 1 audiobook to keep even after the free trial is over. For those who purchase Audible Plus, you can listen to any audiobook in their library for free for 30 days.

6. Do I need a subscription for Audible?

You do not need a subscription for Audible to keep the books you’ve purchased or received as part of a free trial. Without a subscription, however, you will not be able to listen to unlimited audiobooks in their library or use credits to purchase audiobooks.

7. Can I still listen to Audible if I cancel my subscription?

If you cancel your Audible subscription, you still get to keep the books that you’ve received as part of a free trial or purchased with credits or otherwise. I’ve gone through times when I don’t have an active Audible subscription and I can still listen to any book in my library all I want!

If that’s all you’ve wanted to know, and you want to go right ahead and start a risk-free, 30-day Audible trial, you can use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a $5 bounty for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the detailed review.

Pros and Cons of Audible

Audible has got to be the most popular audiobook service out there. And for good reason, too! We’ve certainly enjoyed using it! 

Let’s get into why it’s so great and also look at what cons there are to Audible as well. Most of these only apply to an Audible subscription and do not refer to the free trial or non-subscription use of it.

Pros of using Audible:

  1. You get to listen to any audiobook in the “included” library no matter which subscription you purchase. Remember earlier how we said it’s kind of like a streaming service for audiobooks? That’s what We’re talking about here. Unlimited access to all the audiobooks you want! You can listen to 10 books a month if you feel so inclined! 
  2. The selection on Audible is absolutely unbeatable. Many of the books are Audible-only, so you can’t get them anywhere else. Audible is also really on top of getting new titles, especially bestsellers, quickly after they’re released if not at the same time.
  3. Using the Audible app is an almost flawless experience. I say almost because nothing is perfect. But Audible comes very close here! No crazy glitches, a beautiful user interface that includes dark mode, and so much more. We’ll get into that later.
  4. You get a 30% discount on the full price of any audiobook for as long as you keep your subscription. Audiobooks are expensive, so this is a pretty big deal! 
  5. It’s really affordable. $7.99 a month is like $.26 a day! Audible also has additional options for purchasing monthly credits that can make it pretty inexpensive. A 2 credit plan is $22.95 a month, for instance, which is about $11 per audiobook. That’s a steal! Other options are the annual 12-credit plan for $149.50 and the annual 24-credit plan for $229.50 which are both great deals as well.

Cons of using Audible:

  1. You don’t get to keep the books if you subscribe to Audible Plus (the one that’s like a streaming service). I’m not sure I really mind this though, because how often do you really re-read or re-listen to your favorite books? I know I do occasionally, but I can only do it every few years or so. Just recently I wanted to find something new to listen to but my Audible library only has about 6 books in it, all of which I’ve listened to recently! With a subscription, even to the cheaper option, you get unlimited listens to any book in their “included” library. 
  2. It’s owned by Amazon, which means that its effectiveness as an audiobook service may be hindered by Amazon’s goals. I think of it like buying running shoes from a general shoe company as opposed to buying from a company that only does running shoes. The one that solely makes running shoes is going to have a lot better shoe than the generalist one. That being said, I’ve not really found that Audible is lacking at all because of this. It’s still top-notch, and, on the plus side, having a giant with endless resources behind it makes it more stable and reliable than other options.

What Is It Like to Use the Audible App?

The best thing about the Audible app is that it’s a perfect mix of simplicity and functionality that makes listening to audiobooks a fantastic experience. This section will focus on the main features of the app and in a moment we’ll get into some other cool tools within it. 

You can get the Audible app for free in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. You’ll need a subscription or to purchase audiobooks individually to add new listens to your library. But once you own those titles you get to keep them forever and listen for free, even if you decide to cancel your subscription. 

Let’s dive in with the audio player itself and its main features. Note that these screenshots are from the iPhone version of the app but it looks almost identical in the Android app. 

Here’s what it looks like when you’re in the app listening to an audiobook:

Audible Player

On the top left you have the down arrow that will take you back to the main screen where you can see the following:

  • The home page, which includes recommendations for new books, shows what you’ve been listening to, offers a subscription if you don’t currently have one, and more. 
  • Access to your library of books.
  • The Discover section, where you have many options to find great new listens.
  • Your profile, which shows you your achievements, account details, customer support, and more.

We’ll get into these features more in a moment. For now, let’s continue focusing on the listening experience in the Audible app.

The car icon on the top right will put you into driving mode which takes over the screen and only shows the play, rewind, and bookmark buttons:

Audible Car Mode

Next to that, you have the menu icon which gives you options to view Title Details, share it, give a rating, and more:

Audible Review

Here you can also enter “button free” mode which can be really useful when you’re in the car or don’t want to be distracted by so many options on the main screen:

Audible Button-Free Mode

That covers the top part of the listening screen, now let’s take a look at the bottom portion and see what options we have. Here’s that player screen to remind you of what we’re looking at:

Audible Player

These player controls cover all the basics and have some neat additional features that make listening even better. Starting from right below the image of the book’s cover and moving downward we have:

  1. The chapter or section title and the place you are within that chapter or section right below it. You can press and hold the orange bar to move to a different place in the section. 
  2. Connect to Device which lets you play the audiobook from wireless devices like a Bluetooth speaker.
  3. Controls to go directly to the front of the chapter, rewind 30 seconds, pause or play, fast-forward 30 seconds, and go directly to the next chapter. 
  4. Options to change the playback speed, select a specific chapter, enter sleep mode, or add a clip or bookmark so you can easily return to that part of the book. I particularly like these features as they go beyond what most audiobook apps have available, and the audio clip feature especially.

Here are all the options you have for changing the narration speed:

Audible Narration Speeds

Most of the time I find myself trying to speed things up, but some authors, like Ryan Holiday, talk fast so I like to slow it down. As a side note here, I’ve learned that it’s more enjoyable and helpful to listen at normal speed or slower. Trying to listen at faster speeds works if you need to finish something quickly or find the right spot in a book (although you can just use clips for that as we’ll see in a moment). 

But if you really want to immerse yourself into a fictional book’s story, normal or slower is best. And if you’re listening to non-fiction slower is even better because you’ll remember more and get more out of it. I know it works because I’ve been listening to books more slowly recently and I’m really enjoying these benefits!

After the playback speed button, we have the chapters button, which is pretty straightforward:

Audible Review

Next is sleep mode which just lets you start a timer after which audio playback will stop. You can do this for as little as five minutes and as long as 120 minutes or until the end of the chapter or even choose a custom amount of time all the way up to 23 hours and 59 seconds! 

Audible Sleep Timer

Recently I’ve been really enjoying listening to fictional books to disconnect from work. It’s especially helpful to do this at night when I lay down and my brain starts reminding me about all I need to do. 

This sleep timer is really useful for times like this when I want to relax but don’t want to worry about falling asleep! If you’re the kind of person who gets stressed out at night and struggles to sleep, try listening to fictional audiobooks and putting a sleep timer on.

The last feature of the Audible player is adding a clip and bookmark, which is in the bottom right corner. Once you press it, a clip and bookmark will immediately be added and you’ll see options to add a note to it and preview it as well:

Audible Audio Clip and Bookmark

When you press the “Preview” option you get to change the length of the clip you’ve saved, play it back to see if you got everything you wanted in it, and enter a title also. I really like this option and wish I was better at utilizing it. I’m usually listening to audiobooks while doing something else though, so it’s kind of tough to do. 

If you listen to the same books a lot, which I highly recommend you do after finding the books you like the best, you’ll want to use this feature to mark your favorite parts. I’m definitely hoping to start using it more, even if it means I have to stop whatever else I’m doing to save the clip!

We’ve now covered all of the basics of using the Audible app to listen to audiobooks. But we’ve not even got into all the other cool features of the app, which I really think you’re going to love.

If that’s all you’ve wanted to know, and you want to go right ahead and start a risk-free, 30-day Audible trial, use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a $5 bounty for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the rest of the review.

Additional Features of the Audible App

Audible has some awesome ways to make the listening experience even better. And that’s not just within the audiobook player, either. There’s a lot to discover in other areas in the app, too. 

When you press on the “home” icon in the bottom left, you’ll see this screen:

Audible Home Screen

I’m not currently a paying subscriber of Audible, so the first thing I see is an ad for purchasing a subscription. We’ll get more into the details of the costs and options later. 

Continuing down the page you’ll find great ways to listen, including:

    • Sample Audible Bestsellers, which lets you listen to clips of recent bestsellers to see if you like them.
    • Continue Listening to Your Library is a section that shows the books you’ve listened to most recently in order so you can pick up where you left off.
    • From your wish list shows you books you’ve added to your wishlist, starting with most recently added.
    • Best Sellers, including the most recent popular books.
    • Recommended For You, which is a great way to find new reads based on what you’ve listened to in the past.
    • Popular In Your Top Genres is a cool one that takes the genre of what you listen to and recommends top listens from that genre.
    • New Releases is the newest books on Audible. They add more all the time, so this section is constantly changing.
    • Editors’ Picks are recommendations from the editors at Audible.
    • Top 10 free podcasts shows you the best podcasts that you can listen to for free, with or without a subscription.

I really like seeing the recommendations in the Best Sellers, Recommended For You, and Popular In Your Top Genres. It’s really helpful to make sure I don’t miss a good listen or a potential gem that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to find!

The next option on the bottom menu is your Library, which is pretty self-explanatory:

Audible Library

The main use for this page is selecting a book to listen to. But if you click on the three vertical dots by a title you can see its details, find more books by the author, share, mark it as finished, rate and review, add it to your favorites, add it to a collection, archive it, or download it or remove it from your device if it’s been downloaded.

Across the top, just above your list of books, you can select different options for viewing your library. These include All, Not Started, Started, Downloaded, and Finished. 

Above that, you can see additional ways to view your content or find new listens. You can sort by:

  • All
  • Audiobooks or Podcasts
  • Wish List
  • Collections
  • Authors
  • Genres

Most of these are pretty basic features you’d want to see in an app like Audible. But one of my favorites that I haven’t seen many other places is collections:

Audible Collections (Audible Review)

With this section, you can create your own groups of audiobooks. This makes it really easy to keep track and listen to just what you want to at the right time. This makes finding books a lot easier, and sharing some of your favorites with others, too! I also really like that it makes it possible for me to split up the fiction and non-fiction books that I listen to.

This next section we’ll talk about is another favorite of mine that makes Audible quite unique. It’s called “Discover,” and here’s what it looks like:

Audible Discover

From the top moving downward, you have some great options for finding new books. These include:

  • Browse by genre
  • Podcasts
  • Sleep & meditation
  • Audible Originals
  • Included With Membership

I really like how simple this is. It doesn’t have a ton of options, but that’s good because it only includes the best. 

Scrolling down below that you can see best sellers, creator picks, coming soon, and more. At the bottom is a list of the main categories and an option to see all categories. If you don’t have a subscription you’ll see an option to “Compare plans and start listening.” 

Remember that if you purchase any Audible subscription you can listen to any book in their “included” library as much as you want. It’s just the higher tier subscriptions that let you keep one book, but those also let you listen to any book in the library. So any of the books here are free game to listen to if you have a subscription! 

The last feature of the app that I’ll cover is the profile section. This might sound boring, but there are some cool features within it. Here’s what it looks like:

Audible Profile

You get the typical options to view your account settings and billing and get customer support. But what I really like about this is the “Achievements” section. You can see how long you’ve listened, what level you’re at, and even the badges you’ve earned. 

The badges are particularly interesting and are a good motivation to read and use the app to its full potential. Here are some that I’ve earned:

Audible Badges (Audible Review)

The really cool thing about these is that if you press on any of the badges that you don’t have yet you can see generally how to get it but not the specifics. It’s kind of a mystery what you need to do to get the badge, but that makes it even more fun! 

My badges came from doing things like listening to a title that’s longer than 20 hours, listening for at least three hours around lunchtime, and finishing two books in a single week. It’s kinda fun, and if you like competition and challenging yourself, you should check it out!

Other Listening Options

If you’re like me, having your phone around can be really distracting no matter how well your “do not disturb” mode is. That’s why sometimes, I really like listening on other devices, like my computer. 

To see all the listening options for Audible, click here. The tldr; version of that page is that you can get apps for iPhone, Android, and Windows to begin with. But you can also listen in other ways, including on:

  • Sonos speakers
  • Fire TV
  • Alexa-enabled Devices
  • Kindle
  • Tablets, including Android, iPad, and Windows
  • Streaming on your computer online or in the iTunes app

You’ll notice that many of these options include Amazon devices. That makes sense considering that Audible is owned by Amazon. But it’s not my favorite because it means I can’t listen to my Audible audiobooks on my Google Nest speakers. This is where Audiobooks.com wins for me personally. All things considered, though, it’s really easy to find a way to listen to your books on Audible.

When I listen on my computer I just go to Audible’s website, where I have the same options as in the app:

Audible Review

From here, I can click on my library then listen to any book I have:

Audible Desktop Player

The audio player does pop up in a new separate window, which I don’t love, but it works just fine. Your audiobooks do still play if you close the Audible tab you were on, which is nice. I could listen in iTunes/Apple Music if I wanted. But that’s just one more app to keep open on my already busy computer screen. 

While I wish the audio player on desktop wasn’t an extra popup, I still really like listening on my computer. It makes putting my phone and all the distractions that come with it out of sight and out of mind!

How Much Does Audible Cost?

There are five main subscription options for Audible:

    • Audible Plus – $7.99 a month. This includes access to the plus catalog, which lets you listen to thousands of Audible Originals, podcasts, sleep tracks, and meditation programs, as much as you want. 
    • Audible Premium Plus – $15.99 a month. This includes access to the plus catalog as described above plus one title of your choice each month that you get to keep in your library forever, even if you cancel.
    • Audible Premium Plus (2 Credits) – $22.95 a month. Same as the regular Premium Plus, but you get two audiobooks a month to keep in your library forever.
    • Audible Premium Plus Annual (12 Credits) – $149.50 a year. This option is the same as Premium Plus only cheaper, because you’re paying for a year at a time. Each credit comes out to about $12.50 on this plan. 
    • Audible Premium Plus Annual (24 Credits) – $229.50 a year. Same as the Annual plan described above, but you get 24 credits in the year instead of just 12. This is even cheaper, as each audiobook comes out to roughly $9.56 with this plan.

Audible Plus

Audible Premium Plus

All options include a 30-day free trial. If you get Premium Plus, that means you get one audiobook for free plus the ability to listen to all those Audible Originals and more. And if you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you can even get two premium titles as part of a Premium Plus free trial!

Ready to start yours now? Go here, and you’ll also support us at no extra cost. Thanks!

9 Benefits of Using Audible

So far, we’ve covered features and price. In other words, you know what you get and what you pay for it. But what benefits come with listening to audiobooks on Audible? What outcomes or results will you see if you purchase an Audible subscription?

Let’s look at the two main types of books—fiction and non-fiction—to see what you get from listening to both.

Fictional books include these benefits, to name a few:

  • Reduced stress. Reading is one of the best ways to disconnect from everything going on in your life. Fiction is especially helpful for getting your mind off work. It puts you into a true state of relaxation when all your worries fade away as you get lost in the story. I’ve been using fictional books for this recently and it’s wildly effective at helping me relax. It’s far better at doing so than most other ways I can take a break!
  • Better sleep. How often do you lie down to rest at night only to have your brain start going crazy? It seems that all your past embarrassments, worries about the future, and everything else bothering you start to show up right at bedtime. This sucks, but you can stop all this overthinking by reading a fictional book before bed. It will calm your mind down and help you get to sleep faster and help you have a more restful sleep. This has been working wonders for my sleep recently, I highly recommend it!
  • Improved relationships. Fictional books are proven to help you have more empathy, which makes you treat others better. This is because they help you naturally put yourself into the shoes of others, which directly applies to the real world after you put your book down. It even activates the parts of the brain that help you understand the world and other people better. In other words, you’ll become a better person from reading fiction.
  • Memory enhancements. It’s no surprise that as you get older your mental and physical faculties start to wear out. You can’t stop this, but you can slow it down significantly by reading fiction. Research indicates that people who read often deal with Alzheimer’s a lot less than those who don’t. 

When listening to or reading non-fiction books, you’ll find the following positive changes in your life:

  • You start to become like the authors you read the most. It’s been said that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I believe that you’re also the average of the five authors you read the most. You can get mentoring from anybody, even people you wouldn’t otherwise be able to meet, by reading non-fiction.
  • You’ll get smarter by learning tons of life lessons. I can’t tell you how many valuable insights I’ve gained from non-fiction of all kinds. Every one of them, from biographies to business books teaches lessons that, if applied, will make you smarter.
  • It makes your life better. All those principles you learn from non-fiction books show you ways to improve your life. The more you listen, the more you’ll discover about how to live life to the fullest. 
  • Non-fiction books motivate you to be your best self. I love listening to non-fiction even if I can’t always remember everything. Just hearing the ideas in each book is enough to inspire me to be better. I’ve even had times where something I learned from a non-fiction book came back to my mind at just the right moment when I needed it!
  • You’ll become happier and more successful. I could talk about this one all day. I’ve summarized over 400 non-fiction books and read the best ones multiple times. In all that reading I’ve found the clearest pathways to joy and prosperity. Each time I read a new non-fiction book or re-read a favorite, those ideas get reinforced and my ability to grow happier develops even further. 

How Audible Helped Me Become a Better Person

Take it from me, books make your life better in so many ways. And even if you’re doubting, just try it yourself and see how they can improve your life. Get a free trial of Audible and you’ll discover why I feel so strongly about the power of books! Even one book, maybe even that book you may get or listen to during a free trial, can wildly change your life.

For instance, a couple of years ago, I came across Greg McKeown’s Essentialism during a very stressful time of my life. 

Its principles helped me simplify my life by eliminating the unessential so I could focus on what was most important. Doing that brought me greater happiness and a better ability to handle stress than I would have had without it. I’ve since listened to the book many times. Each time I get a new insight that makes my life better. There are countless books that I’ve had this same experience with. 

I’ve even seen the power of fiction working for me to make my life better. Just a few weeks ago I was really overwhelmed with everything going on in my life when I re-discovered a couple of old favorites. I listened through them and used them to help me relax and unwind each day. My stress levels went down, my sleep improved, and it became easier to handle everything going on!

Feel inspired to start a risk-free, 30-day Audible trial? Click the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a $5 bounty for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the conclusion of our review.

Is Audible Worth It?

Now that you know all of these benefits that are possible with an Audible subscription, the only question left is whether or not all of that is worth $7.99 or $15.99 a month. 

That’s a small price to pay for better sleep, stress management, happiness, and success. So in that regard, just considering all of these benefits we’ve discussed, Audible is 100% worth it.

Although, if you think about it, do you even have to add that monthly expense to your budget? Maybe not, if you consider some expenses you could do without that would cover the cost of a subscription.

Think for a moment about what you’re already spending money on. You might have Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, or some other subscription. Chances are you have multiple of them. Most of these are about the same price as an Audible subscription, if not more. So what would happen if you just canceled one of them and instead used that money and time to pay for and listen to audiobooks on Audible?

Watching too much TV is proven to make your life worse. It can cause you to gain weight, decimate your mental health, reduce the effectiveness and amount of sleep and rest you get, increase your risk of Alzheimer’s, and even cause brain damage, just to name a few. 

Think about all of that in terms of cost. Not just monetary, think about these intangible costs like your health and happiness. If too much TV is causing you to miss out on a good life, isn’t the cost of an Audible subscription worth gaining that all back and then some? 

Conclusion: Our Audible Review

Audiobooks have completely changed my life in dozens of ways. And one of my favorite ways to listen to them is Audible. It’s got the best selection, a solid app and other listening options, and many great options for purchasing a subscription. For just $7.99 or $15.99 a month it’s a bargain when you consider everything you get out of it!

My conclusion is that Audible is definitely worth the price. You’ll get unlimited listening access to a great selection of audiobooks, one audiobook to keep forever each month, and all the intangible benefits that come with reading more books, be they fiction or nonfiction titles.

If you’d like to try Audible and support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, click below to sign up for your free 30-day trial. You’ll get a free audiobook plus the ability to listen to any title in their “included” library for the duration of your trial:

If you’ve made it all the way here, thank you for reading this review! We hope that Four Minute Books helps you learn more, get smarter, and improve your life!


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:

Audiobooks.com Review

Audiobooks.com Review 2022 – Is It Better Than Audible?

A couple of years ago I needed to get an audiobook fast but had already done a free trial of Audible. That’s when I discovered Audiobooks.com and tried them out for the first time. I couldn’t be happier with them and that I’d finally found an awesome (and possibly even better) alternative to Audible! If you’re wondering if Audiobooks.com is legit and worth it, or have any other questions about it, our review of Audiobooks.com is here to help!

You can jump to any section with this handy table of contents:

And if you need to get back here at any time, just click on the up arrow in the bottom right corner of the page.

Let’s get right to the point though with my quick summary, which gives brief answers to the main questions you have about Audiobooks.com!

Quick Summary of my Audiobooks.com Review (FAQ) 

  • Is Audiobooks.com legit? Audiobooks.com is a legitimate company with over 1,000,000 downloads of its app. It’s one of the best places to get audiobooks that I’ve ever used.
  • Is Audiobooks.com the same as Audible? Audiobooks.com is not the same as Audible, they are two separate companies and services with different pros and cons for each.
  • How big is the selection at Audiobooks.com? Audiobooks.com has over 250,000 books, including all of your favorite bestsellers. I used my free trial to get Atomic Habits, for instance!
  • Does Audiobooks.com have a free trial? What comes with it? Audiobooks.com has an awesome free trial which gives you not one but THREE free audiobooks! The first you get to pick from their entire library and you also get to select two from their VIP selection, which includes a lot of bestsellers and some really great books you might not have heard about.
  • What do I get with an Audiobooks.com Subscription? How does TWO audiobooks a month sound? With an Audiobooks.com subscription, you get one free audiobook credit per month that you can use to get any audiobook from their library of 250,000+ in addition to one credit for any book in the VIP library, which changes each month. Their library also includes dozens of useful audio experiences like sleep tracks, podcasts, news, and more.
  • Do you keep books after canceling your Audiobooks.com subscription? If you do decide to cancel your Audiobooks.com subscription, you will keep all audiobooks you acquired while subscribed. I’ve used the app both as a paying subscriber and not and I can still listen to all the books I acquired when subscribed.
  • How much does Audiobooks.com cost? Audiobooks.com costs $14.95 per month after the 30-day free trial period, not including tax. You can also buy audiobooks individually for the usual price.
  • Is Audiobooks.com worth the money? Getting two audiobooks a month for the same price as most other audiobook services plus access to podcasts and free audiobooks is totally worth it!

Pros and Cons of Audiobooks.com

There’s not a whole lot to say of a service that’s as straightforward as bringing you the world’s best audiobooks. But Audiobooks.com does have a few specific pros and cons that I’ll go over now.

Pros of using Audiobooks.com:

  1. You get 2 audiobooks a month as opposed to just the 1 you get from Audible. One of those you can select from their 250,000+ book library and the other comes from the VIP selection, which changes monthly.
  2. The selection of books is fantastic, I’ve never had trouble finding all of the most popular books that I love. The Audiobooks.com library is just as big as any other audiobooks service, if not bigger!
  3. Audiobooks.com is just as easy to use as other services like it, if not more so. I personally like the user interface of Audiobooks.com and it’s app better than others like it. It’s easier to get around and to find what you’re looking for. I especially like that the menu is more easily accessible and that it’s got everything I need all in one place.
  4. The VIP selection often includes really popular titles that I wouldn’t think to get otherwise. I really enjoy the idea of a VIP selection as it is, and I was really glad to see that it includes high-quality books and not some random books with low ratings. 
  5. Audiobooks.com is all about audiobooks and nothing else, so you’re getting a top-quality service from a company that really knows what they’re doing. I say this because this is a big plus when comparing it to Audible, which is part of Amazon. It’s like buying running shoes from a dedicated company that just does running shoes, as opposed to a company that makes all types of shoes.

Cons of using Audiobooks.com:

  1. Occasionally there are issues with listening offline. Sometimes I have trouble getting to the right spot where I was listening if I go back online again after being offline for a while. It’s not too big of a deal though and I can usually fix it within seconds.
  2. It’s easy to get distracted and miss the details when listening. I couldn’t begin to count the many times I’ve gotten distracted and had to rewind a book. But you’re going to have this with any audiobooks service, really.
  3. The VIP selection isn’t always the best and won’t always have books you’ll want to read. Time is a scarce resource for everybody, and it’s not fun to waste it on a book that isn’t good. That being said, occasionally you do find hidden gems in there that you would have never found otherwise.

What is it Like to Use the Audiobooks.com App? 

The Audiobooks.com app is available for free on both iPhone and Android. You can also listen to books online, but most of the features and the user interface are nearly identical, so I’ll only be focusing on the app here.

I love how simple the app is. When you log in and look at your books, you have three main selections you can choose from:

  1. Current Listens, which includes the books you’ve started listening to.
  2. My Library, including all the books you’ve acquired through your Audiobooks.com subscription or free trial.
  3. Wishlists, where you can see books that you’ve added to your wishlist while shopping. This makes it super easy to use your credits each month.

Here’s what it looks like when you’re on the My Library and Current Listens tabs:

And here’s a screenshot of what the Wishlist looks like:

Audiobooks Wishlist - Audiobooks.com Review

Then there’s the menu in the upper right corner that gives you access to all features, including:

  • Search
  • Featured
  • Browse
  • Audiobooks Clubs
  • My Books
  • My Notes
  • Member Deals
  • My Recommendations
  • VIP Rewards
  • Free Audiobooks
  • Podcasts
  • Sleep & Meditation
  • Summaries & More
  • Audio Magazines
  • Audio News
  • My Profile
  • Settings
  • Customer Service

Here’s what this looks like when you’re in the app:

Audiobooks Side Panel - Audiobooks.com Review

There’s not much else to say about it, the app is easy to use, user-friendly, and I love listening to audiobooks with it. Let’s take a look at some of these features in more detail to see more reasons why it’s such a great app.

What Are the Main Features of the Audiobooks.com App?

You’d think that it’s just as simple as listening to books, but the Audiobooks.com app has a lot of useful tools. We’ll start here with the main ones, then in the next section talk about some of the other benefits not related to audiobooks specifically.

As I’ve mentioned, the main one is, of course, listening to audiobooks, which is seamless. You can play the books you’ve acquired with your credits, as well as download them for offline use. 

One unique feature that I really love is that the player lets you show your time in the book either by chapter or by the book as a whole. It’s also broken up into tracks and gives the ability to fast-forward or rewind up to 60 seconds and down to 10 seconds.

Audiobooks Player - Audiobooks.com Review

My favorite listening feature, that blows Audible out of the water for me, is that it will still let me cast to any device in the house. Because I have an iPhone and use Google Nest speakers around my house, my ability to cast from my phone to the speakers is often pretty limited. Audible is one of those that, unfortunately, won’t let me cast an audiobook to the Google Nest speaker. Audiobooks.com, on the other hand, does let me cast my books to my speakers still, which is a game-changer!

Another cool feature of the Audiobooks.com app is that you can add bookmarks to your favorite parts of the book and write notes on them! I haven’t used this to its full potential yet, honestly. But this is a game-changer for those who have ever tried to find that one spot in an audiobook and know that it can take forever going back and forth! 

The next feature is shopping for audiobooks, which you can do in a lot of ways:

  • Searching, which is the easiest way to shop and is pretty straightforward. I love that it doesn’t just show the book I searched for, but includes other books by that same author.
  • The featured section, which includes sections such as Recommended for You, This Week’s Top Releases, Best Selling Audiobooks of All Time, Audiobooks for a Fresh Start, and a ton more.
  • Browsing, which takes you to a list of genres that you can choose from. I really love that it includes the main genres, but gets way more helpful than the usual random ones by adding unique and interesting genres like free, recommended, immersive & radically different, and more.
  • Member deals that show you the 2 for 1 deals in different categories. This is a really cool feature and I love how easy it makes it to find deals!
  • The My Recommendations section, which lets you choose the categories of books you like then gives you suggested titles based on what you’ve selected.
  • VIP Rewards, which is the selection of books that you get to choose your one VIP title from each month. Don’t forget that you also get one credit to use on any of their 250,000+ library, though!

One of my favorite aspects of searching for new books on Audiobooks.com is the samples they give. For comparison, when you listen to a sample on Audible, it’s usually from the middle of the book. And it’s only about five minutes long. Audiobooks.com, on the other hand, gives you 10 minutes of free listening instead of just 5. And it starts at the beginning of the book so you can get a better sense of what it’s about before deciding if you want to get it.

Another excellent feature is free audiobooks. The selection here isn’t the best, but that’s to be expected with anything free. While looking through this I have found popular titles like The Art of War and Machiavelli’s The Prince, however, so there are some nuggets in there!

Another neat way you can use your monthly credit if you have a subscription is by signing up for what they call Audiobook Clubs. This isn’t a traditional book club where you read books and discuss them with others. Instead, you can use one credit to get access to one of eight “Audiobook Clubs.” If you select this option, you can listen to the thousands of titles in that club, as much as you want, for the entire month. And of course, you can browse the titles before you decide so you can see if you want to use this option!

These are just the main features of Audiobooks.com as they relate to listening to audiobooks. But these aren’t the only listening benefits you get with a subscription. We’ll take a look at those next!

Other Benefits Than Just Audiobooks

All of the other benefits to having an Audiobooks.com subscription or just using the app without a subscription relate to consuming information in audio format. 

The first of these is podcasts, which you can find, subscribe to, and listen to just like in any other podcast app. This is really helpful especially if you like to have your podcasts and audiobooks all in one place.

Another of Audiobooks.com’s awesome audio experience features is the sleep section. In this area, you can find meditations, visualizations, soothing sounds, bedtime stories, relaxing tracks, and ASMR audio to help you sleep. This is a pretty unique feature that is really helpful. Plus, the selection is amazing, I think every type of person can find something to help them sleep in it!

After that comes the section called Summaries & More. This includes a few different podcasts, including audio versions of book summaries, book clubs, discussions, conversations and interviews, and more. You’re going to love this section if you enjoy hearing people talk about books of all kinds. And it will likely help you decide on how to use your credits, too!

Next is Audio Magazines, which is where you can find audio content from popular publications like National Geographic, The Guardian, The New York Times, and more.

And finally, there’s Audio News. In this area, you can find out what’s happening in the world in audio format. It includes many popular news outlets like Entertainment Weekly, Vox, NPR, and more.

I’ll just mention briefly that Audiobooks.com of course has all the typical features to manage your account, change settings, and get support. I like that they have a chat feature built into the app, which makes getting support easy!

Is Audiobooks.com Worth It?

To determine if it’s worth it, let’s look at the cost and what you get for it. Then I’ve got a fun thought experiment to help us see what the value is of all the features! 

An Audiobooks.com subscription costs $14.95 per month. For that, you get one credit to use on any of their 250,000+ audiobooks. You also get an additional credit to use on their VIP selection, which includes popular titles and some hidden gems. Plus, you can download any audiobook for offline listening wherever you go.

You also get access to free audiobooks, podcasts, and other additional audio experiences like meditation, sleep, summaries, book clubs, audio magazines, and audio news. And if you want, you can use your credit to get access to Audiobook Clubs, which includes thousands of titles in one specific category of your choice.

These are just the features, but what do they bring into your life that makes them worth paying for? Let’s break it down into two components:

  1. Entertainment, such as getting engrossed in a story you’ve never heard before. Listening to an exciting fictional book takes you to new worlds and lets you relax from the craziness of life. You forget about all that’s going on around you and can really just check out for a while.
  2. Information, like learning how to start a business, improve your finances, be more productive, acquire a skill, or start a new hobby, just to name a few. Simply put, this is the power to transform your life for the better in any way you want.

I’m personally listening to a few different audiobooks right now and it’s a mix of fiction and non-fiction and I clearly see these benefits myself. 

For the fiction books I listen to, I love how they help me decompress. I often get caught up in thinking about work too much, especially when I should be taking a break. It’s almost impossible to get my mind to stop being in work mode, even hours after I’ve stopped working. But the fastest way of fixing this problem, I’ve found, is to plug in my headphones and turn on a fiction audiobook. 

I’m instantly thrown into a story with characters who have much different problems than my own. But I love hearing the story as they work hard and overcome challenges, which inspires me. By turning my mind to something outside of my own world, I get a mental break from work that’s really difficult to get otherwise. And a lot of the time I find that I’ll learn little things here and there that help me with work, too! 

When it comes to non-fiction books, I love how they help me improve my life. I’ve been learning recently about the power of thinking. How we think determines how we live, so if we can harness positive thinking, we can create the life we dream of. With non-fiction books, you can intentionally guide your thinking patterns to make you healthy, happy, and successful. This is where we get into that thought experiment I mentioned earlier.

Another thing I love about non-fiction books has to do with this quote from Jim Rohn:

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

The main idea is that the people around you, or who you choose to listen to, rather, determine whether your life is good or bad. And with books, you can choose to listen to whoever you want, even people who you couldn’t otherwise learn from. I like to think of the quote like this instead:

“You are the average of the 5 authors you read the most.”

In other words, reading a nonfiction book is like getting into that author’s head and seeing how they think. Not only that but learning from and being influenced by their higher ways of thinking. And the more you do that, the better you’ll think. Which, as I mentioned earlier, is the pathway to getting whatever you want out of life. 

You also get the benefits of reading in general, which can include:

  • Better sleep
  • Lower stress
  • Improved health
  • Better brain connectivity
  • Less mental illness
  • Keeping your mental faculties as you age
  • Greater empathy

Now, you may be thinking “this all sounds great but why Audiobooks.com? Why should I get a subscription to it instead of some other audiobooks service?” 

The main difference why I personally choose Audiobooks.com over other services is because of the number of books you get with it. 

Think about it. All those benefits I’ve mentioned. The ability to disconnect from work and relax, the power to improve your thinking, and all the other life-improvements that come from reading. The more you read, the more you reap the benefits. And with Audiobooks.com, you can read more than any other audiobooks service.

If you want to get all the perks of listening to audiobooks, but double them by getting more audiobooks, Audiobooks.com is well worth the price and it’s better than its competitors for this reason alone.

Conclusion: My Audiobooks.com Review

When I first discovered Audiobooks.com a couple of years ago, I was pleasantly surprised at the selection, the multiple free audiobooks that came with a free trial, and that a subscription got me two audiobooks a month instead of just one. It’s been awesome ever since, and I’d recommend it to anybody. 

As far as audiobook services go, Audiobooks.com is pretty straightforward. It’s got an app for listening, shopping, and accessing all the other amazing benefits that come with being a member. At $14.95 a month, the price is pretty comparable to other options as well.

But what really sets Audiobooks.com apart is that they are experts in their field. There’s no “parent company” behind it, it’s just audiobooks and Audiobooks.com is great at providing them. 

Audiobooks.com is also a better choice over other audiobooks services because of how generous they are. With two credits a month and a ton of other great audio content, you get a lot more to choose from, and it’s a lot less likely that you’ll run out of books before each month is over!

My final conclusion about Audiobooks.com is that it’s definitely worth the price to get two audiobooks a month, a great listening experience, and hundreds of other useful and entertaining audio experiences. 

If you’d like to try it out yourself and support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, click below to sign up for your free 30-day trial of Audiobooks.com and get 3 free audiobooks, no questions asked:

And if you’ve made it all the way here, thank you for reading this review! I hope that Four Minute Books helps you learn more, get smarter, and improve your life!


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:

Instaread Review Cover & Social Share Image - Four Minute Books

Instaread Review 2022

Welcome to our Instaread review!

How good is Instaread as a book summary app? Is it a good Blinkist Alternative? Does it have better book summaries? What are its advantages and disadvantages? Is the user experience good enough?

In this review, we’ll be looking at a great book summary app called Instaread. By the end of this post, you’ll understand how Instaread works and where it stands as an alternative to Blinkist.

To easily navigate our extensive review of Instaread, use the table of contents below to jump to any section:

You can also come back up here at any time by hitting the little arrow icon in the bottom right corner of this page.

Alright, let’s get into it! We’ll start with some quick answers to the most common and important questions you might have.

Instaread Review Summary (FAQ)

  • Is Instaread worth it? Instaread is a good Blinkist alternative. It has fewer summaries than Blinkist, but they are longer than a typical Blinkist book summary. On comparing the quality of the book summaries, some books are better summarized by Instaread, while some are better summarized by Blinkist. So yes, it’s worth it, but if you want to pick only one of the two apps, keep reading the full review below.
  • Is Instaread free? Instaread isn’t free, but it comes with a risk-free 7-day trial. For more on pricing, see below.
  • How much does Instaread cost? If you get a monthly subscription to Instaread, you’ll pay $8.99/month. If you go with the annual plan, you’ll save 12% and pay only $7.99/month. You can start a risk-free, 7-day trial here (affiliate link).
  • Does Instaread have a good user experience and interface? Instaread comes with the minimum number of features you need to read or listen to book summaries. It’s not bloated with unnecessary features, and as a result, there is little to complain about regarding the user interface or experience. Once you get the hang of using the app, you’re good to go.
  • Is Instaread available on Android? Instaread is available on the web, iOS, and Android. Whether you’re using a laptop, iPhone, or Android phone, there’s a version of Instaread tailored specific to your device!
  • What are some Instaread alternatives? Blinkist is the top Instaread alternative, but there are many more apps out there, such as getAbstract, for example. We’ve reviewed both Blinkist and getAbstract, and now we’re reviewing Instaread to help you choose the best book summary app for your needs.
  • What are the pros and cons of Instaread? Instaread provides in-depth book summaries in text and audio form. You can also buy audiobooks on the platform. Its unique feature is that it shows you “cards” as book quotes so you can easily review and remember the best ones from a book. The biggest con of using Instaread is that they have fewer books summaries than Blinkist or getAbstract.

Instaread Overview

Instaread is one of the top book summary apps on the market. It was founded in 2014. Despite the increasing number of book summary apps, it continues to stand out from the rest.

While most of the other apps only summarize nonfiction books, Instaread also covers fiction books. In addition, it provides Instaread Originals – exclusive summaries of a topic or a person. The other top unique feature of the app is its cards. Cards are the quotes from a book that you can save to review later.

Today, we’ll take an in-depth look at Instaread and how it differs from the other apps like Blinkist and getAbstract. Every app has its pros and cons, and this app is no different. In the end, you’ll walk away with the information you need to find out if Instaread is right for you.

If you want to skip the details and start your risk-free, 7-day trial right now, you can do so with the button below:

How does Instaread work?

Let’s kick off our Instaread review with the basics: Instaread is available on the web, iOS, and Android. If you can’t use either app for some reason (or don’t want to), the web version works well enough on most phones as well.

The app is free to install, but you’ll need either a subscription or a free trial to access its content. You can register using your email or by connecting your Facebook account.

The interface is minimal. Instaread hasn’t crammed their app with confusing features, so everything is simple for an average user. Let’s explore each feature of the app in detail.

As you log in, you’ll find 4 tabs at the bottom of your screen: Discover, Library, Search and Account. The discover tab is the default tab to appear when you launch the app and are logged in.

1. The Discover Tab

Instaread Review Discover

The discover tab of the app includes the following sections, one after another, as you scroll down.

  • The Highlights

A selection of top summaries chosen by the Instaread team. They automatically scroll past one by one horizontally. You can also do it manually by swiping left or right.

  • New

The latest titles uploaded on the app. You can view all of them by clicking “view all” or scroll horizontally to explore more without leaving the page.

  • Popular

The most popular titles of the app among its users. As you scroll down further, you see more genres in the same fashion.

Instaread Review Popular Book Summaries

2. The Library Tab

Instaread Review Library

The library tab shows you all the books you’ve engaged with. It includes the book summaries you’ve finished reading, the ones you are currently reading, and the books you’ve bookmarked.

There are two more sections in The Library:

  • Full Audiobooks

Instaread Review Full Audiobooks

You can find the audiobooks you’ve purchased through the app.

  • Liked Cards

Instaread Review Liked Cards

Instaread Review Cards Review

Liked cards is the collection of all the quote cards you like while reading the summary. We’ll explore how this works later in this review.

3. The Search Tab

Instaread Review Search

The Search tab is straightforward. You can search for book summaries or audiobooks by their title, author or category.

4. My Account Tab

Instaread Review Account

 

The Account tab is where you’ll find the general info you may need. You can suggest new books for the team to add, sync your iTunes account with the app, read the common questions about subscription, submit a support ticket, link your account with Facebook, and log out from here.

You’ll also find buttons to share the Instaread app with your friends, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.

Instaread Features

Next in our Instaread review, let’s walk through the experience of reading a book summary in the app. When you pick up a book summary, you can see the cover art, title and author.

Instaread Review Book

As you scroll down, you can read a small preview to understand what the book is about.

Instaread Review Preview

Then, you’ll find the contents of the book summary, which consists of the following sections:

  1. Overview

The introduction and the teaser of the book summary.

  1. Key Insights

All the key insights listed in order. You can tap on any of them to jump directly to the content.

  1. Important People

The info of the people who contributed to the book.

  1. Author’s Style

It gives you more info about the author’s style of writing. It can help you make up your mind if you’re interested in buying the book.

  1. Author’s Perspective

It describes the world-view of the author so you can have an objective understanding of where they are coming from. It helps you stay open-minded to come up with your own conclusions. This is a pretty unique and awesome twist that makes it easier to be more objective about what you read.

When you scroll back up again, you’ll see three buttons:

  1. Read

Instaread Review Overview

You read the book summary one section at a time. If you prefer to read that way, you can also switch to dark mode.

Instaread Review Dark Mode

You can jump to different parts of the summary. To do so, open the table of contents from the icon below and tapping the section you want to go to.

Instaread Review Table of Contents

  1. Listen

Instaread Review Audio

You can choose to listen to the book summary. You may also adjust the speed of the audio.

  1. Cards

Instaread Review Cards

These are Tinder-like cards that you can swipe left or right. By doing so, you’ll build your own little collection of the best quotes from the book. You can revisit your liked cards from the library tab.

You can also download a book summary to read or listen to offline. Lastly, you can share the summaries on any platform you want.

Instaread Selection

Instaread comes with a great variety of categories and genres. It even has some special content formats, as you’ll see below. The general categories you can find in the app are:

  • Business & Economics
  • Self-Help
  • History, Political & Social Science
  • Health & Fitness
  • Fiction
  • Science
  • Religion
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Sports & Recreation
  • Biographies
  • Psychology
  • Leadership & Management
  • Personal Growth
  • Diet & Nutrition
  • Historical Fiction
  • Literary Fiction
  • Body, Mind & Spirit
  • Medical
  • United States
  • Philosophy
  • Romance
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Military
  • Relationships
  • Mystery
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Parenting
  • Christianity
  • Reference
  • Humor

You can also find the following specials:

  • Instaread Originals

Instaread Review Originals

They summarize a concept or a person as Instaread Originals.

  • Instaread Articles

Instaread Review Articles

They release summaries of articles from various publications and blogs like Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Encyclopaedia Britannica, etc. This is a cool way to stay informed without spending a ton of time reading the news each day.

  • Daily Insights

Instaread Review Insights

These are small, bite-sized ideas, lessons, and insights from the books.

What are the most popular books on Instaread?

Instaread regularly publishes new book summaries, even though it’s a small company. According to the app, below are the most popular summaries at the time of writing this review. You can access all of them with your free 7-day trial.

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens: After the success of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey’s son, Sean Covey, did a great job writing a book on the same theme for teens.
  2. Remote: This book tackles one of the biggest trends in the workplace, which is going remote instead of working from offices.
  3. How to Develop Self-Confidence and Improve Public Speaking: A classic book from Dale Carnegie on being confident and speaking in public. These are the key skills you need to thrive in the professional world.
  4. The Big Leap: A book on overcoming your self-imposed limitations and hidden fears. It will help you take the big leap you need to get your life to the next level.
  5. Own the Day, Own Your Life: This book gives you science-backed tips, tactics, strategies, and routines to optimize waking up, working, learning, eating, training, playing, sleeping, and sex.
  6. The Way of the Wolf: A great book on persuasion from Jordan Belfort, whose life was portrayed in the 2013 Hollywood film The Wolf of Wall Street.
  7. The Art of Loving: The author argues that love is a skill like any other, a skill you need to learn and practice. It covers everything you need to increase your capacity for love.
  8. The Infinite Game: Simon Sinek looks at everything in life as a game. He states that it’s important to know what game you’re playing in order to win it. It will change the way you look at life and lead or run a business.
  9. Measure What Matters: The book is based on the goal-setting technique called “Objectives and Key Results” (OKRs). The method helps you identify what matters the most and shows you how to focus more on it.
  10. Do Nothing: In a world where everyone is motivating you to do more, this book gives you permission to take a break and do nothing. The book highlights the importance of resting and shows you how resting helps your work.

Other than books, here is a list of all the Instaread Originals published on the app so far:

  • Jack Dorsey
  • Global Recessions
  • Andrew Carnegie
  • Pandemics
  • Venture Capital
  • Arianna Huffington
  • Time Management
  • Richard Branson
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Growth Mindset
  • Mindfulness
  • Michael Bloomberg
  • Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Charisma
  • Elon Musk
  • The Data Trade
  • Kylie Jenner
  • Public Speaking
  • Stephen Hawking
  • Dark Money
  • Rachel Hollis
  • Tariffs
  • Jeff Bezos
  • Cryptocurrency
  • The Gluten-Free Diet
  • Sheryl Sandberg
  • Habit Formation
  • The Ketogenic Diet
  • Howard Schultz
  • Phil Knight
  • Tim Ferriss
  • Michael Lewis

How Much Does Instaread Cost? (Pricing and Plans)

Instaread comes with a free 7-day trial period which gives you full access to the app. Then, you pay $8.99 a month or $7.99 a month (if you pay yearly).

The price range is similar compared to Blinkist or getAbstract, but it depends on the plan you pick. On average, Instaread is cheaper than Blinkist or getAbstract, but the annual plans are quite close.

It also depends on whether you get a discount or not, which are available for most of these services regularly.

Instaread vs Blinkist

Since Blinkist is the most famous book summary app, let’s compare the two to find out the differences:

  • Blinkist mostly focuses on nonfiction titles, while Instaread also covers fiction.
  • Instaread has more content formats, like Instaread Originals, centered around a person or a topic, and Instaread Articles, collections of blogs from around the web. Blinkist only summarizes books.
  • Blinkist has a huge catalog of summaries while Instaread has fewer summaries in comparison.
  • On average, Blinkist’s summaries are shorter (10-15 minutes) while Instaread’s summaries are longer (20+ minutes). One could argue that Instaread provides more in-depth summaries, but it depends on the quality of insights. Sometimes, Instaread does a better job, while other times, Blinkist does it better.
  • Instaread provides information about the authors and their perspective at the end of the summaries. Blinkist doesn’t have such sections.
  • Instaread lets you save and review book quotes in the form of cards. Blinkist currently doesn’t have such a feature. However, Blinkist lets you highlight parts of a book summary that you can review later.
  • Blinkist’s audio quality is superior to Instaread’s audio. Since Blinkist is a bigger company, they’re able to invest more into higher quality sound production, and it shows.
  • Instaread feels simpler to use because of its minimalistic UI and UX. Its web version is also better than Blinkist. Using Instaread on the phone or the web is almost identical. Using Blinkist on the web is a different experience from using it on the phone. For example, you can’t increase the speed of the audio on the web version of Blinkist as of now.
  • If you buy a monthly subscription, Instaread is cheaper than Blinkist. Instaread is $8.99 a month, while Blinkist is $14.99 a month. If you buy a yearly subscription, Blinkist will be slightly cheaper. Paid annually, Instaread comes in at $7.99/month, whereas Blinkist lands at $7.49/month.

If you still aren’t sure which one is right for you, both apps offer a 7-day free trial. You can sign up for both, compare them directly, and then keep whichever membership you enjoy the most.

To start a free trial of Blinkist, including a 35% discount if you keep your subscription, go here. To start a free trial of Instaread, go here.

Using the apps is the best way to compare and find out which one feels right for you.

Final Verdict: Should You Use Instaread?

Instaread is one of the top book summary apps. It continues to improve and manages to release new, high-quality book summaries on a consistent basis. Instaread is right for you if:

  • You like to read long, in-depth summaries of books, structured based on key insights. You’re interested in learning more about the authors and their unique perspectives.
  • You not only want to read nonfiction book summaries but also fiction book summaries, Instaread Originals, Instaread Articles, and Daily Insights. All of these are distinct formats, as we explained earlier in this review.
  • You enjoy swiping through book quote cards and getting smarter in little bites – it’s a bit like Tinder for your brain! Your saved cards are available for you to review at any time.
  • You want a minimalistic book summary app with a good but not overwhelming selection and a simple user experience.

New book summary apps come and go, but Instaread has proven it’s here to stay. Ultimately, it’s your decision which app is right for you. We gave you the facts so you’re best-equipped to make the right choice for yourself.

Instaread and Blinkist can both be a great addition to your lifelong learning journey. You can even use both and switch between them whenever you want to maximize variety!


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:

getAbstract Review 2022

Is getAbstract worth it? What are its pros and cons? How does it compare to other book summary apps? How good are their book summaries? How’s the experience of the app? We’ll answer all of these questions and more in our getAbstract review.

It’ll cover all you need to know about the getAbstract book summary app. By the end of this post, you’ll know if this app is worth your time and how it compares to other book summary services like Blinkist.

getAbstract Review Summary (FAQ)

  • Is getAbstract worth it? There’s no doubt that getAbstract has the biggest library of summaries. But when it comes to the quality of the summaries Blinkist is a clear winner. However, if you’re looking to collect more summaries to learn about a topic from different perspectives faster, getAbstract may be a better choice for you.
  • Does getAbstract offer a free version? GetAbstract offers a 1-year free membership to students. You’ll need to provide proof of your enrollment to claim your membership. For all other individuals, getAbstract offers a 3-day trial.
  • How’s the user experience of getAbstract app? The app is fairly easy to use and understand. The simple interface lets you navigate the app features with no difficulty. If you’re an avid phone or desktop user, you’ll probably have no trouble using the app.
  • How many summaries does getAbstract have? The starter plan comes with 5000 summaries and the pro plan comes with 20,000+ summaries. But not all summaries are book summaries. Their big library also includes summaries of articles, videos, and reports.
  • What’s the pricing of getAbstract app? GetAbstract has two main plans — Starter Plan and Pro Plan. The Starter Plan is $99/year and the Pro Plan is $299/year. For more details on the plans check out the pricing section of this guide.
  • How does getAbstract compare with Blinkist? GetAbstract is targeted more towards professionals and business people while Blinkist offers more variety among nonfiction books. For the full breakdown of the comparison, check out the Blinkist vs getAbstract section of this guide.

getAbstract Overview

Established in 1999, getAbstract is one of the oldest book summary apps. They have the biggest collection of summaries so far. They not only provide summaries of books, but they also cover summaries of informative articles, reports, and videos, like TED talks.

While reading book summaries does have pros and cons in and of itself, today we’ll focus on finding the best book summary app for you if you’re already convinced that book summaries apps can be a great addition to your learning arsenal.

How does getAbstract work?

getAbstract is available on the web, iOS, and Android. The app is free but you’ll need a subscription plan to access its content after the 3-day trial period. You can register using your email, Facebook, Twitter or Xing account.

The interface of the app is simple and easy to understand. Although I wouldn’t say it’s overly impressive, it gives you everything you need for clarity and usability. I never felt confused and anyone who knows how to use a normal app or PC would find it easy to use. With that, let’s look at how the getAbstract app works.

Once you’re logged in, you’ll find 5 tabs at the bottom of your screen namely: Home, Explore, Search, My Library and Profile. Let’s find out what you get in these tabs one by one.

1. The Home Tab

getAbstract Review 2019 Home

The home tab of the app includes the following section one after another as you scroll down.

  • Recommended for you – A personalized recommendation section based on your interests and history.
  • Featured channels – Channels are the topics you can follow. This section shows you the top featured channels that you may want to follow or browse. When you browse a channel, you can see a small description, related channels and the books within that topic.
  • Editors Pick – The curators pick their favorite summaries and display them in this section. If you’re still looking for more, you can click view all beside the section you want to find the perfect summary to read or listen to.

2. The Explore Tab

getAbstract Review 2019 Explore

The explore tab shows you even more options. It helps you find new summaries. It has the following sections:

  • Trending Channels – This section displays the trending channels you may be interested in.
  • Latest Summaries – This section lets you see the latest summaries uploaded to the platform.
  • Popular Summaries – Find out the most popular summaries people are reading.
  • Library (with topics) – Display of the whole library with all the topics the app provides.

3. The Search Tab

getAbstract Review 2019 Search

If you’re looking for a particular summary, you can search for it here. Here, you’ll also find trending searches people are using that you may also want to use.

4. My Library Tab

getAbstract Review 2019 Library Tab

The “My Library” tab is a personalized tab which is unique to everyone (based on your activity in the app). It has the following sections:

  • Playlist – You can add summaries to the playlist to read or listen to next. You will find all the summaries you add here. Note that audio is part of the Starter Plan, but organizing audios in playlists is reserved for Pro users.
  • Read later – You can save summaries to read or listen to later. You can find them in this section. You can also download these summaries for offline use if you’re on the Pro Plan.
  • Liked (downloadable) – Once you like a summary, it’ll show up here, think of it as a Favorites folder.
  • Reading history – You can see the history of all the summaries you read here.
  • Sent to you – You’ll find all the summaries sent to you by other users in this section.
  • My channel – You can create your own channel for organizing summaries. This is another Pro Plan feature.
  • Following – Here, you’ll see all the channels that you already follow.

When you click “view all” on any of the sections, you can see all books in it and you can filter the selection based on language, type (book, article, video) and audio availability.

5. The Profile Tab

getAbstract Review 2019 Profile

Here, you can check your subscription plan, information about the app, their privacy policy, terms of use, and get support.

You can also change the settings such as display language, notification settings, day/night mode, the language of the content, types of summaries you want the app to display (books, videos, or articles) and toggle to display only titles with audio.

One of the best things about getAbstract is the languages it supports. While its competitor Blinkist supports only two languages – English and German – many of getAbstract’s summaries are available in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, German, and Russian. If you speak any of these languages or want to use the app for learning a new one, it might be a great investment because of this factor alone.

getAbstract Features and User Experience

getAbstract Review 2019 Summary

Now let’s look at how it feels to read the summaries in the app. When you open a summary, you’ll find these sections one after another as you scroll down to the bottom.

  1. Recommendation – The first section gives a small review and recommendation that tells you what the book is about. It sets expectations for what you’re about to read in the summary.
  2. Takeaways – They highlight the key takeaways from the book. This section helps when you want to scan the top lessons from the book and decide if the summary is worth reading. It also helps when you’re reading already (or have in the past) and want to quickly revisit the key lessons of the summary.
  3. Summary – This is the actual summary part where they use headings, boldfaced text, and quotes to make it easier to read or scan the summary. The summaries are often short and concise. The upside is that you consume a lot of dense information in less time. The downside is that you miss a lot of information from the books due to the short length of the summaries.
  4. About the author – They finish each summary with a little information about the author in case you’re interested in knowing more about him or her.
  5. More on this topic – At the end of each summary, they suggest similar summaries you may be interested in reading.

getAbstract Review 2019 Audio

Some other features include:

  • Display preference – When you tap the icon on the top left of the screen, you can change the display according to your preference. They provide white, cream, and black colors as themes. Other than that, you can change the brightness and the size of the text.
  • Audio feature – Most books come with audio summaries, but some books don’t have prerecorded audios. But the app still offers an option to use the text-to-speech feature where you can listen to summaries in a robotic voice. However, I found that when I used the text-to-speech feature on my phone, the app stopped narrating when I left the phone idle. This doesn’t happen while listening to prerecorded audio summaries and may depend on what kind of phone you have.
  • Rating, liking, commenting – Curators at getAbstract rate the summaries on a scale of 1 to 10, and users can like or comment on the summaries. They also highlight the key qualities of the book such as “applicable”, “innovative”, “evergreen”, and “bestseller”, “concrete examples”, and so on. These features help you decide which summary to read.
  • Read later, share, download – You can also download or add a summary to your playlist or your “read later” list. Lastly, you can share the summaries on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.

getAbstract Selection

As explained in the pricing section later in the guide, the number of summaries you have access to depends on your plan, but no matter which plan you choose, you’ll still have the biggest summary collection out of any book summary app on the market.

You’ll find several channels (topics) to follow, but here are the key topics you can find in the library section of the explore tab:

  • Career
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Life Advice
  • Professional Development
  • Innovation
  • Project Management
  • Strategy
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Technology
  • Human Resources
  • Economics
  • Corporate IT
  • Corporate Finance
  • Environment
  • Science
  • Politics
  • Society
  • Biographies

On exploring further, here are some more channels you may find interesting:

  • Job Search
  • Future of Work
  • The MBA
  • Soft Skills
  • Woman’s Careers
  • Leading Teams
  • Coaching
  • Motivation
  • Making Decisions
  • Power
  • Business
  • Branding
  • Being CEO
  • Starting a Business
  • Small Business
  • Mindfulness
  • Health & Fitness
  • Stress
  • Creativity
  • Habits
  • Happiness
  • Psychology
  • Money
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Time Management
  • Speak, Write, Present
  • Boost Your Personal Productivity
  • Teamwork
  • Learning Techniques
  • Charisma
  • Focus
  • Goal Setting
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Blockchain
  • Cybersecurity
  • Financial Markets
  • Globalization
  • Climate Change
  • Neuroscience

There are too many channels to list all of them, but this list is a good overview to get an idea of the topics you can explore.

When you go to a channel, you can follow the channel, find more related channels, and see summaries within that channel. You can sort these summaries by Relevancy, Recency, and Popularity.

You can also filter the summaries by books with audio available only, their sources (books, articles or videos), and languages the summaries are available in.

What are the highest-rated books on getAbstract?

Since there are 5,000+ summaries on getAbstract, it’s hard to list the best summaries on the platform. However, these are some good ones to start with as they are all rated 9 or 10 by getAbstract. You can access all these book summaries with your free 3-day trial.

  1. The Effective Executive: A must-read book for all executives as it’s a business classic. After reading this book, the way you manage will change forever.
  2. Deep Work: In a world where it’s getting harder to focus, this book teaches you how to focus and eliminate distractions so you can do the valuable work that requires tons of mental energy.
  3. The Now Habit: If you struggle with procrastination, this book will come to your rescue as it contains timeless principles to help you overcome procrastination.
  4. Mastering Leadership: Leadership is not an easy skill to master. This book combines data, science, psychology, theology, and philosophy to help you master leadership.
  5. Nudge: It teaches you how humans fall prey to systematic errors of judgment and how you can design your environment to make better decisions.
  6. Eat That Frog: A productivity classic that will help you get more done in less time. It will push you to tackle the most important tasks you may tend to avoid.
  7. Man’s Search For Meaning: As the name suggests, it’s a memoir of a man who found meaning in hardship and suffering using “logotherapy”. It continues to inspire millions around the world.
  8. Invisible Influence: There are a lot of hidden forces that influence us. If you’re curious about how other people shape your thoughts, purchases, and actions, it’s a great pick!
  9. In Search Of Excellence: A collection of stories about the qualities of the best-run companies in America in 1980. The timeless lessons are still applicable today.
  10. Competitive Advantage: It teaches you how to gain a competitive advantage in your business using fundamentals such as value chains, costs, differentiation, technology, substitution, synergies, etc.

What you can also do is compare some of these summaries with their counterparts that we have as free book summaries on Four Minute Books. Contrasting material about the same topic is a great way to learn and remember more.

How much does getAbstract cost? (getAbstract Pricing and Plans)

getAbstract Review 2019 Pricing Table

GetAbstract comes with a 3-day trial period which gives you full access to the app. Then, you can choose from the following plans:

The Starter Plan

GetAbstract’s pricing for the starter pack (with 5000 summaries) is $99/year or 99 € if you’re in Europe. It’s a bit more expensive than Blinkist, which comes in at around $80/year.

The upside is that you get access to more book summaries than Blinkist. The downside is that you still can’t access some topics with this plan and some features like creating a playlist, downloading for offline use, sending to kindle and creating personal channels are missing.

The bottom line is that if you want to access more, but shorter book summaries and don’t mind paying $19 more per year, this plan is perfect for you. If you want fewer but more in-depth summaries, Blinkist may be the better option.

The Pro Plan

The Pro plan comes with 20,000+ summaries for $299 or € per year. It gives you access to all the topics for personal and professional development.

The upside to this plan is that you get all the features of the app and you unlock all summaries. The downside is that it’s three times more expensive than the Starter Plan.

If you’re looking for the largest collection of book summaries to advance your career and grow as a person, this may be the best plan for you. Maybe, you can get your employer to chip in? But if you can, the next plan may be even better.

The Enterprise Plan

This last plan is for companies that are looking to fuel their employees or team with a lifelong learning platform. This is best for companies that want to support their employee’s growth and make them more efficient as a person and in their expertise. It includes every feature of the other plans, along with the following:

  • Customized company portal
  • Curated and company channels
  • API access, custom SSO & LMS integration
  • Dedicated learning consultant
  • Advanced reporting

The pricing in this tier depends on the needs of the company, so you’ll need to contact getAbstract if you’re looking to make this investment for your team. Technically, these are all the available plans, but getAbstract has a few special offers for students. Let’s see what they are!

getAbstract Review 2019 Student Pricing Table

The Student Plan

This is a bonus plan for Students, which is great if you’re an ambitious student who wants to get ahead. All you’ll need is a valid student ID to prove that you’re enrolled as a student.

They have two plans for students: Student Starter, which is free, and Student Pro, which costs $59/year. The former is basically a 1-year free trial of the regular Starter Plan and comes with 5,000 summaries which you can access online and in the app. The latter provides 20,000+ summaries and the additional Pro features like sending summaries to Kindle, creating audio playlists, etc.

The Gift Plan

This is the last pricing plan. It allows you to gift a getAbstract subscription to someone. You can gift the Starter or the Pro Plan, and they cost the same as they normally would ($99/year and $299/year respectively). This is a great option for anyone who wants to give the gift of knowledge to someone they love.

Blinkist vs getAbstract

There are a lot of book summary services out there, but getAbstract is most often compared to Blinkist. So let’s see who wins in which category!

  • Blinkist has a broader selection of topics, but getAbstract has books in even niche business categories. For example, on Blinkist, topics include personal growth, science, history, relationships, business, parenting, philosophy, psychology, health, biography, and so on. GetAbstract is more focused on business, entrepreneurship, leadership, management, career, and productivity, but also caters to rarer topics within those areas.
  • GetAbstract offers more summaries than Blinkist but Blinkist’s book summaries are more thorough and in-depth. Keep in mind that the relevancy of topics you’re interested in matters more than the number of summaries you get.
  • Blinkist provides long-form summaries of books whereas getAbstract provides shorter summaries. However, getAbstract includes summaries from more mediums including books, articles, reports, and videos.
  • GetAbstract helps you decide which book summaries to read, Blinkist doesn’t. GetAbstract uses ratings, likes, and comments, which help you make up your mind. Blinkist doesn’t have this feature. However, you can of course always check other ratings and reviews of any book online, for example on Goodreads or Amazon.
  • Blinkist’s user experience feels like it flows a bit more, and the quality of audios is slightly better.
  • GetAbstract’s full experience is more expensive than Blinkist’s. If you want to unlock all features and summaries, getAbstract Pro is almost six times as expensive as Blinkist, given you use our 20% discount for it. However, if you’re a student and can get the Student Pro plan, you’ll pay even less than for Blinkist, but get access to 20,000 summaries!

If you’re still unsure which one you prefer, you can activate the 3-day free trial of getAbstract and the 7-day free trial of Blinkist at the same time, use both for 10-30 minutes each day, and then ultimately go with the one that suits your needs better.

Final Verdict for our getAbstract Review: Is getAbstract worth it?

GetAbstract is a fantastic book summary app for lifelong learners and high achievers. It is more expensive than its competitors, but it may be your best choice if:

  • You want to binge read summaries of books on a particular topic. Since the summaries are short, getAbstract makes it easier for you to get the main points from a large collection of books on one topic.
  • You’re a professional who wants to own the app with the biggest collection of summaries. You want to read summaries of books, articles, videos, and reports in bite-sized chunks on a regular basis.
  • You’d like to check ratings, the number of likes, recommendations, and key takeaways before diving into a summary.
  • You want to read summaries in French, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. The summaries are also available in English and German, but for now, those five languages are exclusive to getAbstract.

To conclude, getAbstract is one of the oldest book summaries apps out there with the biggest collection of book summaries. But due to the volume of summaries they have, their service can be expensive compared to its peers and their summaries sometimes lack depth. As with any book summary service, I suggest you use it as an extension of reading books, not a replacement.

If you’ve enjoyed this review, I’d appreciate it if you use my special link to sign up for your free trial of getAbstract. In case you choose to stay, I get a small commission for referring you. If not, no biggie. There’s no risk or extra cost to you.

No matter how you decide, thank you for reading our getAbstract review, and I hope Four Minute Books will continue to help you become smarter in the future.


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:

The 17 Best Reading Gadgets to Make Reading Easier & More Fun

Reading Gadgets

Reading isn’t exactly a complex activity. All you need is a good book or blog post and you’re good to go. That said, there are a few tools, resources, and fun gadgets you can use to make reading easier on your eyes and more enjoyable for your hands.

Since I’ve gathered a lot of them over the years, here’s a list of my favorite reading gadgets.

Gadgets For Reading Physical Books

Markers: Never read without a Sharpie at hand. Highlighting is a fantastic way to let your intuition do its thing. Don’t think about what you want to highlight. Just read and mark whatever jumps at you. You can always go back through your highlights later and sort them.

Reading lamp: I have a bedside lamp with a gooseneck you can bend around. This is useful, as I don’t have to position myself in weird ways while reading in bed. I just bend the lamp to wherever I need the light. Especially helpful if you read lying on your back.

Bookmark: You can literally use anything to keep track of where you are in a book, like a piece of paper or a post-it note, but a physical bookmark can be a nice personal touch. Or, you can do what I do: Don’t use bookmarks at all. It forces me to remember where I left off. Even if I sometimes need a while to find the page again, it’s a good memory exercise.

Gadgets For Reading On Screens

Kindle: I get physical books whenever I can, but at times my Kindle has been a lifesaver. It’s such an easy way to carry unlimited books everywhere and a single charge lasts for weeks. The e-ink display is very easy on the eyes and you have highlighting, dictionary, and web browsing built in.

Blinkist: My book summary service of choice. They have a web and phone app, over 5,000 non-fiction titles, audio for over 80% of them, built-in highlighting, as well as features to sync your highlights to Evernote and send summaries straight to your Kindle. I’ve written extensive reviews of both the web app and the phone app, and Four Minute Books readers get an exclusive 35% off their first year.

Evernote: This is a digital filing system, but its genius lies in the fact that you can use it as both a second brain and your own private Google. For most people, the free version is enough, but make sure you install the web clipper. You can use it to clip articles, or chunks of them, images, and whatever else you find online. The software makes all text searchable, meaning you just have to remember a few keywords to find anything, anytime. I’ve written a thorough guide on how to use it here.

Spritz: If you want an innovative way to read online, Spritz may be for you. Instead of reading a coherent block of text, their app shows it to you one word at a time. Since your eyes don’t have to move, you can read a lot faster. It’s definitely weird at first. Once you get used to it, however, it’s amazing for news or other content you want to consume quickly without missing anything.

BeeLine Reader: This fascinating tool adds a color gradient to text you view online. It helps your eyes move through it quicker by dragging them from one important part of the structure to the next.

iReader: Most blog posts are filled with clutter around the edges. Some browsers have a reading mode built-in, but if yours doesn’t, you can use this Chrome extension to change any article to a sleek text-only view.

F.lux: This is a must if you work on screens early or late at night, but especially for late-night reading it’s important. F.lux changes the color of your screen to a more reddish color at night, resembling the sunset and removing the blue light. It helps your body not interrupt its production of melatonin, which is a sleep hormone. Even if you stay up longer, you won’t have as much trouble falling asleep. If you’re on a Mac or iOS device, this feature is built-in and called Night Shift.

Pocket: Timing matters. Sometimes, you come across a great article with no time to read it right now. Or maybe you’re not sure if it’s the right advice at the right time. Pocket takes care of that. Just send content from anywhere into this universal read-it-later folder and make up your mind another time. It is pre-built into Firefox, but simple to install as an extension on other browsers.

Resources That Will Improve Your Reading Skill

The Complete Guide To Remembering What You Read: The system I personally use when I read non-fiction books. Includes everything from previewing the content, to how you should breathe while reading, to a selection of note-taking systems and how to condense everything.

Time 2 Read: This is a free, 14-day email course I made to help you make reading a habit. Maybe you’ve fallen off the wagon or completely out of love with it. This is aimed at helping you get back on track. In retrospect, I’d make the lessons shorter, but I’m proud of the mix of storytelling and science that’s in there. Definitely worth checking out, I also included a whole bunch of bonuses.

10 Days To Faster Reading: This is a book by Abby Marks-Beale that introduces you to the concept of speed reading. I’m not a big fan of the idea, because no matter how fast you get, the consequence is always that you’ll miss information. I’d rather filter what to read in the first place. Then again, this can be useful for reading you have to do, but aren’t super excited about. Tim Ferriss also wrote a scientific guide about this.

What Else?

Coffee: Ah, the drink of champions. I love it with and without caffeine, but the smell of a hot cup of fresh coffee is hard to pass up, even without a book. It’s become a ritual for me to drink it while writing, but I tend to read in the mornings as well, so it’s a perfect match.

Music: Since I read and write all day, I’ve gotten used to doing it with music in the background, though I don’t always listen to songs with lyrics, as those can be distracting. But a good mix of electronic, classical, and other instrumental music can actually improve your retention. I also like natural white noises, such as rain, etc. There’s a site that mixes jazz with rain, and Noisli lets you build your own custom sound mix.

Audiobooks: I really only listen to audiobooks and podcasts when I’m on a long drive, but I know lots of people enjoy them while working out or doing chores. Audible has a great free trial, with which you can listen to two books of your choice in full. We also have our own selection of over 900 audiobooks, which comes at a flat fee and keeps growing all the time. Each one includes a reading of the summary on here, and over 300 of them even come with personal commentary from me.


Did I miss anything? Have other ideas and suggestions? Just send them to me here.

Remember: Reading gadgets are nice, but the most important thing will always be what you choose to read.

Happy reading!

Blinkist Review Cover & Social Share Image - Four Minute Books

Blinkist Review 2022

How good is the Blinkist app? Is it useful? What does it feel like as a paying customer? And what about pricing? Does it hold up against other book summary services? The goal of my Blinkist review is to answer all those questions for you and more.

If you prefer to watch a video, you can see my live walkthrough of the Blinkist app below. This includes an analysis of its pros and cons and the price.

For an extensive review of the Blinkist app in written form, read on below or jump to any section using this table of contents:

If you want to come back to it at any time, just hit the little up arrow icon on the bottom right corner of this page.

If you want more information about Blinkist the company, details of individual features, and a walkthrough of the web app and how it feels compared to the app, check out my Blinkist Explainer Guide.

For this review, we’ll start with a quick summary where I give you brief answers to the most important questions.

Quick Summary of my Blinkist Review (FAQ)

  • Is Blinkist app free? Yes, but as a free user, you can only read “the daily pick,” which is a random book summary.
  • What’s it like to use Blinkist app? The user experience is simple, easy, and fast, thanks to Blinkist’s minimalistic interface, focused features, and sleek design. It’s geared towards reading and listening, which are its main use cases.
  • Does Blinkist work offline? Yes. The summaries you add to your library will automatically be downloaded in text format. You can also download audios, even automatically, and delete them again after you’re done listening.
  • How many books are on Blinkist? There are over 5,000 books in the Blinkist library and the team adds about 40 new titles per month.
  • How much does Blinkist cost? The monthly pricing is $12.99, but if you buy the annual plan, you’ll get 50% off. If you use an affiliate link like ours, however, you can get another 35% off, putting the final price at $5.34 per month (that’s $0.18 per day). You can do so here.
  • Is Blinkist worth the money? I think so. It’s the cheapest book summary service in absolute terms, costs less than a coffee a day (or in some places even a month!), offers great value for the money, and beats most free book summary sites.

If this is all you’ve wanted to know, and you now want to go right ahead and start a completely risk-free 7-day trial of Blinkist, you can use the button below to get started (and secure an extra 35% off should you decide to keep your subscription).

You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If you haven’t made up your mind yet, just read on for the rest of our detailed Blinkist review.

What are the Pros and Cons of Reading Book Summaries (in General)?

When reviewing a tool or service, most people immediately jump into what they like and don’t like. That’s a mistake, especially when looking at one of many services in a particular category. In this case, book summaries.

The concept of a book summary itself has some specific advantages and disadvantages. Naturally, these will transfer to Blinkist and any other book summary service. You can’t really blame a particular company for them.

Let’s first look at those, so we can better pinpoint the unique pros and cons of Blinkist later.

Pros of reading book summaries:

  1. You’ll skip all unnecessary information. This is especially helpful for books that only make one or a few good points. It also helps you avoid poor books altogether.
  2. You can learn about more and different topics faster. Instead of being stuck on one book about meditation for a month, you can read a summary in a few minutes. Then, you can jump to the next mindfulness book or a new topic altogether.
  3. You’ll likely remember more without taking notes. Since book summaries center around facts and short ways to illustrate them, you’ll likely come away from one summary with 3-5 things you’ll remember. If you read a full book without taking notes, it’s hard to properly memorize anything.

Cons of reading book summaries:

  1. You’ll lose most of the story and humor of the book. This is bad, because it makes reading fun. Depending on how much you connect with the story, it also helps you remember a lot, even if you might have to take notes.
  2. You will miss out on big ideas and spontaneous insights from truly great books. The best books hit hard with every page. It’s impossible to transfer all of their knowledge into a summary. Some books you just have to read in full to get the most out of them.
  3. Due to a lack of context, you might interpret facts the wrong way. Sometimes, a summary states an idea one way, whereas the context of the book sets it up in another. But because that context is now missing, you’re interpreting the idea differently and thus get an impression the author didn’t want you to have.
  4. You are now trusting not just the author of the book, but also whoever wrote the summary. If the summary writer does a bad job, you lose. For example, they might fail to include an important story and so you won’t remember a crucial fact.

Again, these apply to all book summaries and the services that provide them. So with those in mind, let’s turn our attention to the Blinkist app user experience.

How Does It Feel to Use the Blinkist App?

First, the Blinkist app is available for both iPhone and Android. Downloading the app is free. You can sign up using your email address or Facebook account. When you open the app for the first time, you’ll get a short tutorial of how everything works.

One of the first things you’ll notice is that the app only has three tabs for you to choose from:

  1. Discover. This is where you can explore their library and find new titles.
  2. Library. Here, you’ll have access to your personal selection of books.
  3. You. This is where your settings and saved highlights are.

This is brilliant, because it makes navigating the app and choosing what to do really easy. Let’s look at the individual tabs.

1. The Discover Tab

Blinkist Review 2019 Discover

There are seven ways to find new book summaries inside the Blinkist app:

  1. You can search for a specific title, author, or keyword.
  2. The Daily Minute is a short introduction to the free book summary of the day.
  3. You can browse their 27 categories.
  4. The app generates personalized reading recommendations for you.
  5. There are multiple curated book lists from experts and authors.
  6. Trending blinks are what’s popular right now.
  7. The “New” section shows you the most recently added titles.

Since they have multiple ways of exploring, you can both find specific books and topics you’re looking for and randomly find new things.

2. The Library Tab

Blinkist Review 2019 Library

This is the central tab, the main view, the homepage, if you will. Your library is a list of all the summaries you’ve saved to read, which you can do in all discover modes using the ⨁ (plus) icon.

You’ll see a blue progress bar for all the books you’ve started and a green bar for all the ones you’ve completed. You can also filter your library for only audiobooks and by how much progress you’ve made. Finally, you can sort it by the books you’ve most recently added, opened, how much progress you’ve made, and alphabetically.

You can even create your own tagging system, save books as favorites on your profile, or download the audio for any book with one tap. The text summaries of all books in your library will be downloaded automatically, so you can always read them offline.

Here, you will also see a small, dark blue banner at the bottom, prompting you to continue reading your last summary where you left off. The library is from where you’ll start most of your reading journeys inside the app.

3. The You Tab

Blinkist Review 2019 Profile

This tab is a very simplistic profile. It only shows a list of your favorite books (which you control via the ❤︎ (heart) button or by using the three dots icon in your library) and your highlights.

Your favorites list is a way to filter books even more, but I personally don’t use this feature, as I find the library does enough of that.

Your highlights are sorted by book and, if you tap on one, you’ll see which blink each one is from. You can also share them directly to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, email, and many other services from here.

Finally, this is where you’ll find your settings. You can switch languages (they have German and English), activate email notifications for the Daily Minute, and choose how you want to download audios. There’s an option to auto-download, to turn off mobile data for it, and even to auto-delete audios after you’re done listening.

Blinkist Review 2019 Settings

This also where you can sync your profile with your Evernote account and connect your Kindle. The first allows you to save all your highlights in an Evernote notebook and make them searchable. With the second you can send book summaries to your Kindle, save them forever, and take them anywhere.

As you can see, moving around the app is very easy to do thanks to its structure. Let’s see how it feels to use the main features: reading and audio.

What are the Main Features of the Blinkist App?

There really are only two use cases for the Blinkist app: reading summaries and listening to them. But what does that look and feel like?

1. Reading book summaries

Blinkist Review 2019 Blink Reading

When you tap on a book inside your library, you’ll see a brief overview along with the option to either read it or listen to it. If you tap on “Read,” you’ll be taken to the first ‘blink,’ which is what Blinkist calls the pages of their summaries. It describes what you can get out of reading the summary.

Then, you can swipe from one key highlight to the next. You’ll see a progress bar at the bottom and you can highlight any part of the text that speaks to you. There’s also a table of contents, a toggle to adjust the font size or switch to white-on-black mode (rather than the default black-on-white), and a button to quickly switch to audio mode.

In between blinks, you’ll sometimes see nuggets of wisdom from the book, which is a nice goodie. The final blink is always a summary with some actionable advice. Then, you can mark the title as finished and go back to your library. Easy peasy!

2. Listening to audio book summaries

Blinkist Review 2019 Audio

When you hit “Listen” in the book overview, you’ll go to the audio player. The blinks of that book will now play one after another until you’ve finished the whole summary.

You can also enable autoplay at the bottom of the screen, which will proceed to play all the books from your library in a row. If you swipe left, you can change the order of books in your queue, too. When you enable “Offline mode,” the app will only play audios you’ve previously downloaded.

The audio player itself is very easy to understand. The key takeaway of each blink is shown in the middle and the controls allow you to skip 15 seconds forward and backward, as well as increase or decrease speed. The minimum is half speed, the maximum is twice as fast. That’s it, plain and simple, just like using Spotify or your phone’s standard music player!

Recap: User Experience on Blinkist

Blinkist truly wants to save you some time. You can feel it. The design is very minimalistic, and that’s on purpose. Everything is concise and to the point. They don’t give you many options and that’s a good thing.

In fact, they’ve removed several features from previous versions, and I think it serves a purpose. Blinkist wants you to be focused on one thing and one thing only: learning from books through reading and listening.

That’s why there are no cluttered sidebars, no fancy buttons, no advertisements. The user interface reminds me of Medium. It’s extremely focused on giving you the best reading and listening experience possible. Nothing more, nothing less.

This also means navigation is easy, you can hardly do anything wrong or go somewhere you don’t want to be inside the app. Loading times are fast, both on the phone and web app, and thanks to offline reading and downloading audios, you don’t even need an internet connection at all times.

So much for the user experience. Now let’s talk pros and cons.

Thank you for reading this far! Ready to jump in and try Blinkist? Use the button below to get started and snag a sweet 35% off should you decide to keep your subscription after your totally risk-free one-week trial. Comes with free support of Four Minute Books at no extra cost (we’re an affiliate). If you want to know more first, read on for the remainder of our review.

What are the Pros & Cons of the Blinkist App Specifically?

Now that you know what it feels like to use the app, let’s talk about some of its ups and downs. Again, remember that all book summaries have advantages and disadvantages, but these are specific to Blinkist’s service:

Pros of using the Blinkist app:

  1. The book summaries are complete. You don’t get just a few ideas or important concepts from a book, you get all of them.
  2. It’s very easy to consume content and learn. The app is simple to use, convenient to navigate, and a child could figure out how to access the main features, reading and listening, within minutes.
  3. Highlighting helps a lot with remembering facts from summaries. This is an underrated feature, as it can make a big difference in how much information you retain, but you also have to use it to get the benefits.
  4. The audio experience on Blinkist is seamless. You tap, it plays, you listen. Perfect for learning during long workouts, your commute to work, or while cooking or cleaning your house.

Cons of using the Blinkist app:

  1. Humor and most emotion are stripped away almost completely from the book. Some writers make a point to capture some of the book’s unique spirit in their summary. Blinkist doesn’t, it’s very geared towards facts.
  2. Reading many summaries in a row can feel repetitive and boring. That’s mostly because of the lack of story, and it’s why I’d recommend reading 1-2 summaries a day, no more.
  3. Some summaries are too short for the book they represent. I’ve come across summaries that only had three or four blinks, but the actual book was really long. I suspect those will miss many important points.
  4. There is no scrutiny towards individual books. The Blinkist team doesn’t review, critique, rank, or fact-check any of the books. That means these jobs are still yours to do.

I’ll give you my final thoughts on how these weigh against one another at the end of this review, but for now, I’ll let you be the judge.

Next, let’s look at some of the content itself so we can get an idea of how useful the service might be for you.

What are the Best Books on Blinkist?

The single best way to get a feel for the content on Blinkist is to read today’s free summary. You can also listen to the audio. You’ll find both here. That said, here are 10 of Blinkist’s all-time most popular titles so you can see what kind of books they have:

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. This all-time classic describes seven habits most successful people share and how to form them in your own life.
  2. Getting Things Done by David Allen. The default manifesto on productivity. A simple system with a few hard and fast rules to help you do your work.
  3. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. In this book, you’ll learn about cognitive biases and how they shape – and sometimes distort – our perception and decisions.
  4. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. This is one of the best books on making and breaking habits there is. Thanks to Duhigg’s habit loop, you can identify and change your behavior in the ways that you want.
  5. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. If you want to be an entrepreneur, this is for you. Tim describes how he built, automated, and later even sold his company. More importantly, he gives you the tools and tactics to create your own in a way that funds your lifestyle without taking too much time.
  6. Influence by Robert Cialdini. One of the best books on how to interact and build relationships with other people. You can use this book to find friends, get a promotion, or find a compromise with your spouse.
  7. Drive by Daniel Pink. Pink dissects what motivates us, which is really helpful in finding work you love.
  8. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. By analyzing a few extreme cases, Gladwell manages to deliver a template of why products, ideas, and people are successful – or not.
  9. Mindset by Carol Dweck. There are two main ways to look at the world: you can either try and learn from everything (a growth mindset) or accept everything as is (a fixed mindset). Dweck helps us go from one to the other.
  10. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. One of the best books on creativity and happiness. It explains why we enjoy the activities we enjoy and helps us do more of them.

If you sign up for a free, 7-day trial, you can read all of the above. You can also get a sneak peek at their content by reading their free summaries on Four Minute Books. You can find them all in our index of book summaries.

Recap: How Useful Is the Blinkist App?

Blinkist has over 5,500 books in its database. The selection is also growing at about 40 books per month. That’s a true all-you-can-read buffet of book summaries. No matter whether you want to learn about growth hacking, stoicism, economics, entrepreneurship, habits, mindfulness, happiness, love, biology, history, or food, you will find the right book.

What’s more, thanks to cutting out the fluff, but giving you all the important ideas of a book, Blinkist also lets you decide what you want to learn from a book and how much. You can get just the main concept from a book like The One Thing, or browse all blinks and see how many sound new to you. If you find many interesting things, you can still buy the book. If not, you can be done with it or return to it later.

The purpose of Blinkist is to give you a factual analysis of the core message of a book, along with all its important points. And it really delivers on that promise. Therefore, you can use Blinkist both as a complement and supplement to books. Get the best ideas from books not worth reading in full and screen great ones before you commit to them.

Okay, time for the money talk. How expensive is this service?

Thank you for reading this far! If our book selection has made you curious, please use the button below to sign up for Blinkist. You’ll support this site at no extra cost in the process by automatically letting them know we’ve referred you, and we’ll get a small commission should you keep your subscription.

The trial lasts 7 days, however, and is completely free! And now, on to the rest of our Blinkist review: pricing and competitors!

How Much Does Blinkist Cost?

First, the Blinkist app is free to download and install. But with a free account, you can only read one summary each day: the daily pick. This is a set of randomly chosen blinks, so you can’t control what you’re reading. Full access requires a Premium subscription.

Blinkist offers a monthly and an annual plan.

For $12.99 per month (or the same amount in €, if you’re in Europe), you get unlimited access to their content. That includes over 5,000 titles, including audio versions, shortcasts (summaries of podcasts), offline reading and downloading, highlighting, as well as the ability to sync your highlights to Evernote or send summaries straight to your Kindle. That’s less than $0.50 per day and pretty cheap if you consider the “skill” you’re getting in return. But wait!

On the annual plan, you get 50% off, which means you’ll pay only $6.67 (or €) per month. That’s a steep discount. Even if you just use the app for six months, it’ll have paid for itself. Can it get any better? Actually, yes, it can.

Blinkist Review 2019 Pricing

Four Minute Books is a Blinkist affiliate, meaning we can give you another 35% off if you use our link. In return, we’ll receive a commission for referring you to Blinkist as a customer. In the end, you’ll pay just $5.34 per month – less than $0.18 per day!

How Much Does Blinkist Offer Compared to Other Book Summary Services?

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of book summary services.

First, there are those offering free book summaries, like we do on Four Minute Books. This usually means affiliate links to the actual books are included in the content. Often, it’s just one or a few people running the site and sharing their notes.

Second, there are paid book summary services, like Blinkist. These either charge you per summary or you’ll have to pay a monthly fee to access all their titles. Usually, it’ll be a team creating the content in multiple formats.

Let’s look at some of the most popular ones in both categories and how they stack up against Blinkist.

Blinkist Alternatives – Free Book Summary Services

  • Optimize by Heroic. Brian Johnson used to run Optimize.me as a paid service. Over 250,000+ people use it. However, he recently raised money, turned his company into a B Corp (a public benefit for-profit corporation), and made the app free! Before, it used to be ~$100/year. Optimize offers over 600 Philosopher’s Notes, structured 6-page PDFs of some of the world’s best titles. It also includes audios, videos, and a lot more. Great free book summary app!
  • The Power Moves. Lucio is incredibly dedicated to objectivity and putting out quality content. I didn’t count the number of summaries in his list, but it seems to be the only free one that rivals our nearly 500 titles.
  • NJlifehacks. Nils and Jonas are great, positive guys, and they put a lot of hard work into their writing. They even create custom images for their summaries. Awesome!
  • Actionable Books. With over 1,000 summaries, this is technically the largest list, but the articles don’t really feel like summaries. They all share just one big idea and then two more random insights. I’m not convinced of this structure. I know our own 3-lesson format is sometimes limited, but this even more so.
  • James Clear. King James barely needs an introduction. He’s one of the most prolific researchers and writers on the science of habits. He’s summarized many popular books in 3 sentences.
  • Sam Thomas Davies. I’ve known Sam for years now, and he dissects the psychology of our brains like no other. He also has 100+ book summaries which he’s organized perfectly by category.
  • Nat Eliason. Nat is one of the great experimenters of our time, covering everything from health to tech to sex to entrepreneurship. His book notes are more like highlights, but combined with his ratings they’re very useful.
  • Derek Sivers. After selling his business, Derek is now living a quiet life as a thinker, writer, developer, musician, and whatever else he wants to be. He has notes on over 250 books too. Respect!

Other free services, like Spark Notes, CliffNotes, and WikiSummaries are more concerned with textbooks and classic literature, to help you study for school.

Considering you only get one summary per day as a free Blinkist user, many other services offer far more free content. At the same time, these services rarely provide summaries that are as complete or in-depth as Blinkist’s, precisely because they are free. Often, they also have less content overall, as Blinkist’s team of 60+ people can put out way more summaries than any one- or two-person blog.

If you’re only reading a few summaries a month or don’t care about the randomness of Blinkist’s daily pick, free might do the trick for you. But if you want more, a paid service is the way to go.

Blinkist Alternatives – Paid Book Summary Services

  • Headway. This is a relatively new app, offering bite-sized learning in a variety of formats. They only launched in 2019 but already boast over 12 million users, making them a serious Blinkist competitor. By using a combination of quotes, summaries, audio, and graphics, they make it really easy for you to make learning a habit. At $90/year, it costs about the same as Blinkist.
  • Shortform. A few years ago, I saw a guy named Allen Cheng post incredibly detailed book summaries on his blog. Now, his work has become the foundation of Shortform, a full-scale book summary service trying to offer the most detailed, chapter-by-chapter book summaries of them all. 
  • Instaread. Another solid Blinkist competitor with over 2,000 books summarized, a sleek-looking app and format, and a nice level of depth and storytelling to their content. It’s about the same price as Blinkist too, and has some neat goodies like swiping left and right on quotes from books. Read our full review here.
  • getAbstract. With over 18,000 books, this is probably the biggest book summary service in the world. They have a cool student offering (free for one year, then 59 €/year), but the regular Pro and Enterprise licenses are really expensive (299 € and more per year). You can read our in-depth review of them here.
  • Uptime. This app offers 5-minute knowledge hacks for books, courses, documentaries, and even podcasts in extremely creative reading, listening, and watching formats. Starts from just $4/month! Read our detailed review here.
  • Readitfor.me. This service is more geared towards busy professionals with its 12-minute video summaries and audios. It also costs $19/month, or $29/month if you want access to their masterclasses.
  • FlashBooks. I’m not sure how many summaries this service has, but at $29/month after a $1-trial-week, it’s definitely expensive.
  • Readingraphics. This service takes a more visual approach to reading with infographics for each books. However, for $19/month you only get 3 new summaries, which is a high price per piece of content.
  • Scribd. Scribd aggregates and summarizes all kinds of content, from audiobooks to books to magazines to research papers. They also often host full-version PDFs of the originals. You can read our in-depth review here.

My friend Prakhar created a great list of even more services and tools, but I think these are the most relevant ones. If you ask me, Instaread and getAbstract are the best alternatives to Blinkist, as they have a similar, if slightly more expensive price-to-value ratio, not factoring in any discounts. Optimize is probably the best free alternative.

If you want to learn from multiple books a week or even a day, I think Blinkist offers the best value for the money.

Recap: Is Blinkist worth it?

To figure out whether you should pay for a subscription, I like this thought experiment:

Imagine you could buy the skill of being able to read one book every single day. Just like in The Matrix, it’s uploaded right into your brain. How much would that skill be worth to you? $1,000? $10,000? $100,000? Whatever your number is, that’s what Blinkist should be worth to you.

Because with a Blinkist Premium subscription, you’re essentially acquiring this skill overnight. Instead of wasting lots of time on bad books and procrastinating on reading, you’ll read one set of blinks and digest all of the core ideas of an entire book in 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, colleges charge $200,000 for a degree in which they barely teach you anything.

In my town, Munich in Germany, some cafés charge $7 or more for a single cappuccino or latte. Yet, for less than that, I can get a full month of access to over 5,000 book summaries and audios, all designed to do only one thing: make me smarter.

At $0.18/day, I pay ten times the money for my daily coffee. Maybe, you are too. If that’s not a no-brainer, I don’t know what is. 

Thanks to Blinkist, you’ll save lots of time, be able to learn in situations where you usually couldn’t, remember more, and soak up knowledge about new topics faster. The pros easily outweigh the cons. Given that it is the cheapest book summary service in absolute terms, and offers great value for the money, I think Blinkist is worth paying for.

Conclusion: My Blinkist Review

Let’s briefly recap each section.

First, the user experience inside the Blinkist app is brilliant. It loads fast, the minimalistic design is simple to understand, it syncs between all your devices and you can always pick up right where you left off. The app gently steers you towards its two only true use cases: reading and listening to summaries of books.

Second, the Blinkist app is extremely useful and its pros outweigh its cons. Sure, the summaries are mostly fact-based and some of them aren’t perfect, but thanks to their completeness, you can pick up tons of ideas in a short time. Since the reading and listening experience is flawless, you’ll also remember a lot of what you read.

Third, Blinkist offers huge value for the money and is the cheapest book summary service in absolute terms. With over 5,000 summaries in its library and a price of only $0.18/day, Blinkist outshines most competitors. They have more content than most free summary sites and are cheaper than all other paid services. But even judged on its own, it’s an investment in yourself you won’t regret.

Here’s my final verdict: Use Blinkist as an extension of your usual reading and a complement to it, not a replacement.

You can skip the fluff of books with only a few good ideas, learn via audio in situations where you can’t read a book, and screen great titles before committing to reading them in full. That’s what this app is perfect for. If you read 1-2 summaries per day, you’ll also greatly speed up your learning overall. I highly recommend you sign up.

Thank you for reading my Blinkist review! I hope you found it helpful. If you like what you’ve seen and are excited to sign up, I’d appreciate it if you used our Blinkist discount code to get an extra 35% off and support us at no extra cost to you.

You can also sign up for a risk-free 7-day trial and make up your mind later. Thank you!

Whatever you do, I’m grateful you read this review and I hope Four Minute Books will help you become smarter.


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: