A Bookly Review: The app to build a reading habit

Bookly is an app that has been making the rounds on TikTok and other social media. The Bookly website describes the app as follows: “Bookly is a wonderful app that helps you track your reading in real time, manage your books, build a reading habit, and see your progress over time. ” If you want to try this reading app, keep reading our Bookly review.

What is Bookly?

Users set yearly, monthly, and daily reading goals, then log their reading time and number of pages read during each session. The app will then track their progress over the year, indicate how long it will take them to finish the book, and if a user chooses, send daily reminders at a specific time to finish reading. It is intended to help readers “build a lasting reading habit”.

The app is free with the option to pay for an upgraded version. The free version allows users to have up to ten books in their collection. While you can get around this limit by removing books from your collection and adding new ones, it does impact your stat tracking abilities. The paid version costs $19.99 for six months and lets you add any number of books and gives you more ambient noise options, along with a few other features.

But in a world full of reading apps, how does Bookly stack up in the market? Does he deliver on his promises of getting used to reading, especially with social media and, well, life gets in his way? I decided to test it for a month! Let’s dive into my Bookly review – my experience, the good, the bad and everything in between.

How Bookly Works

Creating an account was quite easy. Plug in an email, fill in your name and contact information, then set your goals for the day and year. I set my daily goal to 30 minutes, but you can also set a page goal if you prefer that. I also set myself a yearly goal of 50 pounds, which is what I always set my Goodreads to. I also set daily reminders at 9 p.m. to read.

Then I added my first book! It’s quite easy to add books and one kind of cool feature is that you can manually add something if it doesn’t show up in the database. I often read textbooks, advanced reading copies (ARC) or just lesser known books and they weren’t always in the database, so it was nice to be able to add them myself.

Then it was time to start my first reading session. All you have to do to get started is click “continue reading” and the timer starts. (If you forget to connect to a session, you can manually add the session, so no stats are left out!)

On the reading session page, you can play ambient noise, log your thoughts as you read, jot down search words, capture your favorite quote, pause the session, set a countdown, and of course , stop. You can navigate away from the screen if, for example, the social media siren call is too loud or you receive a text that you need to respond to. The timer will continue to tick.

A screenshot of the Bookly Reading Session page.

When you are done, you press the stop button and it will ask you how many pages you have read. It also awards you diamonds for each play session based on play time. These can be exchanged for new outfits for the app’s mascot or better looking icons for your phone’s home screen. It was a feature I wasn’t particularly interested in, but it didn’t cost anything (although you can buy diamonds if you want), so I didn’t mind.

The stats page tells you how many pages you’ve read so far, how long you’ve read, and a bunch of other fun stats if you’re interested. You also earn achievements as you go. These don’t “give” you anything, but for completing your first book, achieving your goals, and more, you get collectible badges.

I think that’s the base! Here’s what worked and what didn’t work so well.

The victories

The app is easy to navigate and features like ambient noise, journaling thoughts or in-app quotes, and reminders are great for continuing to read. The app also gives you frequent “challenges” throughout the day to help you maintain your reading habit.

A screenshot of a challenge notification from Bookly.

A screenshot of an infographic created by Bookly.

When you complete a novel, the app also generates an infographic that you can share on social media. This seems especially useful for those of you involved with Bookstagram or other bookish sites.

There’s also a feature on the stats page that tells you how many other people are reading right now! It feels a bit more communal for the often isolated reading experience.

Best-Power

This app replicates things that other apps do better than Bookly. The Kindle app, for example, already tracks my reading speed and tells me how much time I have left until the end. Goodreads keeps you on pace with your yearly reading goals and has a much stronger book database.

I also want it to sync with Goodreads. It was so repetitive to register my book in Goodreads and Bookly and the places where I followed them myself. It just seemed a little longer, which is petty, but I still stick with it.

Who is this app for?

I found out pretty quickly that this app was not for readers like me. I’m really a reader-when-I-have-a-minute-free rather than setting aside big chunks of time to settle in. I’ll read ten pages on the bus, then I’ll be distracted by an email. I’m going to read on the couch for five minutes while the sink fills with water. I go from my Kindle app to Twitter and back again in minutes. So these reading sessions were never a true account of my reading speed. And, frankly, not once did I read during the time period I set my reminders for. That’s not how I operate.

However, I know there are so many readers who set aside time to read. Who care about their reading speed and daily habits and “gamifying” reading. If you love numbers, tracking, and organizing it all, this app is definitely for you. The cute infographics are also an added bonus.


I hope this Bookly review helped you decide if this is the app for you. If you’re still looking for another app or two, check out this list of the 13 best reading apps or these 5 useful apps to organize your reading life.

Lance B. Holton