Now, I’m not one to go around telling people how much I read (at least, not since I was 6) but I do still get a little thrill at being able to see my reading stats, and that’s why I jumped at the chance to do a Basmo app review. For those of you who haven’t heard of it yet, Basmo is a new little reading tracker app that markets itself as “a smarter way to read.” There are two different versions of Basmo: the free to use version, and the premium one that costs $8.99 a month, or $59.99 a year if you opt for a yearly membership.
If you’re using the free version of the app, you’re limited to two reading sessions a day and the scan text feature is locked. However, you’re still able to add as many books as you’d like. If you make the choice to spring for premium, you get access to unlimited reading sessions a day and you’re able to scan sections of your current reads in order to annotate them.
The app also supports the following languages:
- Norwegian Bokmål
Basmo allows you to set a daily reading time goal, and you’re also able to set a yearly goal of the number of books you’d like to read in a year.
Currently, there’s no option to switch out your daily goal to something like number of pages read, which is a bit of a shame. You’re also not able to see stats of the number of pages you’ve read in a year.
Basmo does give you a really nice reading streak tracker that displays how many days in a row you’ve logged a session — a nice motivation tool — and it keeps track of how you’ve done for the current week.
The app comes with the following pre-loaded collections:
- All books
- Currently reading
- Books read in 2021
- Want to read
- Finish later
You’re then able to create your own collections where you can add books based on genre, cover color, or level of snark – whatever catches your fancy.
The reading sessions are one of the app’s biggest selling points and they’re nice and easy to set up. All you need to do is add the book you’re reading and then click the Start Session button. As soon as you’ve done that, you’re provided with a blank text box to record your thoughts in, with the scanning option front and center at the bottom of the page.
The app also automatically creates a little break line once you’ve finished typing for the moment which allows you to more easily sort through notes about different pages or passages that you come across during a session. I’d have liked to see timestamps for the sections, but they’re still perfectly functional and pretty useful as is.
When you end a session, you’re given the option to put down the current page you’re on, record how you’re feeling, and any general thoughts about the session. The five options for feelings you’re given are:
I would’ve liked to be able to add custom feelings — none of the current ones quite capture how I’ve felt after reading a character make a horrifyingly poor choice or waiting patiently for six books only to have my favorite character die horribly right before they were about to get a tiny bit of happiness. Still, they’re quick and easy to use, which is great.
The scanning tool uses your camera to take a photo of a section of text in the book you’re reading so that your notes are a little easier to understand. There’s an option to convert the image to text but I am yet to figure out how to make it work, so I wouldn’t spring for premium *just* for that little tool without trying it out through the free trial first.
Another mildly annoying thing is that you can’t zoom in on the photos you’ve taken, which can make it difficult to decipher exactly what the text is. I’d say that this tool is best suited to textbooks with diagrams and graphs that can’t be recreated with a bit of typing.
- The interface is easy to use and the app hasn’t frozen or quit unexpectedly on me — which is remarkable considering the fact that I’m using a phone that is now four generations old and has had to go to the phone doctor twice, the poor thing.
- As I said earlier, the reading streaks are a nice bit of encouragement and will undoubtedly help you to build a daily reading habit.
- The daily reading reminders can be turned off which is nice because it means that you’re able to get rid of them if you find that they’re creating pressure or making you anxious.
- It’s easy to change your daily and yearly reading goals in order to reflect changing time commitments as time goes by.
- Reading sessions can be paused if you’d like to take a quick break but would prefer to not start a new session and break up your notes, and they’re very nicely organized.
- The feelings tracker is a nice way of letting you record your basic thoughts quickly.
- Though four main goals are presented to you at the beginning, I couldn’t see much difference in the way the app worked for each choice. I’d expected that there would be a tracker for how many books had been added or a way to add several books at once because one of the goals was “Organize my Books”.
- If you accidentally forget to end a session, it’ll continue to run and you’ll find that you’ve spent seven hours reading three pages. As far as I can see, session times can’t be edited to fix that kind of a goof, though you can delete a session.
- The number of pages in a book isn’t automatically recorded, even if the book is already part of the app’s database. This could also be seen as a pro because different editions can have different page counts.
- There’s no audio or ebook support just yet so you can’t track by percentage or listening time. The developers have indicated that this is being worked on, though there’s no estimated timeline that’s been made public.
- Books must be added manually, something that will definitely take up a lot of time if you want to keep track of books you’ve already read for the year or if you’ve downloaded Basmo to have a place to organize your book collection.
Final Thoughts On Our Basmo App Review
This is a nicely made little app but I find the price of the premium version to be a little high for what you get, which might just be because the app’s still fairly new. Some of the biggest sticking points for me were the limited usability of the scanning tool and the fact that none of the info about books except the title, author and cover is provided for you – nor can you input it yourself unless you manually create a section in your notes for it.
Granted, this might not be a concern for most people, and many readers may get by easily with just the title and author. However, one of the nicer things about a tracking app for me is that I can pull up basic info about the books I’ve read with a few clicks instead of having to displace the 9–11 others that a title’s inevitably buried under if I’ve got a physical copy instead of an ebook.
All in all, definitely one to try out for yourself to see if it fits your reading style. You can also check out this list of 13 free reading apps if, unlike me, you haven’t yet dipped your toes in the ebook pool.