Have you ever walked through a library or bookstore and felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of books out there that you know you will never have time to read? Us too. While there’s always the chance that works of fiction will be turned into an easily digestible movie or TV series (which is not to say the adaptation will necessarily be good), that usually isn’t the case with non-fiction reads (“Hidden Figures” notwithstanding). If you wish you had more time to read and learn from non-fiction books, check out 12min, a subscription service that condenses them into 12-minute audiobooks with written summaries that you can consume at a clip.
What is it?
Think SparkNotes for non-fiction books, plus an audio component. 12 min gives you access to hundreds of micro books in both text and audio form, and your subscription allows you to access up to 30 new titles each moth. You can use the 12min app or sync the books to your Kindle account. They are fully downloadable so you can read then when you don’t have internet access (maybe if you ever have a commute again?). And if there’s a book you want to be condensed and 12min doesn’t have it, you can request it. The dedicated app runs on iOS devices 9.0 or later, and Android 5.0 or later.
We first heard of this service through the Recomendo newsletter, where Mark Frauenfelder writes: “New titles are added all the time. I’ve found it especially useful to refresh my memory on books I read years ago, like Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene, Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens, Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Fooled By Randomness, and Tim Ferriss’s Tools of Titans.”
How to subscribe
Normally, a one-year subscription costs $100, a two-year subscription costs $200 and a lifetime subscription goes for $500. But Recomendo tipped us off to reduced-price subscriptions via StackSocial, where a one-year subscription goes for $28, two years for $42 and a lifetime subscription goes for $57 — but these deals are only around for the next three days, so if you’re interested, get on it. You have nothing to lose but time and up to $450.