Chat Fiction – Bringing Books Into The Digital Age

Chat fiction appsAre kids these days reading anymore? That’s a question that seems to get asked a lot, as traditional book-reading has to compete with apps, games, online video and other mobile content.

But all this worrying might be for nothing if the popularity of chat fiction is anything to go by.

If chat fiction is news to you, you’re not alone. The majority of people using this new format are teenagers and young adults. But these apps are among some of the most popular in the App Store, Tech Crunch recently revealed.

According to CNBC, Hooked, currently enjoying the top position in the App Store’s ‘Books’ category, has been downloaded over 20 million times and 69% of its readers are under the age of 25.

So, what’s it all about, Alfie?

As Mobile App Daily explains, chat fiction apps use the text message format as a way to narrate the story. It is this interactive, digital format that is helping to engage young readers.

Amazon entered the realm of chat fiction last year with Amazon Rapids but, Tech Crunch reports, the company has introduced ‘Signature Stories’ as a way of making stories more appealing by integrating characters from TV shows kids already know.

It currently only has support from Amazon Studios but the company has hinted that it will be open to working with future partners looking to reach children in the modern age.

And it seems chat fiction apps are keen to further increase the interaction, as they begin to look at integrating other forms of media.

Tap by Wattpad entered the market in February and now boasts more than 300,000 stories in its catalogue.

Its recent launch, Tap Originals, plays on the fact we use our phones to communicate in ways other than texting. The stories go beyond text and include video, sound, images and voice notes. Users can even use the “choose-your-own-ending” feature.

As a result, stories could see their text messages interrupted with a video showing a FaceTime call from one of the main characters, or include multimedia between back-and-forth text conversations.

Only time will tell if chat fiction is here to stay or whether it is just a fad, but anything that gets kids engaged in reading is something we should all get excited about.

Date Published : 09th of August 2017

Steve Odart

Published by : Steve Odart

About the Author : Steve Odart is the founder of Ixxus, with 28 years experience in the publishing industry. He started life at the London College of Printing, following his grandfather into the printing industry. He spent many years working with Quark through its launch of Quark XPress, and the Quark Publishing System, before setting up a publishing division within one of the UK’s largest Sun Microsystems Resellers. He then joined Oracle, as EMEA Business Development Director – Publishing and Media, prior to founding Ixxus in 2004. Steve has an extensive knowledge of publishing past, present and future, and has worked with the majority of the largest global publishers in his career to date.