Wattpad goes Freemium, announces plans to sell content

wattpad_logoAfter dabbling in crowd funding and briefly experimenting with native advertising, Wattpad announced yesterday that their new plan to generate revenue would involve a more direct approach:

From the Wattpad blog:

To that end, we’re making it simpler for readers to financially support the writers they love.

One way to accomplish this is through adding enriching, paid content to Wattpad. We’re pursuing this kind of content as an early experiment intended to improve the experience for readers and writers alike. Where we introduce paid content, it will add new dimensions to existing free stories through bonus chapters, different points of view, or full stories that expand the original narrative.

For Wattpad readers, this paid content will take the form of optional extras added to your Wattpad reading experience. Wattpad was built free and will remain that way. The app will always be free, and there will always be a wealth of stories to read for free.

Like many free services, Wattpad struggles with finding a source of revenue, and Wattpad’s focus as a writing community made it doubly difficult.

Unlike reader-focused communities like The Reading Room, which are a natural fit for an ebookstore, communities like Wattpad usually have to charge for premium services, like the smaller writing community Wattpad acquired this year or like BookCountry (which crawled into bed with Author Solutions).

The compromise of a freemium model may not generate the most revenue but it does strike me as the least worst solution.


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor 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.


  1. Fujifan3 December, 2014

    VAT is essentially a sales tax paid by the consumer – companies may pay VAT on goods and services but can claim this expense back, see: https://www.gov.uk/reclaim-vat

    The earlier comment is right on – Starbucks, Amazon, and just about every other major corporation is using loopholes in tax law to move profits overseas to ‘tax havens’, like Luxembourg, which has ridiculously low rates, specifically to attract this kind of business. The result is that in the UK, the 7th richest society in the world, we now have a category called, “the working poor”, who are using food kitchens and food banks. Big business has neither morals nor ethics and any move to get them to pay for the services and infrastructure that I am as taxpayer am helping to fund is going to bet my support!

    1. Nate Hoffelder3 December, 2014

      Except that Google’s revenues mostly comes from advertisers, so it’s not passed along to consumers.

  2. Book Marketing Changes Gears Amid Social Media Shifts | Digital Book World4 December, 2014

    […] Wattpad Adds a Paywall (The Digital Reader) The digital storytelling community Wattpad announces it’s adding paid content “as an early experiment intended to improve the experience for readers and writers alike.” Much of the new content will build off of or add to works that will remain free to users. Related: Ashleigh Gardner, Head of Content at Wattpad, Talks Wattpad, Online Fandom and Digital Marketing at DBW15 […]

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    […] publisher Pentian, which is expanding into the English market, not to mention Wattpad, which recently added a paywall. Whom do you consider your chief competitors, and where do you see a space in the […]

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