Have you ever heard of chat fiction apps? If not, then you’re probably not a teenager.
These digital book alternatives, which are presented as text messages, have been dominating the app charts for the past few months. The format may seem a little strange for people who are used to paperback books, but at least young people are reading.
These are the popular ones.
Hooked is the app that started the frenzy. It launched in 2015 and has since maintained its popularity. It’s currently in the top 40 free apps across all categories. The topics range from comedy to horror stories and are always displayed as messages.
Users have to keep scrolling to find out what happens next. The idea is that the texting format is more relatable for young people who have been communicating this way since they were children. And while the app itself is free, users have to pay for the full experience.
It costs $2.99 per week or $39.99 per year. Its business has caught the attention of well-known investors including Greylock Partners, Foundation Capital and Founders Fund.
Yarn is a lot liked Hooked. It’s also an app for SMS-like stories and costs exactly the same. But the content is original and has some different themes.
Some of those include hypothetical conversations with A-list celebrities or imaginary group chats about dating. They also have a “truth or dare” section and jokes about using personal assistants like Siri. While these themes don’t really sound like “books,” that’s the category they are labeled in iTunes.
And like Hooked, it’s currently ranked higher than the Kindle. The app was incubated by Science, the maker of Wishbone and Slingshot.
Tap was recently introduced by Wattpad, the social publishing platform. It works a lot like the other chat fiction apps and costs exactly the same for the full experience.
Well, if the business model isn’t broken, don’t fix it. From romance to crime stories, Tap makes it easy to see what’s trending and tells you how many people are scrolling through it. You can also write your own stories and share them with your friends.
This app is also doing quite well in the rankings. Hopefully, today’s teens know what a real book looks like.