Blinkist is a niche audiobook service designed to fit in with the demands of a busy schedule. A contrast to the huge libraries offered by Audible and Kobo, Blinkist has a hand-picked selection of 4,500 book summaries, each providing an insight into non-fiction bestsellers in 15 minutes or less.
Dubbed ‘Blinks’, each audiobook is a bite-sized summary which gets to the core of the book’s content, saving you the time and money you’d otherwise spend on the entire book. For $15.99 per month or $99.99 annually, Premium members get unlimited access to ‘Blinks’ on a whole range of topics including personal development, politics, and parenting. It also has a small selection of exclusive podcasts named ‘Blinkcasts’. The basic membership is free and gives you access to one Blink daily, pre-selected by the app.
Although the service may not be suited for the type of reader who devours a novel in one sitting, its unique offering is that each audiobook is a shortcut to mastering knowledge from top authors worldwide, in the same time you’d spend eating breakfast or driving to work. With an easy-to-use app and a handy highlighting feature, it makes our guide to the best audiobook services because it's such a unique offering.
Blinkist: Membership and price
The free basic membership offers you a ‘blink of the day’, one pre-selected audiobook each day to inject knowledge into your daily routine. Its downside is that you could end up listening on any topic from philosophy to corporate culture.
With premium, however, members have unlimited access to 4,500 titles which can be browsed on or offline in the free mobile app. A Blinkist premium membership is $15.99 per month. However, there is the option to pay $99.99 billed annually, which saves members just over half the price and comes to a more affordable $8.34 per month.
For context, the monthly membership is more expensive than Audible’s $14.99 per month membership and with a far slimmer library. Blinkist is, however, a very different proposition.
A seven-day free trial period is available with the yearly subscription at Blinkist. It’s a shorter trial period than the 30-day standard provided by most other audiobook services, but it gives you unlimited access for one week.
If you’re an employer, there’s also the option to make orders for teams of ten or more people, with prices beginning from $799 per year for ten customers. Bundles of 50+ can be requested by contacting Blinkist directly.
Blinkist: Library size and variety
Blinkist’s library houses 4,500 audiobooks in 27 categories. Compared to other audiobook services, it’s a relatively hand-picked selection but there are plenty of titles you’re sure to recognize once you start browsing, including Mark Manson’s The Art of Not Giving a F*ck and Barack Obama’s A Promised Land.
The library is strictly non-fiction, especially the kind that inspires, educates, or motivates. While Blinkist’s selection is relatively small, there is a good variety of quality reads on a host of different topics ranging from psychology to investment so it’s no wonder the site attracts a niche crowd committed to self-learning and self-improvement.
Straying from its trademark ‘Blinks’, a set of 20 longer audiobooks as long as 11 hours are open for listening. Furthermore, there is a selection of 20 ‘Shortcasts’, podcasts exclusive to Blinkist. They include podcasts on diets, business tips, and self-acceptance.
Blinkist: App and website
The Blinkist app is available on smartphones and androids through the Apple App Store or the Play Store for Androids. The app syncs with Evernote and you can also send physical reads to your Kindle, if that’s your preferred reading device.
Completely free, the app is as slick as it comes. There’s a basic home page, tailored with personalized recommendations based on your listening habits. Here, there’s also the option to follow enticing learning paths such as the ‘7 Days to Redefining Success’, a series of seven Blinks which promise to make you a master of the topic by the end of the challenge. In the explore page, you can search Blinks, Shortcasts, and Audiobooks using the search bar.
Finally, the library is where the app stores all your favorite saved titles, downloads, and finished books. You can view your highlights here too, sorted from A-Z. This is the product of the app’s handy highlighting too, which you can use on any book to highlight passages you don’t want to forget.
Overall, the app is pleasing to the eye and you can adjust the size and colour of the font. Most importantly, it has features which take listening to the next level. You can adjust your listening speed, set a sleep timer, and create your own listening queue.
The only downside is that we found many users’ reviews reported the app has a tendency to drain phone battery quickly.
Blinkist: Support and exchange
Another point of criticism highlighted by users reviews is the promptness of the customer support team. While Blinkist’s support page has step-by-step guides for troubleshooting, there’s no option for a live chat, so if you have any problems you have to submit a request via their online form, and reviews suggest this could take up to a week.
Should you subscribe to Blinkist?
If you’re looking for a brain exercise regime to integrate into your daily routine, Blinkist is the right service for you. While its selection of 4,500 titles is relatively small, the hand-picked summaries of non-fiction bestsellers get to the grit of the book in 15 minutes or less, saving you time and money.
Compared to other huge audiobook retailers, Blinkist does come at a slightly steeper price and it has a far slimmer library. If you’re an avid reader of fiction, Blinkist certainly won’t be for you. But if you’re the type who absorbs information and inspiration in small doses, it’s worth downloading the free seven-day trial to find out if the monthly subscription is worth the price.