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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.

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