The Best Book Summary App and Websites

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While some bibliophiles might roll their eyes at the surge of book summaries in recent years, these apps and websites have become an essential tool in a rapidly developing world.

Whether you need a refresher on the plot of a book you read years ago, or you just don’t have the free time anymore to read the latest bestseller, a book summary app will keep you up-to-date with the literary world in an accessible and convenient way.

Because of the growing popularity of book summaries, there are now countless sources for them on the internet; some are less reliable than others. It is essential to find one or two useful apps to provide you high-quality summaries. Don’t waste your time on google.

This guide will help by highlighting some of the best book summary apps out there today and give you the scoop on what they uniquely have to offer.

Can’t Wait? Here’s the Overall Best Book Summary App

Blinkist is a leading provider of book summaries, and our top pick. Blinkist has about seven million users and has been making book summaries since 2012. They specialize exclusively in nonfiction books and have some of the best selling nonfiction books of all time captured for your fifteen-minute listen. What’s more, they offer full-length audiobooks.

Try Blinkist for Free

Blinkist is extremely easy to navigate, whether you’re on their website or mobile app. You can link your Blinkist account with Evernote and Kindle, which makes for a robust toolbox for your personal development. They are easily the best book summary app.

If you get an annual subscription with Blinkist, you will be paying an affordable $8.34 monthly. Otherwise, a month-by-month subscription will run you $15.99 monthly. But hold onto your wallet––Blinkist offers a free seven-day trial, allowing you to feel out the app before making any final decisions.

Try Blinkist for Free

Here are some other high-quality book summary apps:

Audible –– Best for Variety

While not a book summary app – there’s still plenty of options on Audible.

If you’ve been on the internet any time this decade, you’ve probably heard of Audible. Many know audible for its library of full-length audiobooks, which has a selection of over 200,000 books of every genre. What is lesser known is that Audible also provides book summaries to its users.

Product Highlights

Audible has a wide selection of book summaries, topping the majority of other book summary apps and websites. They offer summaries for every genre, not just nonfiction. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial to browse their library and give a few of their book summaries a listen.

Try Audible and Get Two Books Free

Why It’s Awesome

Where Audible is great here is that you don’t just have access to book summaries, you have access to the seemingly limitless library. Audible provides audios of books narrated by their author and professionals in a wide range of categories.

Signing up for an Audible subscription will grant you access to a free book before you make a final buying decision.

There are plenty of different audio summaries on the platform to choose from if you don’t want to dedicate the 12 hours needed to listen to a full book.

However, Audible’s biggest victory here is that you actually own the books you buy. Most book summary apps are subscription models like Netflix. Once you stop paying, you lose access. However, with Audible you keep the books. So if you stop paying your monthly fee, you can keep your books.

Honestly, if you want more than just book summaries, Audible is easily the bet choice here – but seeing we’re just looking at book summary apps, it loses it’s top ranking.

Try Audible and Get Two Books Free

How It Can Be Improved

Some book summary audios on Audible are longer than average. Audible has audios of summaries that are over an hour-long, and most are around twenty minutes long. If you are someone primarily looking for time-efficiency, Audible might not be right for you.

Given that Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks, it is also not the cheapest platform you can find. Audible does not offer a substantial discount for annual subscription plans, but you can check the best price and get two audiobooks for free.

You can see our Blinkist vs Audible article too if you want to see how they compare.

Try Audible and Get Two Books Free

Instaread –– Best for Finding References

After Blinkist, Instaread is one of the most popular book summary apps. Instaread is more focused on the quality of each audio rather than quantity and offers insight and analysis on top of the summary.

Product Highlights

The majority of Instaread’s audio summaries are around fifteen minutes long. While Instaread has some titles in fiction, the titles focus primarily on summarizing nonfiction work. Instaread will cost you $8.99/month on the monthly subscription, and $89.99 if you commit to the annual subscription.

If you’re one that fears commitments, don’t fret: individual Instaread book summaries are available on Google Play for about three bucks each.

Why It’s Awesome

One of the best things about Instaread is that it offers critical insights for referencing, such as the specific chapter that the information is pulled from. This feature is valuable to listeners sifting through nonfiction book summaries for quotes and statistics to reference while writing a paper. Instaread is a beneficial tool for students, professors, journalists, and other informative writers.

How It Can Be Improved

Perhaps because it is focused more on quality than quantity, Instaread only offers a selection of around 700 books. If there is a specific book you are searching for, such a small selection means a larger chance that they don’t have it. However, Instaread is new and growing every day, gradually increasing the number of audiobook summaries they have to offer.

getAbstract –– Best for Students

getAbstract is another book summary service with a large selection: they boast over 20,000+ summaries. If you don’t believe me, check out their free 3-day trial and see for yourself. They have plenty of business books, especially.

Product Highlights

Similar to Audible, getAbstract has a rating system so you can see what people are saying about the quality of a book summary before you end up wasting your time listening. Ratings are out of ten and have sub-ratings for applicability, innovation, and style. Their audios are also on the shorter side of the market, nearing just ten minutes. getAbstract summaries features an option of sending the summary to your Kindle for extra convenience.

Why It’s Awesome

We consider getAbstract the best option for students looking for a book summary because students can listen to them for free. getAbstract has a special subscription plan for students, where students gain access to 5,000 free book summaries. If you’re a student, all you have to do is send in a picture of your student ID, and you don’t have to sweat if you forgot to do the reading for class.

How It Can Be Improved

If you’re not a student, getAbstract is not the most cost-efficient option. For other users, getAbstract will run you $99 for access to 5,000 summaries for a year, and $299 for 20,000. Students can get access to 20,000 summaries for $99 a year. There is also no month-by-month subscription plan, so yes, there are a lot of strings attached.

All in all, Blinkist is still our best option.

Try Blinkist for Free

12Min Blog –– Best for Your Wallet

This is the first free book summary app on the list. Formerly known as “Nuggets,” 12Min was focused initially on highlighting book quotes but has since shifted to book summaries. Their book summaries are posted both on their website and app, and reading is free to access. Users will have to pay for a subscription to audiobooks.

Product Highlights

Staying true to their roots, 12Min has a list of ‘tweetable’ quotes at the bottom of each book summary. They offer longer audios for readers looking for more in-depth details from books that explore the core of their meaning. Every book summary posted on their blog also has a feature estimating how long it would take to read, so you can decide if you have enough time to squeeze in reading a book summary.

Why It’s Awesome

12Min is a free book summary provider, allowing users to read to book summaries at no cost. Along with a neutral summary of a book, 12Min also provides a critical review in each book summary, allowing more insight to those who read or listen.

How It Can Be Improved

After a three day trial, audios are no longer free, just the reading is. In their audiobooks, 12Min uses a robot voice to read summaries. This robotic reading can feel very impersonal and often monotone, so you’re not missing out on much anyway. It is still budget-friendly, with an annual subscription costing around $70 per month, lower than other rates on this list.

FightMediocrity –– Best Free Source

Okay, you caught me, this one is not really an app or a website, it’s a Youtube channel. But totally free audiobook summaries are a rarity, we had to look into Youtube for a provider you never have to open your wallet for. If you have the Youtube app on your phone (who doesn’t?), listening to book summaries from FightMediocrity is still an easy and convenient way to get your knowledge on the go.

Product Highlights

FightMediocrity has over one million subscribers and offers fantastic free-content to viewers. Their videos are especially strong when it comes to business and psychology books, so you can expect a lot of content on personal development. They have hundreds of videos to scour through, and they have a reading list of their own recommendations in their video bios.

Why It’s Awesome

Along with a strong narrative voice, FightMediocrity has strong visuals in their video content to watch as you listen. They are very high-quality videos, and the visuals are always related to the summary of the book. Overall, it is a great watch.

How It Can Be Improved

While FightMediocrity goes beyond the book to offer insight that applies its contents to real life, he often draws from personal experience. For users who just want a barebones summary, this may not be favorable. Additionally, each video is packed with information and visuals, but most are only three to ten minutes long, meaning there is no chance for an in-depth play-by-play of everything in the book.

All in all, Blinkist is still our best option.

Try Blinkist for Free

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a book summary?

Summaries about books provide a general overview of the plot and content of a given book. It is most used by people who don’t have the time to invest in flipping through page after page of a specific reading to get a message that could be explained within a few sentences. The best book summary apps often provide book summaries in audio clips not much longer than ten minutes, so listeners can even experience a book on the go.

Are book summaries a good alternative?

For the modern professional, book summaries are the best alternative to reading a book. Their most significant advantage over reading the book is that they’re saving time. Book summaries are great for nonfiction books, especially business books, as you will get a condensed version of the information you wanted to learn. For fiction books, while it can provide an entertaining synopsis of the plot, actually reading the entire book might be better to enjoy details and the author’s writing style.

Where can I find chapter summaries for books?

During our school days, many of us have probably been on these pages once, twice, or every night, but for broad chapter summaries, Sparknotes and CliffsNotes are timeless. Between these two, you are bound to find whatever reading you are looking for.

Final Verdict

There are plenty of book summary apps out there to accommodate your individual preferences. Blinkist is our pick as the best book summary app, because it combines high-quality audio files which compress full-length books into 15 minutes of easy listening and easy-to-use interface. But if you’re looking for more than just nonfiction, or perhaps a service that is more budget-friendly, there are countless options out there to satisfy your needs. The internet is rapidly developing to sustain a modernized world with readers consuming knowledge in a new, modern way.

About the author: Hey there! I’m Vince. I’m a trained and practicing teacher with experience in e-learning and course design, along with having an extensive background in building and maintaining websites. I started EduTest Labs to help course creators and students find the best resources (without the BS).