How Does Blinkist Make Money? The Blinkist Business Model In A Nutshell

  • Blinkist is a German book summary subscription service founded by Holger Seim, Niklas Jansen, Sebastian Klein, and Tobias Balling in 2012. The co-founders were inspired to create the platform to help full-time workers better utilize their free time.
  • Blinkist operates under a freemium business model, with users able to access one book summary per day. For paid users who want access to the full library, there are various individual and enterprise-level subscription plans available.
  • Blinkist also collects an affiliate commission when a consumer purchases the full version of a book on Amazon.

Origin story

Blinkist is a German subscription service founded by Holger Seim, Niklas Jansen, Sebastian Klein, and Tobias Balling in 2012. The platform summarises over 3,000 best-selling non-fiction books, with each summary taking approximately fifteen minutes to read,

The idea for Blinkist came after the co-founders joined the workforce and wanted a way to read and learn despite enjoying less free time. They realized that most people experienced the same problem and those who did find the time to read were constantly distracted by their devices. 

Seeking to help readers make better use of their time, the co-founders started compiling the key insights from a variety of popular non-fiction books. To increase the likelihood that even the busiest reader would remain engaged, it was important that each insight could be read within fifteen minutes. Each fifteen-minute summary they called a Blink.

In the beginning, Blinkist garnered little investor interest and was repeatedly refused funding. But Seim, Jansen, Klein, and Balling then quit their full-time jobs to work on the app full time in any case. Once Blinkist was launched, it took three months to reach just 100 downloads. The user base experienced more rapid growth after American VC firm Insight Partners took notice of Blinkist and contributed $35 million

Growth was further enabled by the recruitment of a robust tech team, with the company securing former SoundCloud, Twitter, and Google staff. Blinkist also hired an army of writers and experts to read the books and create Blinks that were memorable, concise, and easy to understand.

Today, Blinkist has over 20 million users with access to over 5,000 non-fiction books from the realms of philosophy, history, politics, productivity, mindfulness, personal development, corporate culture, entrepreneurship, and creativity.

Blinkist revenue generation

Blinkist operates on the freemium business model with both a free and paid offering. 

Free users receive access to one book per day that the Blinkist team selects. For unlimited access to every book hosted on the platform, there are various subscriptions available for individuals and businesses.

Blinkist Premium

Blinkist Premium gives users unlimited access to all audio and text Blinks on the website and in the app. They also receive a discount on audiobook purchases.

There are two options here:

  1. Premium Yearly ($9.99/month, or $119.99 paid annually) – note that there is a free 7-day trial here with access to the full Blinkist library. 
  2. Premium Monthly ($19.99/month) – with the monthly plan, there is no free trial and the subscription is twice the price of the yearly commitment.

Blinkist Business

Blinkist Business is a product helping businesses cultivate curiosity and innovation within their teams. There are also two subscription options available for businesses, including:

  1. Teams (5-200 people) – featuring access to Blinkist Premium, engagement resources, and an account management portal. Prices depend on the number of required users, or seats. For example, the price of 10 seats is $590 and the price of 200 seats is $7500. A middle range of option of 100 seats is $4600.
  2. Enterprise (for more than 200 people) – featuring all Teams features plus dedicated customer support, curated learning paths, customizable home screen, and learning management system (LMS) integration. Enterprise customers must book a demo to receive a quote.

Affiliate commissions

Blinkist also earns money through affiliate marketing. Once a user has completed a Blink, they are given the option to share it with others or purchase the full book on Amazon.

The company is then compensated with a commission from Amazon if a consumer makes a purchase there.

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