Shortform vs Blinkist vs Headway: Which is more value for money?

Ever feel like there are too many books and too little time? You’re not alone. Luckily, there’s a solution.

You can use these platform for reading book summaries: Shortform, Blinkist, and Headway. These platforms shrink big books into bite-sized summaries.

But here’s the catch – they are not all the same. Each has its own style of making a big book small. As we take a closer look, we’ll find out which one might just become your go-to for quick insights.

So, in this blog, we are going to compare these three platforms and at the end, I will tell you which one is best for you for reading book summaries.


Subscription Library1500+ Book Guides, 500+ Articles and Topic Guides. Over 6500 book summaries.1,500+ (non-fiction books)
Trial5-day trial.7-day trial.7-day trial.
Free PlanOne free daily pick, and access to selected collection. One free summary a day and 10 daily insights. One free summary a day and 10 daily insights
Premium Plan1. Unlimited access to the entire library.
2. Exclusive expert guides, collections, and Shortcasts.
3. Download titles for offline access.
4. Send reads to Kindle
5. 2 for 1, share premium account for free
1. Unlimited access to 1,000+ book guides.
2. Download titles for offline access.
3. Printable PDF downloads.
4. Share key points with friends
1. Unlimited access to 1,500+ summaries.
2. Visual explainers, challenges and collections.
3. Download titles for offline access.
PricingAnnual plan: $197.00 per year, Monthly plan: $24.00Annual plan: $99.99 per year, Monthly plan: $15.99Annual plan: $89.99 per year, Monthly plan: $14.99.
Features1. AI-Based Summaries.
2. Multilingual Summaries
3. Sentence-by-sentence breakdown of the book.
4. Offers audio versions of summaries.
5. Allows users to download summaries in PDF format.
1. 15-Minute Summaries.
2. Wide range books.
3. Offers full versions of popular books in audiobook format.
4. Utilizes AI technology to generate concise summaries of books.
5. Updates existing summaries regularly to keep the content fresh and relevant.
1. Personalized book summary suggestions.
2. Organized into 16 niches.
3. Memorization technique using flashcards for retaining key insights.
4. Engage in 28-day or 15-day challenges for self-growth or improving relationships.
5. Download summaries for offline reading or listening.
Audio SummaryYesYesYes
Text SummaryYesYesYes
ProsAI-based summaries, Summarizes books in multiple languages.Vast library, Good quality summaries, User-friendly. Limited fiction book selection, Short summaries may not cover all aspects of a book.
ConsNot specifiedVast library of non-fiction books, User-friendly interface, Option to listen to audio versions of summaries.Diverse book selection, Extremely short summaries, Offers immersive courses, Active community.
Refund PolicyN/A14 Day money back gauranteeN/A
RatingsApp Store 4.8 (108.8K reviews).
Google Play 4.5 (100K reviews)
App Store 4.5 (516K reviews).
Google Play 4 (600K reviews)
App Store 4.3 (53K reviews). Google Play 4.7 (76.9K reviews)


Shortform, Blinkist, and Headway are platforms designed to offer concise summaries of books, catering to those seeking to gain knowledge without the long reading hours. Here’s a breakdown of these three platforms:

  1. Shortform:
    • Shortform provides in-depth guides to over 1,000 non-fiction books, focusing on delivering detailed summaries that encompass the book’s core ideas and author’s insights. The platform emphasizes understanding and applying the book’s content through exercises, making it a unique choice for those seeking a more in-depth understanding of the summarized material​.
  2. Blinkist:
    • Hailing from Germany, Blinkist serves its users with succinct 15-minute summaries of over 6,500 titles, covering a variety of topics including business, psychology, and history. The summaries, known as “Blinks”, are available in both text and audio formats, making it a versatile option for those on the go. Blinkist not only offers book summaries but also shortcasts, which are brief takeaways from podcasts, all aimed at delivering key insights in a short span of time​.
  3. Headway:
    • With a focus on self-improvement, Headway offers summaries of over 1,500 titles that are about 15 minutes long. The platform aims to provide a fun and easy way to grow through the key ideas and insights from non-fiction bestsellers. It offers a blend of reading and listening experiences, making learning flexible and enjoyable. Headway stands out for its emphasis on personal growth and self-development, making it a go-to for individuals keen on improving particular areas of their lives.

Each of these platforms brings a unique flavor to the table; while Shortform dives deeper into the content, Blinkist provides a quick, clear summary, and Headway emphasizes self-improvement. Your choice would depend on your personal preferences, whether it’s depth, brevity, or personal growth that you’re after.

Pricing: shortform vs blinkist vs headway

The pricing for Shortform, Blinkist, and Headway varies, and they each have different plans to cater to the users’ needs. Here’s a breakdown of their pricing as of 2023:

  1. Shortform:
    • Monthly Subscription: $24.00 if billed monthly, or around $16.42 if billed annually​​.
    • In the UK, the pricing is £21.49 per month or £174.99 annually.
  2. Blinkist:
    • Monthly Subscription: $15.99 if billed monthly, or around $89.99 a year if billed annually, showing some variability across different sources​​.
  3. Headway:
    • Monthly Subscription: Offer $14.99 or $19.99 if billed monthly​​.
    • Annual Subscription: $69 a year​​.

The pricing structures reflect the different focuses and features of each platform. Shortform seems to be on the higher end of the price spectrum, particularly with its monthly plan, while Blinkist offers a more budget-friendly option, especially with its annual plan.

Headway falls somewhere in between but leans towards being more affordable with its annual plan.

Each platform also offers free trials or versions, allowing users to test their services before committing to a subscription.

This way, you can get a feel of the platform’s offerings and decide which service aligns with your reading and learning preferences within the budget.

Pros and Cons: shortform vs blinkist vs headway

1. shortform


  1. Detailed Summaries: Shortform is known for providing in-depth summaries and guides to a wide range of non-fiction books, which might be beneficial for users who prefer a thorough understanding of the book’s content​.
  2. Analysis and Comparison: The platform also provides analyses comparing ideas from one book to others, which could provide a broader perspective and deeper understanding​​.
  3. Interactive Learning: Exercises and interactive learning methods are a part of Shortform’s approach, which can help in understanding and applying the book’s content​.
  4. Community Discussions: The platform has community discussions which can be a great way for you to engage with other readers and discuss the ideas presented in the books​.


  1. Cost: Shortform is relatively expensive compared to other book summary platforms, which could be a deterrent for some users.
  2. Learning Curve: Given the in-depth nature of the summaries, there might be a steeper learning curve for users who are new to the topics covered.
  3. Time Investment: Although it provides summaries, the level of detail might require a larger time investment compared to other platforms that offer more succinct summaries.

2. blinkist


  1. Extensive Library:
  • Blinkist boasts a wide range of summaries with over 7,000 titles according to one source, covering a variety of topics which could provide a broad spectrum of knowledge.
  • It has over 3,000 non-fiction titles across 27 categories, helping users consume more non-fiction titles in less time.
  1. Cost-Efficiency: It’s noted for offering significant value for the money, being described as the cheapest book summary service in absolute terms, with more content than most free summary sites and being cheaper than all other paid services.
  1. Quality Summaries: The summaries are reportedly well-written, and the audio recordings are very professional, aiding in a good user experience.
  1. User-Friendly Interface: The app is praised for its well-structured design which enhances the user experience.
  1. Learning Efficiency: Blinkist helps in reading books faster and in “letting learning into your life” by summarizing the key points of books, making it easier for individuals to consume more knowledge in less time.


  1. Limited Library Compared to Full Books: Despite its extensive summary library, the service might feel limited to those who are looking for in-depth information on specific topics.
  1. Cost: Some reviews mention that the service can be quite expensive, especially when compared to the amount of content available in full books.
  1. Simplistic Tone: The tone of the writing in summaries can be overly simplistic, which might not appeal to everyone, especially those looking for a more detailed or nuanced understanding of the topics.
  1. Lack of Deep Understanding: Due to the nature of summaries, users may not get a deep understanding or the full context that reading a full book would provide.
  1. Variation in Reviews: Reviews on Blinkist have been both positive and negative, indicating that the experience might vary from user to user.

3. headway


  1. 15-minute summaries of non-fiction books: Provides concise summaries that allow you to grasp the core ideas of a book in a short amount of time.
  2. Audio recordings from professionals: Offers audio summaries narrated by professionals, which can be useful for auditory learners or people on-the-go.
  3. Receive listings based on your goals: The app suggests books based on your personal or professional goals.
  4. Tracks progress: Helps in tracking your progress as you go through different book summaries.
  5. Elegant design and user interface: Provides an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly interface.
  6. Receives regular updates: The app is updated regularly to enhance its features and functionalities.


  1. Annual auto-renewal on the trial week without confirmation: The subscription auto-renews annually after the trial week without explicit confirmation from the user.
  2. Requirement to supply payment details upfront: Users need to provide payment details upfront before accessing the trial version.

Features: shortform vs blinkist vs headway

Shortform Features:

1. Discover Tab: This tab is designed to provide recommendations and highlight popular content to users, aiding in the discovery of new insightful materials.

2. Books Tab: The Books Tab is where all the book summaries available on the platform are listed, providing an organized view of the literary content available.

3. Articles Tab: Here, users can find summarized articles across a wide range of topics, making it easier to catch up on informative pieces in a short amount of time.

4. My Library Tab: The My Library Tab allows users to save and organize their favorite summaries, creating a personalized library of content for quick access in the future.

5. Search Tab: This feature enables users to search for specific books or topics across the platform, aiding in quickly finding the desired content.

blinkist Features:

1. 15-Minute Summaries: Blinkist provides concise 15-minute summaries of books, giving readers a complete overview of the featured books, which can be either read or listened to.

2. Content Selection: Blinkist boasts a vast collection of over 6,500 titles covering a wide range of non-fiction genres, enabling users to delve into topics that pique their interest.

3. Podcast Summaries:Users can also get the main takeaways from podcasts in 15-minute listens with Shortcasts, available all in one app.

4. Autoplay Feature: With a single tap, the Autoplay feature allows users to listen to their whole library while on the go, thus accommodating busy schedules.

5. Discover Feature: The re-architected Discover feature aids users in exploring topics they love or uncovering new interests, improving the personalization of content discovery​.

6. Recommendation System: The platform has an adjusted recommendation system to help users easily find more of what matters to them​.

7. Tagging and Highlighting System: Blinkist has introduced an improved tagging system and the ability to highlight portions of the books-in-blinks that are significant to the user, thereby making it simpler for users to organize and revisit the ideas they’ve learned.

8. Fresh User Interface: A fresh new look with more color, emphasis on photography, and a new primary typeface to enhance user experience.

headway features:

1. Book Summaries: Headway provides book summaries to empower users in various aspects such as work, money, productivity, and family.

2. Content Variety: Headway offers more than 1,200 text and audio book summaries and 12,000+ insights from non-fiction bestsellers on a wide range of topics including productivity.

3. Personalized Approach: The platform collaborates with thousands of mental health professionals to tailor content and recommendations to individual user needs.

4. Category Wise Learning: Users can explore book summaries based on 16 different niches including Productivity, Business & Career, Society and Tech, and Leadership & Negotiation, which help in advancing professional skills.

5. Spaced Repetition: A memorization technique that helps in retaining ideas or insights. The app’s repetition section stores flashcards, helping users to practice this technique cheerfully.

6. Read and Listen Anywhere: Provides limitless access to knowledge in the form of text and audio book summaries, which can be downloaded for offline use, making it convenient for users to learn on the go.

7. Challenges: Contains challenge-based book summaries in the Collections section, enabling users to engage in 28-day or 15-day challenges to pursue self-growth or healthy relationships. It also allows users to challenge friends or colleagues for a competitive learning experience​​.

8. Track Your Progress: Features an elaborate progress tracking section to monitor learning journey data. It showcases two dashboards – the Daily goal and My rating, to adjust learning goals and compare reading and learning performance with the Headway reader’s community.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, Blinkist appears to be the superior choice due to its vast variety of non-fiction titles, regular updates to its summaries, and its reasonable pricing.

Its established presence and comprehensive library provide a rich resource for avid readers. Shortform, with its broader content range, might appeal to a segment seeking news and article summaries in addition to book summaries.

Headway, while being a commendable platform, has some ground to cover to match the variety and consumer-friendly pricing of Blinkist.

Trying out free trials available on these platforms could provide a personal insight into what each has to offer, aligning with individual preferences and reading habits.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *