Looking for the best SparkNotes alternative? If yes, keep reading below to discover more websites like SparkNotes for the best study guides.
SparkNotes is a study guide resource website, where learners can find summaries, explanations, and analyses of literary works.
If you are a student looking for sites like SparkNotes for studying purposes, a teacher looking for lesson plans and study guides, or perhaps a business person on a self-improvement quest, this article is for you.
We will discuss various SparkNotes alternatives, what they offer, and how they may differ from SparkNotes.
The idea is to narrow down the list of options and save you the hassle of scouring the entire internet just to find a decent site.
Websites Like Sparknotes
Much like SparkNotes, WikiSummaries offers text analyses and summaries.
A notable difference is that WikiSummaries doesn’t just focus on literary works. It’s a library of random books, TV shows, and movies as well.
If you plan to upload your notes to WikiSummaries, you need to understand that you won’t be compensated for your contribution. The community is volunteer-run and doesn’t pay its users.
Teachers and learners looking for summaries plausibly don’t pay to access the WikiSummaries library either.
The site is simply a nexus for information seekers and educators or subject experts to meet and exchange knowledge.
To contribute, simply create an account and start writing and editing summaries. You can apply to become a “trusted user” afterward if you need more editing privileges.
LitCharts is similar to SparkNotes in many ways, and it’s not hard to see why.
The founders of LitCharts, Ben, and Justin, are the original editors at SparkNotes. So the idea of LitCharts was inspired by SparkNotes in more ways than one.
What does LitCharts offer? A bulleted list summary of a book’s plot points and color-coded themes for each point.
The site uses Theme Wheels to create visual overviews of entire books in a single infographic.
It also provides a sophisticated search function through which you can filter quotes by theme, location, and character.
LitCharts hires the best writers in the world, according to its founders. That, if anything, explains why access to some resources is only available to premium subscribers.
Shmoop, like LitCharts and many other websites like SparkNotes, charges its users a premium subscription fee.
It charges $14.99 per month for study guides and $19.99 per month for test preparation materials and even offers special subscriptions for schools and districts.
Shmoop’s library is a large one. But that’s probably not what gives it the edge over its competitors.
Its cheeky teaching style is. The sites’ resources use conversational, fun, and easy-to-understand language that many teachers have come to admit is essential to teaching children and teenagers.
As a student, the premium subscription may not exactly be necessary. Shmoop’s free plan is sufficient in itself.
CliffsNotes has come a long way. It started with just 16 Shakespeare study guides following its inception in 1958.
Now, it claims to help you maneuver intimidating exams and tricky classes with its vast library of free and premium articles, books, and tools.
Common subjects include literature, math, history, science, and foreign languages. The bulk of the library is free to access, but booklet-style guides go for $6-$10 each.
If you are more of an audio person, the site has CramCasts. These are book overviews and plot summaries that last 3-5 minutes.
You will love CliffsNotes for its tradition of offering summaries together with the original texts. So you can always get both the book and its summary at the price of a summary.
With over 11 million visitors each month, eNotes is one of the most popular online educational platforms.
It also records an impressive 750 new daily subscriptions and employs over 1,000 teachers.
But is it worth your time? Well, it is if you are a high school or college student trying to make sense of your literature and history books.
Sadly, it doesn’t offer much beyond those two subjects, but at least it’s exhaustive in its foci.
You can join eNotes as a student/teacher or an author. Students and teachers get a two-week free trial, after which they can decide whether or not to commit to a subscription.
On the other hand, authors upload study notes and get paid for them. You can be both.
Sites Like Sparknotes
When Harvard alumni Nick and Olivia set up GradeSaver in 1999, the idea was to help students edit essays before submitting them to teachers and professors.
After a few months of interacting with students, they saw they need to create literature study guides.
Nothing much separates GradeSaver from other SparkNotes alternatives. But the fact that most of its study guides are written by Harvard University students and are mostly available for free sure explains why millions visit the site each month.
If you wish to join GradeSaver as a student, be ready to part with $19.95 per month.
As a study guide creator, you just need to create an account, start answering questions, and provide your PayPal email address.
You might also like Apps & Websites Like Speedwrite
Blinkist is a book summary service with over 5,000 titles in its database.
You can purchase access to this database for $12.99 a month or about $5.34 if you pay for an annual subscription and join using an affiliate link.
For this reason, it is one of the cheapest book summary services, similar to SparkNotes.
But is it worth the money? In my opinion, it is. Blinkist’s minimalistic interface, sleek design, and focused features make for a simple and fast user experience. That’s a very important feature for a book summary site.
Additionally, the platform has a mobile app that facilitates offline access to summaries downloaded to the user’s library.
Finally, the platform is highly customizable. The algorithm studies user behavior and helps you maneuver the site with ease.
All book summaries on Blinkist are uploaded by experts and are also available in audio format.
8. Nexus Notes
Nexus Notes is a platform for students by students. Essentially, students supply notes and study guides to other students who require them.
It currently boasts a library of more than a million documents and a user base of over 200k students.
Learners pay a subscription fee of $29.99 per month to access up to 30 study documents, whereas authors earn a percentage of the revenue created by their contribution.
You can be both an author and a buyer. In fact, uploading notes in exchange for free document access is one way students use the platform without parting with real cash.
Nexus Notes doesn’t necessarily focus on book summaries. However, being a generic document-sharing site, it can come in handy for just about any student, including literature majors.
Shortform does not just create and share book summaries. It also provides information about the books’ authors, the best ideas from the books, and a list of similar titles for further reading.
Registration is free. Accessing the summary catalog, on the other hand, costs money. Thankfully, there is a 5-day free trial, which you can use to gauge the site.
Shortform can be accessed via browsers and a mobile app.
Instaread claims to be a way to get smarter in minutes. While not any more resourceful than most of the SparkNotes alternatives on this list, its library of over 700 book, magazine, and article summaries is nothing to sneeze at.
You can access these summaries through one of two payment plans: a monthly $8.99-per-month subscription and a yearly $7.99-per-month subscription.
A free seven-day trial is available to help guide your decision.
What I like about Instaread, besides its affordable plans and great user interface, is its summary book covers.
As you know, book summary sites have no right to use images of actual book covers. Instaread designs its own, which is a statement of its commitment to delivering excellence.
11. Four Minute Books
As the name suggests, Four Minute Books is a library of book summaries that you can read in just four minutes.
It has over 1000 free summaries and publishes new ones weekly on Wednesdays.
With over 300,000 monthly readers, the site is a legit SparkNotes alternative with some of the best book titles you can think of.
Four Minute Books doesn’t charge you to access its catalog. In fact, you don’t need to sign up at all to use it.
You will only need to share your personal information if you wish to “customize your learning journey.”
You may also have to provide your email address if you want to receive notifications of new additions.
GetAbstract has a whopping 20,000 book summaries. That’s more than any other websites like SparkNotes and more than four times what its closest rival, Blinkist, has to offer.
As you would expect, access to such a rich resource pool doesn’t come for free. The site pays writers and narrators (for audiobooks), and the money comes from eventual readers and listeners like you.
The subscription fee is $29.90 per month or $299 per year.
Some of the advantages of using getAbstract are:
- Access to a vast summary library
- A reasonable premium subscription fee
- The presence of book analyses, in addition to eBook and audiobook summaries
- A smooth learning stream that teams and large businesses can use
- Integration with Learning Management Systems (LMSs)
On the flip side, getAbstract lacks a free membership plan, which makes it unfavorable to picky users.
ReadinGraphics is not your average book summary site. In addition to textual summaries, the site provides infographics and audio summaries.
It also focuses on personal development and business books as opposed to literary books and other study materials.
For only $19.97 per month, you can access all summaries in the site’s database and enjoy unlimited download privileges. An annual subscription goes for $169.70.
ReadinGraphics is a great site with well-crafted summaries, but you may find its inventory too small for $20 a month.
At the time of writing this article, the site had little over 200 summaries and uploaded three new summaries per month.
That being said, their book selection is top-notch, and the use of graphics is a serious game-changer.
Bookey is an app that brings you your favorite books in form of summaries that you can read or listen to in 30 minutes or less.
It packs over 500 titles. Each offered a textual summary, an audio summary, a visual map for key ideas, and a comprehension quiz.
Bookey’s focus is to help its 50,000+ learners enhance their personal growth and self-development without reading or listening to their favorite books in full.
If you are a student, this is probably not the site for you. Most books are about business, health, culture, fitness, history, and politics and aren’t necessarily summarized with a student in mind.
The app charges a monthly subscription fee of $12.99 or an annual fee of $79.99.
Readitfor.me gives you access to audio and video summaries of your favorite leadership and business books.
It targets executives and individuals in the corporate world trying to launch themselves into leadership.
You can tell the summary writers, and narrators know what they are doing by playing the sample video on the site’s homepage.
The audio and visuals are clear and in sync, and the points are well-structured and flowing.
Its collection of summaries is excellent, too. And you really can’t blame the site owners for prioritizing best-selling titles. The amount of work that goes into creating a video summary is insane.
Readitfor.me comes in three subscriptions: a $29 monthly plan, a $299 yearly plan, and a $999 lifetime plan.
The world now produces more information per day than it did in the entirety of the year 2002.
Book summary platforms like SparkNotes make it easier for you to consume as much of this information as possible by bringing it to you abridged and compact.
Which of the above sites do you think is worth your time? Let me know in the comments.