ONCE UPON A TIME

Amazon’s new app tells stories to kids like a text message exchange

Obsession
Messaging
Obsession
Messaging

Amazon’s tentacles are spreading far and wide. The one-time book delivery service is now a TV and film studio, a book publisher, and in its latest venture, an experimental fiction maker.

Its new app launched on Nov. 2, Amazon Rapids, tells stories to kids by simulating two people messaging each other. The reader-user reads more by tapping after each text.

Designed to look like a messaging app, Rapids imitates a narrative unfolding through live conversation, much the same way Quartz’s own news app does.

Its looks mimic that of the addictive app Hooked, which tells stories through the same conversational UI. Billed as “Fiction for the Snapchat generation” and marketed toward readers aged 13 to 24, Hooked was a finalist for this year’s Fast Company’s Co.Design innovation awards in the app category.

“The text message format appeals to young readers, because it is visceral, conversational and bite-sized,” says Hooked CEO Prerna Gupta. “All critical elements when you’re trying to capture the attention of a young person who is otherwise glued to Instagram and Snapchat all day.”

Available on iOS, Android, and Amazon’s Fire tablets, a subscription to Rapids is available for $2.99 a month. According to a release, “dozens” of new stories will be added monthly.

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