Today, we’re diving into the world of book summary apps, particularly focusing on Shortform, to see if it’s an investment worth making.

In a world where ads for 30-day reading challenges flood our Instagram feeds and an endless stream of look-alike apps vie for our attention, choosing the right platform can feel daunting.

This article brings it all together, offering an in-depth review of Shortform, and whether it might be the best book summary app for you.

If you decide to use Shortform, I’d love your support by using my affiliate link here 🙏 Plus you get a free trial from them too!

The Dilemma with Traditional Reading

Before we delve into the world of book summary apps, let’s identify three key problems with traditional reading:

  1. Reading is time-consuming: The average person spends about five and a half hours to read 200 pages. The issue is not just about time but also the ineffective reading habits many of us employ. The intelligent reader engages with the book, contemplating the author’s distilled wisdom, and critically examining its relevance to their life.
  2. Overabundance of books: With over 2,700 books published daily in the U.S. alone, it’s impossible to read everything. Reading not only requires a monetary investment but also our time and energy. Moreover, we often waste time reading books that don’t resonate with our life situations or provide a worthwhile payoff.
  3. Forgetfulness: Studies suggest we only remember 20% of what we read. We fail to retain the information needed to apply to our lives, which is the ultimate goal of reading.

To overcome these issues, readers often resort to note-taking, writing summaries, or even re-reading books, but these aren’t sustainable solutions. That’s where book summary apps come in.

Unraveling Book Summary Apps

Book summary apps, such as Shortform or Blinkist, aim to make the reading process more efficient. They don’t seek to replace books but rather to revolutionize the way we read. These apps help us absorb key ideas, decide whether a book is worth reading, and ultimately enhance our reading experience.

When comparing various book summary apps, there are five key factors to consider:

  1. Book selection: Some apps specialize in different niches or subject matters.
  2. Quality or depth of reviews: Apps offer varying degrees of detail in their summaries.
  3. Format of the reviews: Most apps are mobile-friendly, but some also offer PDF, audio summaries, and in-depth chapter reviews.
  4. Highlighting and API integrations with Readwise: This feature allows you to connect your notes to your preferred knowledge base, like Notion, Obsidian, or Rome.
  5. Cost: Most companies offer monthly subscriptions, with a few providing lifetime deals.

After hours of research and comparison, Shortform emerged as the best fit for me, given its detailed summaries, quality of information, and integration with Readwise.

Pros and Cons of Shortform


  • High-quality reviews: Shortform offers a detailed breakdown of each chapter, side notes referencing similar works, and a one-page review option.
  • Reduced reading anxiety: With comprehensive summaries, Shortform eliminates the need for extensive note-taking.
  • Improved information retention: The app includes audio versions of reviews and allows for easy highlighting of key points.
  • Better life integration: Each PDF summary ends with reflective questions, encouraging you to integrate the book’s ideas into your life.
  • Optimized reading time: Shortform helps you decide which books are worth investing your time into.
  • Integration with Readwise: This feature lets you build your knowledge base by connecting your notes and highlights to your preferred platform.


  • Limited PDF Downloads: Shortform restricts users to a maximum of three PDF downloads per week. This may not impact all users, but for voracious readers who prefer to print out their summaries, this can be a slight inconvenience.
  • Book Selection: Compared to other apps like Blinkist, Shortform’s library might seem limited. This could be due to the platform’s focus on providing in-depth analysis rather than one-page blinks, which restricts the number of books they can cover.
  • Pay-to-Play Model: Shortform operates on a subscription basis, unlike some platforms that offer free reviews. Although the quality of Shortform’s summaries justifies the cost, this pricing model might not appeal to everyone.

Despite these drawbacks, Shortform holds significant advantages, particularly for content creators, Notion enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and lifelong learners. Its detailed summaries, thoughtful question prompts, and integration with Readwise make it a valuable tool for knowledge integration and content creation.


Even with the aforementioned cons, I’ve found Shortform to be a valuable addition to my reading habits. It has not replaced my physical books entirely but has indeed altered my reading approach and retention rate. I now read not for the sake of vanity but to integrate valuable ideas into my daily life, especially beneficial for my business.

If you’re a casual reader who enjoys revisiting books and doesn’t crave condensed insights, Shortform might not be for you. However, it can be an invaluable tool for certain groups of individuals, and here’s who I’d recommend it for:

Content Creators: Shortform proves to be an essential tool if you’re in the education space. It not only helps generate fresh content ideas but also allows you to give credit to original authors. The book guides serve as handy reminders of key insights, expanding your content creation horizons.

Notion Enthusiasts: If you’re someone who enjoys organizing your knowledge or building a ‘second brain’, Shortform’s integration with Readwise will delight you. You can save your highlights and notes, integrating them into your preferred database.

Entrepreneurs: For busy entrepreneurs like Naval Ravikant, who are known for sharing bite-sized ideas on Twitter, Shortform acts as a filter, helping to identify books that are worth their time.

Lifelong Learners: If you value education and learning, Shortform is indeed worth considering. It encourages more reading and knowledge implementation, which, like investing, can pay off in the long run.

If you decide to use Shortform, I’d love your support by using my affiliate link here 🙏 You’ll get a free trial and plus it helps me create more zero-cost educational content and reviews for you..

If you like this, you should check out Readwise review.

Stay compassionate, stay authentic, and stay rebellious. Peace.