Book summary websites and apps help you to get the key points and ideas from books that may take you a while to read especially if you lead a busy lifestyle.
The main benefit of this useful service is that you can get the condensed version of the book featuring only the key takeaways in about a 15 – 20 minute read. Most websites also have an audio version for convenience.
Whether you’re looking to avoid re-reading books you’re read before and just want to a refresher or you want to breeze through a reading list on a topic, book summary websites can help you with your goal.
Here are 11 of the best book summary websites (and apps) available to help you knock out that list of non-fiction books you wanted to read.
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This is possibly the most popular book summary website on the list.
I can’t remember how I first came across Blinkist (probably from a Facebook ad), but I remember thinking that this was a great idea since I’ve never heard about this type of service before.
Blinkist offers a library of 4500 book summaries on popular non-fiction books and even podcasts which they call shortcasts.
You can sign up for free and get one book summary sent to you daily. You can unlock unlimited reads with a Premium account which has some other great benefits like access to Shortcasts and the ability to send your blinks to Kindle or read offline.
The service costs $89.99 per year and you can get started with a 7 day free trial.
Like most of the other websites on this list, Blinkist is available as both an Android and iPhone app so you can learn on the go.
2. Get Abstract
Founded in 1999, GetAbstract is one of the oldest book summaries website on this list.
They also have the biggest selection of non-fiction book summaries with over 20,000 titles on lots of topics from personal development, leadership and even the coronavirus pandemic.
Getting started with GetAbstract is easy. They offer a 3-day free trial right off the bat when you sign up for a free account. There are no limitations during the trial but once it is over, you lose access and must purchase a plan.
GetAbstract is available as iPhone and Android apps so that you can learn with their text or audio summaries without being tied to a desktop. Abstracts as their summaries are called can also be conveniently sent to your Kindle device.
Another leader in the business of distilling key points and ideas from business books is Soundview.
The company has been offering book summaries since 1978 and is used worldwide by CEOs, government leaders, entrepreneurs, business consultants, teachers and students.
Their website which can be found at summary.com is free to join and members receive a free book summary upon signup. There are actually a handful of sample summaries given away through the website but to access the full works you’ll need to purchase a subscription.
Soundview also gives you access to monthly webinars and newsletters when you’re a member. Their content is accessible via apps for iPhone and Android users as well.
There is no free trial available from Soundview, but you can download a free book summary. Subscriptions start at $99 per year for their Standard plan.
This book summaries website looks and feels different to most of the others on this list and in many ways, it is.
Niklas Göke started Four Minute Books in 2006 with a goal of making you smarter everyday in just four minutes. The site has 900 book summaries and releases a new one three times every week.
Each book summary gives you the three biggest takeaways from the best non-fiction books in existence. You can access the book summaries for free on Four Minute Books. The site is also an affiliate site promoting Blinkist, which is a helpful go-to resource for the author of the book summaries they’ve written.
There are currently no apps available for this site.
Summaries.com started printing business book summaries back in 1989 and was the first to offer their products online when they launched their website in 1998.
With 1000 of the best business books in their catalog, they offer a different pricing model than most of the other website on this list.
You can get started with a free plan but that free plan is limited to a 5 minute snapshot of one new business book each week. Upgrading to a monthly plan gives you four new 30 minute summaries with one coming each week.
There are also plans that let you access any summary in their back-catalog dating back to 1998.
There are no apps available for mobile but summaries are available in pdf, ePub, Kindle and mp3 formats for your convenience.
Founded in 2014, Instaread is one of the top book summary apps for both iPhone and Android smartphones.
The website features over 1000 titles condensed to be read or listened to in about 15 minutes of your time. Top non-fiction books are the main focus but there are also Instaread original works and articles.
The key insights from non-fiction books are available in both audio and text versions in an easy to consume format which you can also access offline on mobile.
You will need a subscription to get started as there are no free plans available. There is a free 7-day trial if you want to try out the service after which you’ll be billed either a monthly, annual or lifetime fee depending on your choice.
Readitfor.me claims to be “the #1 book summary service for entrepreneurs and executives”. They boast clients such as Zappos, Bank of Montreal, Mailchimp and Spotify.
They do the same thing as all the others on this list – condensing the best business books into only the key points. The text, audio or video formats can be consumed in around 12 minutes of your time.
The pricing for individuals is just $9/month or $99/year. They offer a free 14-day trial so you can try out the service free for two weeks. There are also team subscriptions available.
With a library of over 400 bestselling non-fiction books, Storyshots is a free mobile app available for iPhone and Android users.
The app offers key insights in text, audio and animated video formats. To get started, just connect via Facebook, Google or any available ID and you’ll be able to access the entire library of summaries for free.
The app allows you to buy the full book if you want to read more than just the summary.
A premium subscription is available which will let you read summaries offline, get highlighting capabilities, remove ads and more.
Snapreads is a book summaries app that is only available for iPhone users so if you’re only using Android, you’ll have to choose from the others on the list.
The app has over 600 titles from which you’ll get the key insights in just a 15 minute read or with audio.
Although a website exists, it isn’t of much help in offering book summaries or information about the app.
Snapreads offer a 7 day free trial to get started and then it’s $14.99/month or $89.99/year.
Catchup is another iPhone only book summaries app offering book summaries for over 1000 best-selling book titles.
They also offer book summaries on some fiction titles like Hamlet, The Great Gatsby and Orwell’s 1984 as well as original content.
The app is free to download but there are premium subscriptions which can be bought in-app to continue getting access to the content.
PlayText isn’t primarily a book summaries website. They provide a text-to-speech web app that you can use to help read articles, documents and books up to 3 times faster.
Since, their web app is related to reading books faster, there is a great book summaries section on their website that has over 100 summaries of books in 5 categories.
You can filter the book summaries by category and listen to them while reading – a demonstration of how the PlayText app works. Furthermore, a book summary newsletter allows you to read a new book every single week. The best part is, it’s completely FREE.
If you’re interested in the text-to-speech app, PlayText gives you a 7-day free trial. After the trial, there is a fee of $10/month billed annually.
Reading the world’s best business and self improvement books can help you get ahead in life but it can also be time consuming.
Luckily, the above 11 websites and apps can help you conquer all the reading so you can get all the knowledge you need from the most important books.
In just 4 – 30 minutes a day, you can get the key insights from books like Think and Grow Rich and Influence in either text or audio format. This way you can get more done while continuously acquiring life-changing skills and knowledge.