A collage of book summary titles

Recommended Reads, Trends

The best book summaries to help you read more, save time & get smarter


Sep 05, 2023

When I was in high school, the internet was still in its infancy. There was no powerful, all-knowing search engine (though Ask Jeeves was pretty revolutionary for its time!). Instead, we relied on things like CliffsNotes for cheating on our homework. Just kidding about the cheating part—though it’s a topic that’s often been debated. CliffsNotes were never able to substitute for reading assigned literature, nor was that their intent. But the little yellow-and-black-striped books did come in handy for a refresher on earlier chapters before a quiz, or to help to clear the cobwebs when a section was above my comprehension level.

Today, many book summary websites offer paid subscriptions for key insights into books you may want to read. For a free alternative, the Libby app from your library provides summarized analysis of classics, popular fiction and nonfiction books from publishers like Worth Books, Bright Summaries and the In a Nutshell series.

If you love the nitty gritty details, book summaries may not be for you. But for others who might appreciate a condensed yet comprehensive version, they may serve as a good supplement to your usual reading routine. Here’s a few ideas on how book summaries might improve your reading life:

Get the main points in minutes instead of hours

Keep up with conversations by growing your working knowledge of tons of books in a short amount of time. Book summaries feed you the main points of a book, but leave out the accompanying stories. If you’re not into all of the details, but like to understand the “meat and potatoes” of a title, book summaries make it possible.

Discover a book you love

For even the most avid readers, life can sometimes get in the way. Time is a premium these days, and you don’t want to waste it reading the first few chapters of a book only to find it’s not your cup of tea. Browsing through the book summary can help you sample some of the main ideas to decide if you want to commit your valuable time to the whole book.

Make down time more meaningful

Instead of spending passive time scrolling through social media, use those 10 or 15 minutes waiting for the bus or at the doctor’s office to pick up a book summary and exercise those brain cells. Those minutes add up and imagine how many books you could get through in a year!

Here’s a sample of some of the books you might find that can enhance your reading:

Worth Books summaries

Browse more from Worth Books

Bright Summaries

Browse more from Bright Summaries

In a Nutshell

Browse more from In a Nutshell

*Title availability may vary by region.

Download the Libby app to start exploring.


About the Author

Annie Suhy has been working in the book industry since 2006. When she’s not working, practicing yoga, or petting cats, she’s doing paint-by-numbers and buying more plants. An avid poetry fan, her favorite collection is "The Splinter Factory" by Jeffrey McDaniel.


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