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So many books, so little time: Blinkist condenses books you want to read into short insights

Rekha Balakrishnan
29th Nov 2018
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Adi Nduka-Agwu, Director - International Growth of Blinkist believes the app is a bridge between those who read and those who struggle to. As the third largest market, India features high in the company’s plans.

There are readers and then there are book collectors. Most readers are guilty of stocking up their bookshelves with more books than they can ever read. But this is not for the lack of wanting to read; people simply do not have enough time to take in all the beautiful, beautiful books out there. But they can rest easy, for sometimes, good things come in small packages.

Blinkist is an app that summarises key ideas from bestselling non-fiction that are distilled by experts into bite-sized text and audio. So if it’s reliable information on cryptocurreny or understanding Psychology 1O1, they have got it all covered. Just subscribe to Blinkist, and read or listen away.

Books and more with Blinkist

Adi Nduka-Agwu, Director - International Growth - Blinkist

HerStory caught up with Adi Nduka-Agwu, Director - International Growth, Blinkist at the Slush Small Talks held in Hyderabad last week. India is the third largest market for the company after the US and the US and Adi was here to understand how to serve the Indian market better.

Before we got talking about what Blinkist was all about, Adi told us a little about her backstory. She graduated from Cambridge with a degree in Social and Political Science, and from Harvard with a Master’s in Public Policy.

Scaling and growing international brands has always been her forte and she worked in similar roles for brands like Iroko in Nigeria, building its low-budget, DIY, Nollywood-movie streaming business. She says that Nollywood, as the Nigerian movie business is known, is next after Bollywood in terms of popularity. Subsequently, she worked at Europe’s biggest fashion ecommerce player, Zalando, as the business owner responsible for growth of Zalondo’s mobile app.

A German based in Berlin, Adi speaks with passion the change Blinkist seeks to bring in the way people read.

She explains, “We take the greatest non-fiction books and synthesise them into key insights within 15 minutes, which you can either read or listen to. There is so much change happening in the way we perceive things, and in knowledge sharing, that it becomes difficult for some to read continuously and consistently. Blinkist helps you use your commute wisely and efficiently as you listen to great authors and gain new insights and knowledge.”

How to read

Blinkist works on a subscription model where you can opt for a free trial period of seven days, following which you can use a plan according to your needs and interests. Blinkist has over 2,500 non-fiction titles and collaborates directly with authors as well as combs bestseller lists, new releases and recommendations to find the most intriguing books, which expert readers distill into short Blinks, fact-checked and quality assured by Blinkist editors.

Categories include, Entrepreneurship & Small Business, Politics & Society, Marketing & Sales, Science, Health & Fitness, personal Growth & Self-Improvement, Economics, Biography & History, Communication & Social Skills, Corporate Culture, management & Leadership, Motivation & Inspiration, among others.

Excited about India

As Head of International Growth, Adi drives Blinkist’s foray into different international markets and gauges what users in each country are looking for from its platform. “We are super excited about India, and I am in India to understand user needs and how the system works here,” she says.

And India seems to find great value in Blinkist’s offering; India has a little under eight million users: 10 percent of the total Blinkist users globally.

“India is a key growth priority for 2019. Until now we were working with the concept of “one size fits all.” There’s still a lot of potential we need to unlock and additional offers to users that we have to look at. At present, we are focusing only on books in English. But understanding the complexities, we may look at other Indian languages later,” she adds.

Globally, Blinkist’s market has grown manifold. “When we launched the product, it was text-based but we added audio later. More and more people are now listening to podcasts, there is a massive shift happening when the pressure at the workforce is pushing people to stay on top of things when it comes to information. For example, you may have heard of cryptocurrency but want to understand what it’s all about. Would you read around 400 pages on it or would like for it to be condensed and explained it in the way you like? Also, the pressure for people to stay well-rounded and informed is so high that it makes sense to go for a reading app like Blinkist.”

While Blinkist doesn’t sell books on its platform, it definitely encourages users to go ahead and buy once they like what they have read or heard. In this way, they do end up reading more, says Adi. “It is in fact, a bridge between those who read and those who struggle to read.”

Personally, Adi likes “physical books” but does find Blinkist helpful.

“These short insights take me back to good books I read at university or over five years ago. It’s nice to be able to go back. It’s also really helpful for work where you don’t have to go through the hassle of poring over a number of books when you can just listen to what you actually want,” she says.

 

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