The Rooster App is a Solution in Search of a Problem

WhenRoosterApp-ScreenandDevice-copy[1] the Rooster reading app debuted a couple weeks ago, I commented that I didn’t see what need it filled. Now that the early user reviews it appears that I was correct.

This service charges $5 a month to send bite-sized chunks of a novel to your iPhone on a regular schedule, ostensibly so readers aren’t intimidated by a large novel and so they won’t forget to finish it.

I’ve never suffered from either problem, and neither has Juli Monroe, who reviewed the service over at TeleRead:

I don’t have a problem remember to read throughout the day. So sending reminders to me is of no value. I’m a voracious reader, so $4.99 a month for two books, which I may or may not like, is not a compelling proposition. My iPhone is my last choice of reader, so the current single-platform element of the service is off-putting. (Did anyone else notice the image on their homepage of someone reading on what I think is an iPad Mini?)

Incidentally, I wasn’t crazy about either choice this month. Melville is not a writer I enjoy so I skipped Billy Budd, and I couldn’t get into the other story. It appears as if they are appealing to the literary fiction crowd, and I’m not one of those. I did read that they are considering adding genre fiction, which is probably a good move.

What about the pushing of bite-sized content? I found it distracted me from reading because I was too aware of the limit. Yes, you can download the next installment when you finish the current one, but it’s not the same as getting immersed in a book. Again, the service isn’t aimed at immersion, and I get that, but it distracted me. I keep a short story anthology on my reader if I need something quick to read on the go, and that approach works better for me.

Oh, and it’s set up to keep you on one book at a time. To switch, you have to “suspend” the other title. It’s easy enough to switch, but there are a couple of extra steps involved.

Juli suggested that a reader would get a better deal from subscribing to Scribd or Oyster. Not only do those services offer a much larger selection, they also don’t restrict how and when you read.

And if you don’t want to shell out the money, I would suggest getting a free reading app like Bluefire and downloading ebooks from a free ebook site. This option can be quite satisfactory and cost no more than electricity.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

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