Headway vs Blinkist: An In-Depth Book Summary App Comparison

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Is your ‘to be read’ list growing exponentially from year to year? You are not alone. With life so hectic, most of us find it challenging to dedicate time to reading entire books. Book summary apps like Headway or Blinkist offer a swift and efficient alternative to traditional reading. We compare the unique features, summary quality, and pricing of Headway vs Blinkist to help you choose the best app for your reading needs. 

Bottom Line
Choosing between Blinkist vs Headway depends on individual preferences and priorities. Blinkist offers an extensive library and more detailed summaries rich in real-world examples and explanations. On the other hand, Headway stands out with a visually appealing and gamified approach, a more cost-effective annual plan, and unique features like spaced repetition or personalized challenges. We prefer Blinkist for its extensive library and more comprehensive summaries.

Headway App vs Blinkist: A Brief Comparison

BlinkistHeadway
Number of books6500+1200+
Price$14.99/month or $99.99/year$14.99/month or $89.99/year
Free trial7-day free trial7-day free trial
Free contentYes, but with limited choiceNo
Unique featuresFree Blink of the Day, sharing, podcast summariesGamification, daily challenges, remembering
Audio versionsYesYes
Book summary ratingYesNo
LanguagesEnglish, German, SpanishEnglish, Spanish
Supported devicesSmartphones (iOS and Android), Desktop, KindleSmartphones (iOS and Android), Desktop
Offline useYesYes
SupportEmail, Ticket SystemEmail, chat
Refund policy14-day money-back guaranteeNo

Detailed Comparison: Blinkist vs Headway

Book Collection

Both Headway and Blinkist focus on summarizing non-fiction books. However, the quantity and variety of book selections differ. The book categories also differ. Besides the topics, Headway categorizes the books based on specific goals, which makes it easier for readers to choose the summaries they are interested in.  

Blinkist

Since 2012, Blinkist has accumulated an impressive book summary selection, with over 6,500 titles. There are various categories, such as Personal Development, Career & Success, Psychology, History, Management & Leadership, Motivation & Inspiration, Health & Nutrition, Marketing & Sales, Money & Investment, Technology & the Future, Communication Skills, Nature & the Environment, Economics, Biography & Memoir, Entrepreneurship, etc. 

Headway

Headway’s book summary collection is significantly less than Blinkist’s, with about 1200 titles. However, it offers the latest and the most popular non-fiction books. Book summary categories include Happiness, Business & Career, Money & Investments, Leadership, Spirituality, etc. Additionally, the summaries can be categorized based on the reader’s goals, such as ‘To have a successful career,’ ‘To achieve life balance,’ or ‘To create wealth. ‘

Summary Quality

The quality of summaries is crucial when relying on an app to capture the essence of a book. Both Headway and Blinkist excel in providing detailed yet concise summaries, ensuring users grasp the main ideas without investing extensive time.

Blinkist

Blinkist’s summaries are brief but detailed enough for readers to grasp the essence of a book. Before reading a summary, you can see the estimated reading time, key ideas, a short description, and who it is for. Typically, the reading time ranges between 10 to 30 minutes. Each summary highlights three to seven key ideas from the book. An audio version is available. 

The summary starts with a one-page introduction, revealing the book’s primary value and potential impact on the reader’s life. Then, each key idea is outlined on one page, followed by the most apt quote from the book to support it. The text is rich in real-world examples, which makes it easier for the readers to memorize the key ideas. On the last page, readers get a one-paragraph final summary and ultimate piece of advice. 

Headway

In the Headway app, the summaries are generally shorter than in Blinkist. Typically, it takes up to 15 minutes to read or listen to them. Before diving into the summary, you can see the estimated reading time, key points, and the number of insights. There are also “What’s inside?”, “You will learn”, and “About Author” sections to help you decide.

Headway’s book summaries consist of seven to ten pages. Each page starts with a bold heading and includes different formatting, such as bullet points or numbered lists, to highlight the key points. The insights from the book also have a unique formatting style and buttons to share or remember. The selected quotes from the book are shareable, too. The summaries end with a two-paragraph conclusion and a “Try this” section with several bullet points.  

Features

Blinkist and Headway have carved their niches, each offering unique features catering to diverse reader preferences. Let’s review the standout features that make Blinkist and Headway indispensable tools for those seeking knowledge amid the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Blinkist

  • Free Blink of the Day. Every day, Blinkist offers a new book to read for free. Blinkist curators carefully select the books for this category. You can set up a reminder about daily recommendations. 
  • “For You” Section. Before using the app, Blinkist will ask you several questions to identify your interests and preferences. In this section, you will find a personalized selection of book summaries aligned with your interests and chosen categories.
  • “Collections for You”. Besides book summary categories, Blinkist creates featured collections based on your past preferences. For example, “Go for Goals,” “Brené Brown’s Book Recommendations,” “Top Titles in the US,” etc. 
  • Advanced Search. On Blinkist, you can search for book summaries by title, author, host, or topic.
  • My Library. In this section, you will see saved and sent to Kindle book summaries and downloaded audio files. You can also create your space to share your Blinks for free.  

Headway

  • Gamification. Reading book summaries in Headway, you unlock achievements like ‘Jumpstart’ or ‘Three-pit.’ You can also set your daily reading goal and compare your achievements with other app users. Streak reminders help to create a reading habit. 
  • Spaced repetition. While reading summaries, you can save the insights and words to review and remember them later. Saved items will appear as cards in your library. You can review and mark them as learned or leave them for further repetition. 
  • “For you” section. On this page, you will see your streak, categories you are interested in, daily microlearning sessions, recommended book summaries and collections based on your past choices and specific goals.
  • “Explore” section. Here, you can search book summaries by title, author, or keyword. You can also see the categories, special offers, latest summaries, challenges, and collections. Additionally, there are visual explainers and an intelligence-type test. 
  • Daily microlearning sessions. Every day, you get three-minute bits of knowledge from 10 different books. Microlearning sessions appear as Instagram-like stories with insights you can share or save for further repetition. 
  • Personalized challenges. There are 28-day challenges like “Success,” “Wealth,” and “Joyful Life.” To complete the challenge, you must read or listen to one book summary on the selected topic daily. You will see the skills that you boost and your trophies. 

App Convenience

Blinkist and Headway provide convenience and ease of use to readers navigating book summaries and beyond. While Blinkist is fully functional on mobile and desktop, Headway’s web version has limited capabilities. Additionally, unlike Headway, Blinkist supports Kindle. The preference for either app largely depends on individual tastes in user experience.

Blinkist

Blinkist, renowned for its user-friendly interface, stands out with its seamless accessibility. The app’s intuitive design allows users to browse an extensive book summary library curated for diverse interests effortlessly. Once you open an app, you see a home page where you can easily navigate to personalized recommendations, search, your library, or settings. A convenient categorization streamlines discovering summaries tailored to individual preferences.

Headway

Headway also has an intuitive interface. The app is easy to use, even for non-technical people. On the home page, you will see your current streak, selected book categories, recommended summaries and collections based on your past choices and specific goals, daily microlearning sessions, and personalized challenges. You can easily navigate the search, library, or profile from there. 

Price

The monthly subscriptions for Blinkist and Headway cost the same ($14.99/month). Headway is slightly more affordable ($10) when paid annually than Blinkist. Yet, occasionally, both platforms have limited offers with significant discounts.

Blinkist

Blinkist subscription costs $14.99/month or $99.99/year. Limited offer for an annual subscription with 75% off $22.50/year.

Headway

Headway costs $14.99/month or $89.99/year. A limited-time lifetime deal with 40% off at $59 is available.

Best For

Blinkist and Headway are good book summary apps for readers who have no time to read entire books. Yet, some specific features make each a better fit for certain user categories. 

Blinkist

Blinkist is best for picky readers who value extensive libraries. With over 6500 titles, you will definitely find something to your taste. If you want to explore key ideas from multiple books without reading them in their entirety, Blinkist is a good option. 

Headway

Headway is the best for readers who prefer concise book summaries with highlighted key ideas and insights. If your primary focus revolves around self-improvement and cultivating a habit of reading book summaries with an enjoyable twist, Headway emerges as an ideal companion.

Book Summary Comparison

For this section, we read book summaries of “Atomic Habits” by James Clear in Headway and Blinkist. The summaries differ in their lengths, formats, and writing styles. 

Blinkist

In Blinkist, the estimated reading time for the summary is 25 minutes. You can either read or play it. The summary highlights seven key ideas from the book. It consists of 13 pages, three containing only selected quotes. To turn the page, you need to slide to the left. The first page is an intro explaining the book’s value to the reader – how small habits can impact one’s life. Then, each key idea is described on one page. The last page has a final summary and an actionable piece of advice. 

The summary is written in the first person singular. It creates the feeling as if your friend is telling you about the book they recently read. There are numerous examples used throughout the text to clarify and bolster the main concepts of the book. Every piece of advice has a scientific explanation. The writer also summarizes the stated ideas to ensure better understanding and memorizing. However, it is unclear whether all the examples are from the book. 

Headway

In Headway, the summary for the same book is significantly shorter. The estimated reading time is 15 minutes. There are ten key points and 13 insights. You can either read or listen. There are ten pages in total. To turn the page, click the button at the bottom of the screen. Each page has a bold heading and text with insights and/or quotes from the book. You can share both quotes and insights. Additionally, there is an option to save insights for further repetition. The last page has a two-paragraph conclusion and a piece of actionable advice.

Unlike the text in Blinkist, Headway’s summary is written impersonally. The summary brings up more ideas and insights from the book. However, they are not always supported with real-world examples. Different formatting, like numbered and bullet lists, makes highlighting and differentiating various points easier. The option to remember insights helps to review and memorize the key ideas from the book. Yet, without examples, the ideas are more complicated to comprehend and validate. 

Stacey M.
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