by Anthony 

October 19, 2021

Blinkist is a very useful book summary app for busy people. However, Blinkist does not have a free version and, at the time of this writing, requires a subscription of $14.99 per month. Fortunately, there is a similar app that is free.

StoryShots is a free Blinkist alternative that also offers book summaries in text and audio. The free version displays ads, which can be turned off with an upgrade. Many of the book summaries are sourced from external sites and vary in quality and length.

For someone like me, a service like Blinkist is an ideal solution. There are lots of people who say reading a summary can never compare to reading the whole book, and I tend to agree.

However for me, someone who reads slowly and rarely reads a book from cover to cover, getting some value from a summary is far better than not reading the book at all. Or reading the first two chapters before giving up.

And that is why I have previously signed up to Blinkist’s annual plan on two separate occasions. But I only did so because on both occasions Blinkist were offering a hefty discount on their annual plan. And, even with the discount, at the end of each term, I still decided not to renew my subscription.

You see, whilst I like Blinkist, for me, it’s just too expensive for the amount of time that I use it. In my opinion, you’d have to use Blinkist every day to really get value for money. At $99 dollars a year, Blinkist is more expensive than Audible’s base plan and the same cost as Kindle Unlimited.

So is there a cheaper or maybe even free alternative? Yes there is, and it’s called StoryShots.

Storyshots sample title cover

Storyshots is a similar app to Blinkist offering book summaries in text and audio formats. The main difference is that you can access Storyshots’ catalog of summaries for free as long as you are happy to accept the ads.

The ads, however, don’t appear to be too invasive or frequent. Ads appear at the bottom of text summaries and there is a full-page timed ad displayed at the end of each book.  But there didn’t appear to be any ads during any of the audio summaries I listened to. Which I found surprising.

The biggest difference between Blinkist and Storyshots, however, is that while Blinkist creates all their own audio and text summaries, Storyshots source many of their summaries from the internet, often just providing a link to the content.

Take, for example, the summary of the Purple Cow by Seth Godin. I listened to the audio which I thought was very good. However, the text summary, in contrast, is simply lifted from a completely different website – called lifeclub.org.

Storyshots reading and listening options

To this end, I don’t know how many summaries Storyshots actually create themselves, so how can Storyshots guarantee the quality of the summary if they’re not involved in its production.

It’s hard to complain when you’re getting the service for free but by sourcing content from the internet, Storyshots becomes little more than a Google search for book summaries.

The interface is similar to that of Blinkist although less polished and slightly clunky.

When clicking on Read you are essentially taken to a webpage, which can be slow to load, depending on the speed of your internet access.

On an Apple device, you have the option to open the page in Safari which I find works better than using the built-in app. There is a menu across the top of the screen from where you can browse the catalog, access your list of books you’ve tagged as favorites and there’s an option to search.

There is also a left-hand menu where among other things you can see what books have been added to the catalog.

Storyshots menu to see book catalog

There is a premium membership option, which at $19.99 one-time cost is remarkably cheap compared to Blinkist.

If you sign up for the paid version, the premium option allows you to download the audio for offline listening, it removes the ads and enables the ability to take notes. Downloading books to Kindle is apparently in the pipeline.

All in all, if you’re interested in non-fiction self-development type books, for a free app, StoryShots is worth a try.

Storyshots upgrade plan

That being said, it’s a long way from being on par with Blinkist. The problem with Blinkist of course, is the price. If like me, you enjoy book summaries, my recommendation would be to get on Blinkist’s email list and wait for one of their promotions.

Throughout the year, Blinkist will offer hefty discounts on their annual subscription fee often 40% if not 50% off the standard price.

And if you try Blinkist and decide to cancel it later, here is an easy way to cancel your Blinkist subscription.

And that is a brief introduction to StoryShots. Hope this guide was helpful. For more tips like this, please check out my YouTube channel. See you there!

P.S.

Facts of Apps

  • As of this writing, StoryShots can only be installed on the phone, not on the desktop. But the paid version has a simple web app that can be accessed on the computer browser.
  • According to their website, StoryShots adds 1-3 new books each week. However, it currently does not disclose how many titles are in their collection (We tried searching for an hour, but couldn’t find the information). In contrast, Blinkist has over 5,000 titles, with 70 new titles being added each month.
  • The StoryShots app was originally released in December 2018.
  • It currently has an average rating of 4.8 from over 4,300+ reviews in the Google Play Store, and 4.7 from over 6,000+ reviews in the Apple Store.

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