Save time reading (+ top 3 reading apps)

Since it’s the weekend, let’s go with a just-for-fun time-saving tip. And when we talk fun, one of my favorite fun activities is reading.

Save Time Reading | | #31timesaversSave Time Reading | | #31timesaversI love to read, and have for as long as I can remember. I was the kid who got caught reading under the covers with a flashlight well past bedtime. My mom had to institute rules like, “No reading at the dinner table.”

I’ve always been a fast reader. This is good, in the sense that I can get through a lot of books. It’s not so good when it comes to deciding what to read. Over time, I found that I was reading a lot of similar books that I knew were safe and that I’d enjoy. I wasn’t pushing myself to expand my reading horizons. I’d waste way too much time trying to decide what to read, or re-reading books that I’d read a half a dozen times or more. But how to change?  Enter: one tip and three apps.

Time-Saving Tip

My number on true time-saving tip when it comes to reading is to abandon books that you aren’t enjoying. This is a hard one for me. I love to complete things, and to check items off lists. For many years, abandoning a book just felt wrong.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve consciously started abandoning books. This has the bonus of reducing pressure on book picks, and making it easier to try something new. How do I find ideas for new books, and where do I read them? Read on…

The Tools


Goodreads has revolutionized the tracking of reading with a simple list*.

Three key benefits to Goodreads that save time:

  1. Track books you’ve already read.
  2. Keep track of books you want to read.
  3. Get book recommendations and suggestions from others.

Because of Goodreads, I’m never at a loss for a next book to read. I’ve got a list of ‘to-reads’ that I have compiled over time. Whenever I come across a book that I want to read, or that someone recommends, I log into Goodreads and add it. When I’m ready to read and need an idea, I’ve got a whole long list to choose from – typically with enough variation I can pick a book to suit any mood or genre.

It also means that I’ve read far fewer complete fluff books, and am more intentional about what I do read. It’s that whole social proof thing – if I’m going to share the list of books I’ve read with the general public, I don’t want it to be totally embarrassing. (That doesn’t entirely eliminate the fluff category – I do love me some fluff reading.)


Oyster* is essentially Netflix for books. I’ve found a fairly wide range of books on my ‘to-read’ list available on Oyster, which is awesome. I’ve got broad choice in reading material for only $9.95 per month*, which is the equivalent of buying 1-2 books per month (or less!). With my challenge around abandoning books, my fear of wasting money on books (or anything else) that I don’t like, and the speed at which I read, this is a fantastic deal.

The only potential downside to this is that it’s only available on phones or via the website, not on Kindle. Considering that I do 80+% of my electronic reading on my iPhone anyway, this is actually an upside to me.

*Psst: This Oyster link is a referral link and will give you $15 worth of unlimited books on Oyster, which is the equivalent of reading for free for a month and a half. What’s to lose!? It also gives me credit toward my own Oyster account. For the record, I have paid for my own Oyster account for several months, and believe it’s a fantastic value. You can read more about referral links on my disclosure page.


My favorite part about the Kindle app is its versatility, and the fact that it means I have books available on multiple devices synced wherever I am. If I buy ebooks, I buy them on Kindle, simply because I trust that Amazon & the Kindle are here to stay.

The downside to the Kindle app is the plethora of tempting free or very low price books. I’ve “bought” far too many terribly written books that were freebies, and am slowly weaning myself off of this habit. I do check a variety of Kindle deal sites, with a goal to get books I want to read at a good value.

The Template

Just in case Goodreads isn’t your thing, I’ve created a Reading List template in Evernote. Enter your email below to download the Reading List and other templates.

What’s your favorite reading tip or timesaver? 

This post is part of 31 Timesaving Tools, Tips & Templates, read the rest of the posts here.  

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