I reached out to Bookly to inquire about sponsorship opportunities after using the free version of the app for a couple of weeks. While I was not paid to write this post, I was given a complimentary lifetime subscription to the app so I could give my honest thoughts about all of the features for this guide. I do not have an affiliate link and will not make any money if you download the app.
Greetings friends, and welcome to a post I’ve been working on for the past month! I’ve been pretty vocal on social media and in the Discord servers I’m in about my lowkey disdain for Goodreads. The website hasn’t gotten an update of value since Amazon purchased it back in 2013, and I’ve been on the hunt for a replacement.
Enter Bookly. While Bookly isn’t a replacement for Goodreads, it has drastically helped me keep track of my reading and provide valuable statistical insights.
What is Bookly?
Bookly is a iOS and Android app where you can set & manage your TBRs, set deadlines & goals, take notes & quotes while reading, and provide you with infographics when you are finished!
What was I looking for, specifically?
Honestly, I wanted an app where I could create an ARC TBR and set reading deadlines to try and tackle ARC Mountain. I tried a few apps out but really was wowed by the breadth of additional features available for free on the Bookly app, so I decided to give it a try!
So what are Bookly’s features?
My wishlist was a small one… until I saw all of Bookly’s features. We all know how much I enjoy statistics, suffice to say that I fell in love straight away 😍
- Real-time reading tracking: add books to your collection (limited to 10 books on free version) and start a session. The timer will record how fast you’re reading. When you finish a reading session, just stop the timer and enter the page you’re on, as a bookmark;
- Reading statistics: you’ll get monthly reports on your performance (Bookly Pro) so you know what you need to improve;
- Reminders: you can set a reminder to remind you to read at a certain time of the day or week;
- Know how much is going to take to finish the book: Bookly lets you know how long you have until you finish the book if you continue reading at the same pace;
- Monthly/yearly goals: goals with reminders that help you keep you focused and make a habit out of reading. Set out a Reading goal at the beginning of the month/year and challenge yourself to read more;
- Achievements: there are tons of achievements that you can unlock to stay motivated and keep things interesting and fun;
- Thoughts & quotes: you can easily add thoughts, notes, and quotes for each book, in both text and image form;
- Infographics: once you finish a book, you can generate an awesome infographic and share it with your friends;
- Lent books: in case you often share books with friends, Bookly lets you mark books as lent so you know where to find them.
Pretty amazing, right?! I honestly didn’t know I wanted many of these features but now that I’ve had them for the last month and a half, I don’t want to give them up.
Free Bookly vs. Bookly Pro
I used the free version of the app for about three weeks before activating my lifetime subscription given to me by Bookly. I took a bunch of screenshots of the app and its functionality so I could easily compare Free vs. Pro which I have compiled into the below slideshow.
As you will notice in the above screenshots, most of the app’s functionality is available in the free version. What you mostly miss out on are the Assistant, which provides personalized suggestions, detailed statistics over time, a word of the day. Other than that, you are limited to 10 books at a time and only have access to the rain ambient sound.
How I Use Bookly to Organize My Reading
Like I said earlier, all I was looking for was the ability to set deadlines. And then Bookly was like ‘I got you fam’ and suddenly I am using it to track my annotations, too! Not only that, but by tracking the amount of time you spend reading each day per book, it really provides an incentive to read and keep reading streaks running.
Taking Notes for Physical Books
Last month I wrote about how much I rely on reading notes and annotations when I’m writing my reviews. While I have no qualms writing in my books, I prefer to pass along my physical ARCs to international readers through Flapping Pages… and I don’t think they would enjoy my notes!
One of my favorite things about reading eBooks is being able to take extensive notes while I read. Bookly gives you the ability to write thoughts down while reading, type up quotes you enjoy, and even a dictionary function if you come across a word you don’t know.
This alleviates my need to write in my books or breaking my wrist writing in a notebook. Especially because you can note the page number for your thoughts & quotes. I use page flags and short hand for quotes so I don’t have to copy everything down, but it is a lifesaver for me and my goldfish brain when writing my reviews. All you have to do is click the icon to scroll through your notes.
ARC Read Planning
We all know that I am a planner and tracker, making use of my Book Blogger Spreadsheet template (2020 version coming next month!) to keep track of my reads. It works really well for me, but I wanted something a little extra to keep me on track.
About a week ago, I took a hard look at my 2019 and older ARC obligations. I eliminated three of them due to no longer being interested in reading them (sorry!), and added the remaining 23 to the app under an ‘ARCs to Read”.
I’ve since read 3 of my ARCs (whew!), but I’m taking advantage of the ‘Read by date’ option for the four books I’ve identified to try and read this month. The breakdown of how much you need to read in order to meet your end date should prove helpful for me! Hopefully moving forward I can knock out at least an ARC a week from this backlog to get caught up – which could possibly get me good by March 2020.
Building a Habit of Reading
The daily reminder I set, and the subsequent reading streak, also provide me motivation to read. Sometimes all you need is a little nudge to pick up a book and try to get some pages read. Last month I literally read 4-8 pages for days in a row to not break my streak. I’m nothing if not competitive.
There are also some fun achievements that you can unlock. There are a total of 30 and all of them are available on the free version of the app.
For the most part, the achievements reward you for reading – streaks, books read, pages read, and amount of time spent reading using the app. As a gamer, I appreciate the added incentive.
If you’ve ever tried to track your reading progress for audiobooks with Goodreads, you will know that there is a lot left to be desired. Bookly tracks your progress on audiobooks by minutes read, which is super helpful! Unfortunately, I DNF’d the one audiobook I was reading (Imaginary Friend).
Added Bonus – The Infographics
It’s well established that I like data, and I appreciate seeing how many pages I read per hour. You might have noticed the below infographic in my last couple of reviews; well, that’s where they come from!
Bookly is really awesome, but I do have a little wishlist. All but the last one are what I would consider ‘nice to haves;’ I am still kind of bitter I lost my streak and approximately 4 hours reading A Thousand Fires before midnight on November 1.
- Ability to delete collections, or at least rename them.
- Ability to access prior months’ reading report after the month has passed.
- Ability to add a book to a collection after finishing without having to edit the collection itself.
- Friends! I am competitive and want to compete with someone other than myself.
- Ability to have a reading session over two days without losing your streak. I do most of my reading at night and often carry over past midnight. If you don’t want to lose your daily streak and have your time spent on the previous day lost, you will need to end the session before midnight and start a new one after midnight.
Note: after talking with Bookly, it appears that I’ve uncovered a bug & they’re working to fix this!
Not only has Bookly provided me with a lot of fun statistics based on my reading, but it also gives me the ability to organize my reading.
Bookly isn’t a replacement for Goodreads. The app lacks the social aspect of the site and the ability to leave reviews for books, but it provides readers with additional tools to keep track of their reading and organize their thoughts for reviewing.
One of the nicest side effects of using Bookly for the past six weeks definitely is it builds a habit of reading. With the daily reminder and tracking your time spent reading each title, you have tangible evidence of your reading. Sometimes it sucks to only read six books in a month… but seeing that you read a total of 37 hours has a more positive feeling to it. And even though I read less books last month, I spent more time reading – which shows me I’m trying despite my stupid slump!
Do I think Bookly Pro is worth it?
Because my ARC Mountain is huge, the ability to add more than 10 books to organize my reading has been really useful for me. I also enjoy the monthly statistics provided via Bookly Assistant, but I also recognize the cost will likely be a roadblock for a lot of readers.
If I am being honest, I probably wouldn’t have splurged on the app on my own due to sticker shock even though I am privileged enough to be able to afford it. After having the opportunity to use the Pro version of the app, I do think it is worth it. I don’t know what I would have done after a 7 day free trial… I’d had been tempted for sure.
But I wholeheartedly recommend the free version of Bookly for every reader. Even if Pro isn’t in your budget, the features provided in the free version of the app will help you organize your reading and provide electronic annotation tools for those of you who don’t write in your physical books.
Bookly Pro Giveaway
Bookly has kindly given me a redemption code for a Lifetime Bookly Pro membership for one of you! All you need to do to be eligible is be a follower of my blog, but there are a bunch of ways to get extra entries if you are so inclined.
You have until November 20, 2019 to get your entries in, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
Okay hands down the infographics make me want to download this, if for nothing else, not to mention you always know where it’s at when it comes to apps, seriously, feedly has changed my life so bookly is now calling to me
Not going to lie, the infographics were a big draw for me hahaha! I hope you enjoy the app as much as I do and find it useful to your reading life.
Amber @ Books of Amber says
Thank you so much for this breakdown! I downloaded Bookly a few months ago and to be honest I was both overwhelmed and underwhelmed. There seemed like a lot to do, but I also got a bit confused about what exactly was available in the free version versus Bookly Pro. I think this app could potentially be really good motivation for me to read every day instead of marathoning TV shows or scrolling on my phone, so I think after reading this post I’ll be giving it another go. I also have an ARC Everest, so this might be a good app to help me track how I’m doing with climbing that.
I am so glad you found the post & breakdown useful, Amber! I hear you on there seeming to be SO MUCH, and I was a bit confused/surprised that most of it wasn’t behind a paywall. I like Pro, but the features aren’t necessary to get value out of the app, which I appreciate because not everyone will be able to afford it. Good luck summitting your ARC Everest!
Meaghan @ Words Gremlin says
I don’t necessarily NEED another app in my life, but you’ve made such a strong case for this. I think I just might have to give it a go!
Plus, let’s be real. Keeping up a reading streak, achievements, and infographics scratch that itch in the gaming corner of my brain SO WELL.
SAME to be honest, but this one really hit the marks on what I was looking for. I am down for anything to make a game out of reading or the mundane. If I got achievements for cleaning my apt, I’d probably do it more often lol
Laurie | Bark says
I do LOVE those infographics ! But the idea of starting with a new app is little overwhelming for me atm.
Yea I totally hear you! I don’t use many apps at all, so for me it wasn’t hard to add it into my rotation. Thanks for reading!
Angelica @ Paperback Princess says
Kal, can you do a post of all your bookish apps and websites you use please?
Sarah Ames-Foley says
I used Bookly a couple years ago and it looks like they’ve added some stuff since I stopped. I’m definitely going to have to give it another shot! Glad it worked so well for you. 🙂
Ahhh, yea I’ve heard they’ve really beefed it up in the past year or so! I hope you find the app useful if you give it a try again, and thanks for checking out the post!
SCREECHES. I love Bookly so much !!
SCREECHES! Me too, and I am so glad you love it!!!
I’ve had the pro version of the app for almost an year now but I’ve hardly ever used it because I’m so forgetful… so I didn’t even realize that the assistant and setting dates options were available… Such a wonderful post Kal… you’ve definitely motivated me to start using it again 😊😊😊
I think if it weren’t for the assistant & setting the daily reminder, I might forget to open the app as well. But it’s a habit now after two months, which is really awesome! I hope you find the app useful
Angelica @ Paperback Princess says
Kal I’m trialing Bookly at the moment, I actually tried over 2 years ago but stopped but I’ve since returned to reading more and definitely more interested, I’ve even bought the $50 Apple gift card ready for the purchase, however I’ve reached out to the app team 2 weeks ago (still no reply 😕) because I’ve got a few questions maybe you can help me with:-
1. The free version says a max of 10 but how do you add past 10? When I try and delete a book unfinished or finished it says that only pro users can delete, so once you get 10 does that mean you can no longer add any other books?
2. How much is the lifetime membership? There’s currently a special offer for a yearly sub that I’m hoping to take advantage of but I’d like to see how much the lifetime membership is first, but where do we find that? Also it’s strange as the special offer states original price is $29.99 but the 42% off is $24.99 🧐
3. Does Bookly also work as a personal home library catalogue app? I just purchased BookBuddy and just wondering if Bookly does a similar thing? You really should get a discount code as I’m sure plenty of us would purchase Bookly through your link.
4. How hard/easy is it to get in contact with support? I’m awaiting 2 weeks and it’s making me think if it’s this hard to get through their support…what happens if I needed help with the app? How was your interaction between them so far?
Thank you for this thorough informative post. Would love to get a post where you mention all the websites and apps you use regularly, bookish ones and also other blogs you religiously follow with similar content as yours.
Hi Angelica! Unfortunately I have been on the lifetime pro account for over two years now, so my goldfish brain doesn’t remember a lot of the specifics pertaining to the free version. I did read out to my contact at Bookly, but this week is always weird to get in touch with people and she may be on vacation.
I /can/ use Bookly as a home catalogue app because I have the ability to add as many books as I want. I’ve mostly used it for ARCs only to kinda keep track of those and select from the carousel when I decide to start reading them. Since you can scan ISBNs to easily add books, this is something that could work well!
Thanks so much for reading my post and I am sorry I can’t be of more help at this time. I’ll message you on Twitter when Gabrielle emails me back.
Krystin MacAskill says
I have the free version but I definitely feel like I need this immediately lol
Even the free version of the app is amazing! Although I have to admit — it’s pretty cool to take a picture of a book and convert it to quote text hahaha
This is awesome!! I feel like I really need Bookly XD
I hope the app helps your reading if you decide to give it a try, thanks for stopping by!
Moonlight & Moths says
I downloaded bookly a while ago and never got around to trying it. This post was a really great reminder that I should start using it!
Ahh, I’m glad my post reminded you about the app & I hope you love the app as much as I do! (Seriously, I read to maintain streaks now lmao)
Olivia Roach says
This actually sounds so organised and focused in a single app! I have to admit my reading and how I track my reading progress / read books is a major mess. I tend to just enjoy reading more than focusing on what I am doing and seeing my stats DD: But I feel like this could be useful!
Olivia-S @ Olivia’s Catastrophe
I totally get where you’re coming from! I’ve always been a heavy annotator when I read, so for me I can’t turn off that need to take notes while reading so this app makes things so much more streamlined for me.
Angelica @ Paperback Princess says
Love to see a post about how you annotate.
Pam Who Cried Books says
The infographics look so good and organized! I heard about Bookly but didn’t know you can track audiobooks. Thanks for this, Kal!
TRACKING AUDIOBOOKS IS SO DAMN COOL! I finally am tracking one now and it’s lifechanging for me lmao.
DB's Guide to the Galaxy says
YESSS Bookly!!!! I’ve been using it so much and it’s great! I, unfortunately, lost my 8 or something day streak and will hopefully pull that up and this time go for an even longer streak (I share in your competitiveness in this regard 😀) The infographics are definitely my favourite thing as I do like stats. And Bookly telling me how long I have to go before I finish the book – that usually makes me read faster so I can go ‘ha, bookly!!’ this is me lol
Oh no, I am sorry to hear you lost your streak! BUT ISN’T IT MOTIVATING!?!?!? I swear, I’ve literally picked up a book to read for the past 3 days just so I didn’t break my streak lol. AND YES I also like to challenge bookly’s time for reading.
I absolutely love this! I’m definitely a competitive person and the fact that I can uphold a streak (and not lose it), might set me back on the reading track. The fact that it can remind you to read is awesome, I always forget to set an alarm, but this might work. I haven’t read much in the fast few months, I’m happy if I have read six books in the last six months, let alone the last month :’) I feel guilty that I don’t read as much so I’m definitely going to try it! I apologize beforehand if I ask too many questions while figuring it out!
I definitely can see you getting super competitive! YOU WON’T BEAT ME! and no worries, ask away!
*immediately downloads 30th reading app for their phone…
I’m sorry!!! But I think I like it more than Leio if that helps at all lmao
Angelica @ Paperback Princess says
Please do a post on Leio
omg this sounds like a really helpful app! I have a question. When you DNF a book, how do you organize it through the app? I’m definitely going to have to try this app sometime. Maybe it’ll be a part of my 2020 reading goals!
In the app, you have the ability to remove it from your reading list completely — which is what I did with my DNF. But you could also create a DNF collection and move it to there as well, I think!
Clo @ Cuppa Clo says
Ooooo this sounds like a really helpful app, though I kinda wish it was also available as a website *pouts* I just really like the aspect of accessing things off a laptop rather than needing an app for everything but that’s just my personal preference at the moment. I’m glad the app has helped you out though Kal and loved this post <3 so informative and helpful as always with you x
Yea I know what you mean — a desktop version would be so cool and I also prefer to not have a bunch of apps on my phone. But this one is pretty easy and unobtrusive, I just turn the timer on and do my thing hehe. Thanks for reading!
Mari @ Musings of a (Book) Girl says
I just started using Bookly a few days ago and I’m loving it already! I got so much more reading done the first night because I knew I had a timer going. It encouraged me to stay off social media since I wanted the reading time to be accuracte!
Ahh, I am so glad that is is helping your productivity as well!!!
Another one of my blogging friends uses Bookly and although I haven’t got as many books to keep a track of as either of you, I think the free account is certainly worth a look.
YESSS! I think the free account is amazing and honestly all most people will need! I love the pro version because of my volume (and taking pictures to record quotes is also v nice), but it can be cost prohibitive. It’s nice the most useful parts of the app are available for free to everyone.
ok but i swapped phones and uploaded my data to the cloud and when i downloaded it to my new phone i t was incorrect. so now im sad ??
BUT I REALLY ENJOYED IT SO MUCH PRIOR TO GETTING A NEW PHONE. ill probs go back to it onc eim not salty but only 10 books is gonna be ahrd one
I am so sad you lost your account when getting a new phone, that’s a total bummer! If I do upgrade I will be extra wary of my cloud data lol.
But YAY congrats because you won the giveaway! So you don’t have to just use 10 books at a time lol
oh and u can delete collections :eyes:
Anthony @ Keep Reading Forward says
You have me interested in this. There’s something about that I want to give it a try. Maybe its the need for something to keep reminding me to read when I get distracted, lol.
Try it, it’s free! Honestly the reminder to read (and my reading streak) is what is motivating me to read through my slump!
I tried using the free version of Bookly for a week & was delighted by the infographics. Just, and this is on my head, I always forget to open it and start/restart my reading sessions…thus making the time I spend reading logged into the app inaccurate. Will give this another go though bec the infographics are just too pretty and hopefully it would help me tackle both ARC & TBR mountains.
I feel you on this, it took me awhile to remember to open the app! The daily alert reminding me to read helps, so maybe that will help you too? Good luck climbing those mountains!
Angelica @ Paperback Princess says
Thanks Kal! I’m looking into Bookly after seeing the infographics on bookstagrammers stories. I love reading stats so this is really appealing to me. The price though is a bit steep but I’ll try out the free version and see how I go.
Do you know if you have the free version and you annotate a book but then delete the book to add a new book your currently reading, will it also delete the annotations?
Oh that is actually a really good question, I don’t actually know — I didn’t think to test that before using my redemption key. If you do happen to find out, can you let me know?
Destiny @ Howling Libraries says
I love this little write-up! The spouse got me into using Bookly a long time ago but I always forget about it, honestly, though they use it RELIGIOUSLY and are constantly nagging me to use it more. 😂 Seeing your post did remind me to finally allow it to give me a little daily “it’s reading time!” reminder, though, so maybe it won’t be so out of sight, out of mind in the future.
Bookly used to be totally free, and then they switched to the paid model, and when they did, they had a thing where all current users could get a lifetime pro sub for only… I want to say $1.99? Spouse was clever and snatched it up. Ya girl, on the other hand, kept putting it off until it was too late. 😂 But I did get a fairly good deal later on, so it’s okay.
Honestly, the daily reminder is the life changer for me. It helped cement the habit so I don’t forget to open the app when I start reading, which was the WORST! I hope the reminders help you, too!
Brooke Carrington says
You sold me with the audiobook tracking! Great article!
The audiobook tracking is honestly so nice! I hope you enjoy the app and thanks for reading!
Interesting. I might have to give this a shot!
I hope you find the app useful if you give it a try!
Heather @ The Frozen Library says
Hmm, I might actually download this. I don’t have any problems with Goodreads, I like using a physical notebook for taking notes, and I have a bujo specifically for tracking everything related to reading, but the speed tracker and reminder that this has kinda sounds like a good idea? It might be fun…or it might just stress me out more, we’ll see. XD
The speed tracker and reminder are such nice to haves for me that’s been really fun! Hopefully you find the app fun and not stressful, Heather!
This is a brilliant post! You’ve made me want to give Bookly a try now because I used to have the GR app on my phone, but, as you say, it’s not the most user-friendly. I tend to use the website more and I prefer it to the GR app. I got a new phone a couple of weeks ago, so I haven’t reinstalled the app, but I’m missing having something to track my reading! This might be the answer 😀
Oh man, I don’t use the Goodreads app AT ALL – I hate the UI so much, so I just use the desktop version mostly for reviewing. Tracking the daily reading progress on Bookly instead has been great for me, and I hope it works out for you as well. Thanks for reading!
Camilla @Reader in the Attic says
Kal, this looks amazing! Thanks for letting me of this app. I’m gonna lose part of my life to it but I’m excited and it seems worth XD
This will be super useful when I’ll have to make some recap post. Maybe this will help me catch up on all my missings reads? I’ll let you know how I’ll fit with it pretty soon. Prepare for me invanding your DM
Aww, you’re welcome Cam and I hope the app helps you too! Recap posts will probably be a lot more fun to write with dedicated use, you’re right! Feel free to invade my DMs any time.
Now here is a review regarding bookly that does great justice to the app! I’ve had bookly for over an year without having bothered to use it. Well, you’ve convinced me, and of course! Data is beautiful. I’m certainly getting pro thanks to you. Great job on the post!
Thanks so much for your comment, and I am SO happy to hear my post encouraged you to dust off the app and play around with it!
Avery Delany says
Thanks for linking me to your post on this! I’ve downloaded it and looking forward to playing around with it.
You’re welcome, I am glad you didn’t miss the post completely & I hope the app is helpful to you!