Walk through any bookstore, or even any library these days, and you’re likely to see more people scanning their smartphones than reading actual books. It would be all too easy to jump into a rant about shrinking attention spans, but it does seem like modern life leaves us all with less time to sit and absorb a chapter or two.
While we can’t do anything about the time crunch, we can recommend a few reading apps and tools. From speed-reading boot camps to services that condense those bestsellers into 15-minute chunks, there’s proof here that you don’t need to tackle your reading list alone.
Here are five of our favorite apps that can help you keep up with your annual reading goals without scrambling to find the time.
While most of these apps bring your books into the digital age, Reader Mode Pro makes the internet look more like a clean analog book. It’s an extension for your Chrome browser that removes distractions from your web pages and even lets you customize the text.
You can add notes or highlight text that you’d like to revisit, and there are a ton of features that will especially help dyslexic readers focus.
This app gives you all the tools you need to dramatically boost both your reading speed and comprehension. Dive into science-based lessons taught by real speed-reading experts. Then put that knowledge to use with software that trains your brain on eBooks of nearly any format.
You’ll get reports that track your time and let you know how much faster you’re reading — and how much time you’re saving.
MSRP: $499 for a lifetime subscription
This highly-rated summary app is perfect for even the shortest commutes and lunch breaks. BookNotes boasts an extensive library of over 1,000 best-selling books, all condensed into audio or text files you can read in about 15 minutes.
There are more books being added all the time, and while the majority are non-fiction titles from the business and entrepreneurship realm, you can read mini-versions of classic novels as well.
MSRP: $299.99 for a lifetime subscription
This service for busy readers also breaks down the key points of popular books on business and personal growth, and the end result is 12-minute recaps you can read anywhere. And we do mean anywhere: You can download the summaries to a Kindle account and access them even when there’s no internet.
There are hundreds of book summaries currently on file, with 30 new ones available each month. Don’t see a book you want? You can suggest new titles to the app and they’ll be added to the queue.
MSRP: $346.50 for a lifetime premium subscription
Prices subject to change.
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