Are books more important than experience?

Blinkist in the test: The textbook summaries are good for that

editorial staff

Read through a thick textbook in just under 15 minutes and understand everything? This is what the Blinkist online library promises. The start-up has already published more than 2,000 crisp summaries of specialist books from a wide variety of categories. We explain the different functions and have extensively tested Blinkist.

Blinkist conveys the essence of books in 15 minutes

Topics at Blinkist

Text summaries were always an uncomfortable task at school and cost time, especially when dealing with complex topics. Blinkist would have been our savior in times of need: The online platform, headquartered in Berlin, publishes summaries of specialist books on its website and via its app, which should only take around 15 minutes to read, so-called "Blinks".

The user can choose from 19 different categories, including "Biography" & History "," Productivity & Time Management "," Personal Development "," Popular Sciences "and" Health & Fitness ". The app then makes suggestions for the various subject areas Books that could be interesting, but with the help of a search bar, the user can easily search for them himself.

The selected books are stored in the library so that you can find them more quickly later. If the user does not find what they are looking for a certain title, Blinkist offers to add the book to a "wishlist".

Blinkist costs: an overview of the account models

Blinkist tariff models

Blinkist offers two different accounts and a free test account. The test account is active for at least 7 days and allows free access to all available titles. After the 7 days have elapsed, the test account will automatically switch to a "Free" account. There, the user is provided with a previously selected title under "Your blink of the day", which changes daily. There is also an audio version of each book, which can also be tested in the test version. All audio books are spoken by professionals, so the user is spared an annoying computer voice and the audio flashing can be played while driving or at home on the sofa thanks to the pleasant accentuation. Under the tab "Discover" there are short descriptions of the books as well as a short section "Who should read these blinks" and "Who wrote the book".

One of the chargeable accounts is the "Plus" account for 49.99 euros per year. The account allows access to all existing and new titles and a selected audio version per day. The user can also mark important lines of text, as well as offline access his library. If you don't like the offer, you can still claim your money back for 30 days and use it to end your subscription.

For 79.99 euros a year there is the "Premium" account, which allows unlimited access to audio files and links marked areas with Evernote. For the money that a premium account costs, you can buy around eight pocket books in the Buy a year. That's a lot less than you can read on Blinkist in a year. But is it worth it?

Blinkist being tested

App view of a blink

To get a first impression of Blinkist, there is a 7-day test version that offers a free choice of topics and blinks. Registration is quick and easy. Immediately after entering the e-mail address, I will be redirected to the page with the 19 different subject areas without any further detours. First of all I choose three of them. I choose "Personal Development", "Productivity & Time Management" and "Biography & History". Then I can save as many titles as I want in my library.

I choose the book "The Neanderthals and Us" by Svante Paböö. The first page tells me what is in it for me: "Get to know your oldest relatives". This is followed by a brief explanation for the purpose of the book: prehistoric knowledge about humanity with the help of DNA. This is followed by a few bullet points that advertise entertaining facts with content such as "Why scientists used to lick sloth bones". I'm quite hooked and jump to the next page. This is followed by all the findings on DNA from the last 40 years, on which the author and co-founder of the Max Planck Institute Svante Paböö was involved. The otherwise 384-page book is summarized on a total of only eleven pages, and I have at least the feeling that I have read all the important information do not need a lot of prior knowledge of DNA or evolution to understand the content.

My feeling after a "blink"

Player for audio blinks

A slightly more unsatisfactory feeling remains: is it not possible that something has been forgotten? Perhaps an important aspect has been misunderstood? I still feel the need to read the book completely. But this is probably also due to the fact that it is not just some copied adviser. "The Neanderthals and Us" comprises the researcher's own results and I would like to know how he describes in his own words the very important scientific findings about our former relatives.

However, Blinkist is well suited to read through a few titles on a specific topic. The summaries are ideal for a term paper or bachelor thesis and make it clear to the reader directly and without detours whether the book is suitable or whether a purchase is not even worthwhile. Basic knowledge on certain topics can also be acquired quickly with Blinkist and the user can click through ten or more specialist books in just a few hours.

In terms of design, both the web view and the app are very clear. In the blinks themselves, the font size can be adjusted as required. You can switch from the written version to the audio version with one click. The player has the title picture of the blink and is convincing with its clear layout. Blinkist is simple and easy to use through and through. However, the "Discover" page of the app is a bit too crowded in my opinion. The navigation allows scrolling from top to bottom as well as from left to right in order to get as many titles as possible on one page. You can quickly lose your bearings with a slightly smaller display.

Blinkist test: my conclusion

Johanna Wendel

Blinkist has many useful areas of application. This means that you can easily read a blink on the way to work or, in the "Premium" version, hear it too. Anyone who lets this become a routine has provided something to talk about for future party visits. In addition, Blinkist summarizes endlessly long guides, which can usually be broken down to a few key statements anyway. If you are looking for a housework topic and it is still difficult to see through a topic, you can acquire more knowledge in a much shorter time.

But if you really want to read or listen to a book, you are naturally not at the right place with Blinkist. No fancy formulations, no personal note from the author, you have to do without. That is why the start-up from Berlin stays away from novels, because the pure plot usually makes a novel not worth reading. Apart from that, Blinkist definitely has a considerable utility value and is well on its way to becoming a real "essential".

Alternatives to Blinkist are few and far between, especially since the longstanding British competitor Joosr ceased operations and getAbstract specialized in corporate customers (individual prices from 30 euros per month). If you broaden your search, you will come across less radically abridged books Audiobook flat rates like Nextory and of course the Amazon subsidiary Audible. In addition to fictional audiobooks, all these providers also offer several thousand non-fiction books and guides, and all of these providers can be used for several weeks try it for free. Those who prefer reading will find at eBook flat rates such as Skoobe and Kindle Unlimited educational reading of various lengths, where the knowledge conveyed is correspondingly more or less compressed.

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