Our Basmo App Review – A Nifty Reading Tracker – Book Riot

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:
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:
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.
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.