Are you in the market for free book summaries?
Or maybe you’re willing to pay a few bucks a month to access high-level synopses and study guides?
Well, you’ve landed in the right place because today, we’re exploring 13 of the best book summary platforms.
- What Are Book Summary Sites?
- Why Would You Use Sites that Summarize Books?
- 13 Excellent Book Summary Websites
- More Questions about Summary Websites for Books
What Are Book Summary Sites?
Book summary websites provide synopses of various types of publications. They may focus on:
- Nonfiction titles
- Fiction titles
- Papers and dissertations
- Popular theories
- Combination of several
Why Would You Use Sites that Summarize Books?
People may think: Book summary sites are cheating! But we beg to differ.
Sure, reading an entire tome and then contemplating it in detail will always be the best way to absorb the minutia and intricacies of a given tome.
However, there aren’t enough hours in a lifetime to read every book worthy of a glance.
That’s where book summary websites swoop in and save the day. Millions of people use them to:
- Sample New Titles: Many folks use summary sites to wrap their head around the gist of a work. If the summary is engaging, many people will opt to read the entire book. In other words, people use summaries as samples.
- Save Time: Life is hectic. Time is precious. Being able to absorb the major theme of a book in 10 to 20 minutes can be a godsend if your life is jam-packed already.
- Brush Up: Book summary websites are also handy when you want to brush up on a book you’ve already read.
- Develop a Habit: Are you trying to develop a reading habit? Starting with summary sites is a smart way to start, as the sense of accomplishment you’ll enjoy from “finishing a book” will motivate you to stick with your reading routine.
- Research Topics: Do you need to research a topic quickly? If so, book summary websites are an excellent resource.
13 Excellent Book Summary Websites
What’s the best book summary site? The answer depends on your goals in using one. As such, we’ve compiled a list that has a little something for everyone.
Blinkist may be the most popular book summary website and app on the market right now. As of this writing, it’s also the least expensive paid option for high-quality summaries.
Blinkist employs real people who read the original books and write the summaries, unlike some services which use AI bots.
Each summary takes between 10 and 25 minutes to absorb, and most titles have text and audio files, so you can either read or listen.
Currently, Blinkist only summarizes non-fiction titles.
Price: Blinkist Premium Costs Between $60 and $100 a year / Blinkist Daily Is Free
2. Book Summary Club
A gentleman in Sweden named Erik is behind The Book Summary Club, a bare-bones, English-language synopsis site for nonfiction books.
Erik summarizes three big points from the book, gives his opinion, and then offers ideas for practical implementation.
So far, the Book Summary Club features 140 books, and more are added intermittently. Erik also maintains a mailing list for people who want to be updated when a new summary launches.
3. Nat Eliason
Nat Eliason is a writer who shares his book notes. He summarizes and comments on fiction, nonfiction, speeches, and articles and then gives each a rating between 1 and 10.
Nat is opinionated, and he shares his thoughts freely. Where does he stand? We’ll put it this way: He loved “Infinite Jest” and couldn’t stand Jen Sincero’s “You Are a Badass.”
4. Heroic by Optimize
Heroic by Optimize — which promises to help you become “the best version of yourself in just three minutes a day” — is much more than a book summary site. (Although, it has those too.)
The platform currently has 600 book summaries, and it adds more monthly. Each title has a text, audio, and video synopsis.
Additionally, Heroic by Optimize offers free classes and micro lessons on everything from self-development to cookery to meditation.
Price: Free and Paid Upgrades
5. Four Minute Books
Founded by Niklas Goke, Four Minute Books focuses on nonfiction books.
Like Erik from Book Summary Club, Niklas summarizes three big lessons from the book, gives his opinion, and suggests who the book may be suitable for.
Niklas often summarizes summaries. For example, he may read a Blinkist summary and write a synopsis of that. His goal is to distill books down to four minutes.
At the time of this writing, Four Minute Books features over a thousand books, and he adds more monthly.
Sumizeit wants you to “become smarter in just 10 minutes.”
Marketed as the “Spark Notes for adults,” Sumizeit runs a beautiful, user-friendly site with lots of helpful bells and whistles. Their library is extensive, and it adds new content weekly.
Summaries take about 10 minutes to absorb, and you can choose audio, text, or video.
Popular collections on the platform include science, relationships, parenting, philosophy, and self-development.
Price: Three-Book Free Trial / $4.17 a Month (If Paid All at Once) / $5 a Month
Like the rest of the entries on our book summary website list, 12min.com is a micro book library.
As its name suggests, the platform’s summaries take about 12 minutes to absorb.
What separates 12min.com from other options is that it’s geared toward mobile use. You can access it on your PC or tablet, but it’s optimized for your phone.
Price: $399 for Lifetime Access / $69 a year
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ReadinGraphics takes a slightly different approach than other book synopsis websites by offering one-page infographic summaries. Each title has a 10- to 15-page text summary and 20-minute audio.
The platform has hundreds of titles and adds more monthly.
Price: $19.97 a Month / $170 Yearly Premium Access / $1,000 for 10-Year Premium Access
Instaread — whose tagline is “Get Smarter in Minutes” — is your classic book summary website with text and audio summaries.
They cover nonfiction and fiction, plus they have a line of originals. Each summary takes about 15 minutes to read or listen to.
Another thing we love about Instaread is that they hire graphic designers to make paintings of all the covers.
Price: 7-Day Free Trial / $7.99 per month
10. Thug Notes (By Wisecrack)
Jared Bauer and Greg Edwards (with the support of Wisecrack) are the brains behind “Thug Notes: A Streetsmart Guide to Classic Literature.”
The video book summary platform tackles over 100 classic literature and pop fiction titles. Hosted by Sparky Sweets, Ph.D. uses African-American Vernacular English to break down books like “King Lear,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and “Things Fall Apart.” (They even do “50 Shade of Gray.”)
In developing the project, the team’s goal was to “take the ivory tower out of literature.”
Edwards once explained the team’s approach thusly: “The gift of literature is universal in meaning and should be made accessible to everyone on every plane.
So, ‘Thug Notes’ is my way of […] showing that even high-brow academic concepts can be communicated in a clear and open fashion.”
We give Thug Notes a PG-13 rating for occasionally saucy language.
11. Animated Book Summaries
Animated Book Summaries is another YouTube-based synopsis site that lets you sit back and watch videos about popular titles. No reading is required.
The channel’s tagline is “summaries, examples, definition and meaning in a nutshell,” and they primarily cover finance-related material and personal development tomes like Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance.”
GetAbstract has been in the book summary game for over 20 years. Used by international corporations like Microsoft, Visa, and Unilever, the platform boasts over 25,000 summaries.
The website provides synopses for books, podcasts, speeches, and more. Conveniently, you can read via the app or send titles directly to your Kindle. Most of the summaries run about 15 minutes, and there are dozens of curated categories from which to choose.
Price: Free Trial / $29.90 Monthly / $299 a Year
Looking for someone to read it for you? Well, ReadItFor.Me may be the answer to your prayers. Called the “Cliff’s Notes for Business Books,” most of the platform’s library consists of leadership development summaries.
It also bears the distinction of being the “#1 Book Summary Service for Executives and Entrepreneurs.” So, you’ll be in impressive company with a ReadItFor.Me subscription.
Price: $29 Monthly / $299 Yearly / $499 Lifetime
More Questions about Summary Websites for Books
We’ve looked at several summary websites for books. Now, let’s wrap things up with three frequently asked questions about synopsis platforms.
What is the best free book summary website?
The best free book summary website will depend on your taste, preferences, goals, and budget. If you want a paid, highly professional, full-service option, then Get Abstract or Blinkist may be best.
If you prefer “homegrown” websites run by an individual, Four Minute Books or the Book Summary Club may be more up your alley.
Which app is best for book summaries?
Again, it’s difficult for us to declare one book summary site as “the best” because everyone’s needs and wants are different. We give a thumbs up to every site that made our
Where can you find book summaries by chapter?
What replaced Cliff Notes?
Back in the day, Cliff’s Notes was the main book summary option on the market. Cliff was the saving grace of everyone aged 12 and 95 navigating their way through school.
In the last 25 years, however, the market has expanded. Today’s students can pick from dozens of book summary services, the most popular being Course Hero, LitCharts, and GradeSaver.
So, get out there and get reading! There’s never been a better time to become a bookworm! After all, it only takes a fraction of the time.