Blinkist Review: What Is It and Is It Worth the Price?
As I mentioned in the past I’ve made an effort this year to read/listen to more finance books and review them. While that may seem simple enough, it means not only finding books that interest me but also finding the time to consume them. That’s why I was interested when I came across the service Blinkist, which serves up non-fiction content — including those related to money, business, and more — in easily-digestible morsels.
So, having explored Blinkist over the past year or so, does it have something to offer those interested in finance and beyond? Let’s take a closer look at the service and its concept.
Blinkist: What Is It and Is It Worth It?
What is Blinkist?
Blinkist is a content platform that features short excerpts — or “blinks” — from non-fiction books, podcasts, and more. Members can explore blinks on a number of topics including (germaine to this blog) Money & Investments, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Productivity, Politics, Creativity, and several others. Whether reading on the desktop site or via the Blinkist app, you can also highlight key passages and even share them via social media or sync to Evernote. In short, it’s an easy way to preview books, explore new ideas, or learn a bit about subjects that interest you.
In addition to a Basic plan that offers one pre-selected Free Daily read, Blinkist offers two paid unlimited plan options: premium yearly and premium monthly. Starting with the later, the cost is $15.99 a month. Meanwhile, if you pay for a year upfront, the cost is $99.99 a year (which breaks down to $8.34 a month). Also notable is that you can sign-up for a 7-day free trial, although this will result in a yearly subscription and $99 payment if you fail to cancel before your trial ends. Meanwhile, if you opt for the Premium Monthly, your first payment will be due at the time you sign up.
Now is a good time to mention that I was first introduced to Blinkist and was provided a one-year free trial of the service via an American Express promotion. While that offer has now ended, you may be able to find other deals from time to time. For example, while writing this update (two days before Christmas 2021), I was served an offer for 40% off a year’s subscription, bringing the cost down to $59.99 for the first year. Therefore, if you’re not quite sure you want to pay the full price, I’d recommend keeping an eye out for these types of promotions.
There are several different types of content and ways to consume it using either the Blinkist website or mobile app. First, while the word “Blink” is used to describe a minute-or-two-long piece of a book, it’s also used for a collection of these excerpts. So, if you view the Blink for I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, you’ll find that it’s comprised of seven blinks. Yes, it’s a bit confusing when I write about it, but it makes more sense on the platform itself.
When you select a Blink, you’ll have the option to either read it or listen to it. With the former, you’ll be able to highlight sections and then sync those notes to Evernote or even share them on social media. Additionally, if you prefer to read them on a different device, you can also send them to your Kindle using your Kindle email address — although you’ll need to whitelist Blinkist in order for this to work. Elsewhere, the other main way of consuming Blinks is via audio. If you’ve ever listened to an audiobook before, then that’s essentially what this experience is like.
Speaking of audio, Blinkist also has what they call Shortcasts available for members to listen to. True to Blinkist’s M.O., these short podcasts are around 10 minutes in length. One of the Shortcast selections that caught my eye is So Money with Farnoosh Torabi, which currently has 12 episodes available on Blinkist. While a normal episode of So Money (of which there are more than 1,000) runs between 30 and 45 minutes, these Blinkist versions are between 4 and 10 minutes each.
Going back to Blinks, another smart way to find and consume them is via Collections and Learning Paths. You can think of these as playlists based around certain topics or, in the case of Paths, an outline for bettering yourself over the course of a few days. To me, both of these are great places to start if you’re just exploring Blinkist for the first time.
Buying audiobooks (and how it compares to Audible)
Beyond the Blinks that are included with your membership, Blinkist also offers full-length audiobooks that you can purchase. Additionally, as a Premium member, you’ll also get a discounted price on said audiobooks. In some cases, these discounts amounted to a few dollars while, in other cases, they were half off or more — with the average price seemingly landing around $14.99.
I don’t know about you but, when I think audiobooks, I think Audible. Thus, I decided to compare a couple of titles available for purchase on Blinkist to those on Audible. What I found was actually pretty interesting. In the case of Ron Lieber’s The Opposite of Spoiled, Blinkist listed a non-member price of $20.99 and a member price of $14.99 while the same title is currently $23.95 on Audible. Similarly, Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor is also $14.95 for Blinkist members compared to $36.99 for non-members and $42.20 on Audible.
Obviously this is a small sampling so I can’t say that Blinkist is cheaper in every instance, but my findings were fairly surprising to me. Then again, I should mention that Audible has a subscription program of its own where, for $14.99 a month, members can earn one credit to download any audiobook regardless of price. So while Blinkist may be better for one-off downloads if you’re already a member, Audible might have an edge if you prefer to consume a full book each month instead.
My experience with Blinkist
As I noted in my intro, I received my Blinkist trial via American Express. Right after signing up, I came across plenty of Blinks and content to add to my library — which would likely more accurately be called a reading list. And while most of this list is dedicated to matters of money given my profession, a few random other selections have made their way to my library as well.
When it comes to consumption, I definitely prefer the audio option that Blinkist offers. It’s not that I’m against reading… but, if I’m going to do it, I’d much rather read a physical book. Meanwhile, I’ve found listening to Blinks to be a great activity in between podcasts. It’s almost like Blinkist is an audio-only, non-fiction version of Quibi (RIP), but in a good way.
Personally, I’ve found that I enjoy using the Blinkist app over the desktop site for one major reason: the ability to adjust playback speed on audio blinks. It’s not as though I’m in such a rush that really need that extra couple of minutes saved but honestly have just grown so accustomed to listening to audiobooks at an enhanced speed that it sounds normal to me now. Thus, I do wish that this simple function was also featured on the desktop site — but at least it exists somewhere.
In terms of the amount of content, while there’s plenty to explore across the numerous topics that interest me, I wouldn’t say the breadth of some of those categories is very large. Still, for each of the five subcategories within Money & Investing, there were between eight and 18 Blinks to be found. I was also pleased to see Blink treatments of books I’ve previously really enjoyed, including Rutger Bregman’s Utopia for Realists.
Personally, while I did find and earmark several Blinks to check out, I never got into the habit of using Blinkist regularly. Instead, I found myself checking out Audible to discover new content and downloading full audiobooks that way. This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy my time with Blinkist, but I guess I just didn’t get as much from it as I think some others will.
Final Thoughts on Blinkist
Despite only using Blinkist a few times during my trial, I have to say that I really enjoyed exploring the platform and its content overall. Not only does it feature snippets from books I’ve personally read and recommend but also includes peeks at those I’ve been meaning to look more into. Plus, with the average length of Blinks amounting to around 15 minutes, there’s really not much of a time investment when it comes to trying out a piece of content.
Speaking of investment, however, the $15.99 a month price tag seems a bit high — especially given the aforementioned comparison to Audible’s $14.95 a month plan. The $99 annual option seems like the better pick to me, although I’d make use of that 7-day free trial before deciding if it’s right for you. Again, though, I’d also advise potential buyers to keep an eye out for promotions and special offers that could save them a significant amount of money during their first year.
The only big question I had regarding Blinkist now was how often new content comes to the platform. However, clues found within the “Latest Blinks” section would suggest that additions are fairly regular and relevant. Sure enough, every time I would check up on the platform, I’d see several new additions.
With that, whether you’re in search of some daily inspiration, hoping to sample some top business and money tips, or are just a curious person always ready to learn more, I could easily see Blinkist becoming your new best friend. Alternatively, it could make for a good gift as many of us are turning to digital options this year. If nothing else, I’d say it’s worth giving Blinkist a shot and seeing if this unique learning platform is right for you.
Also published on Medium.