Home » Apps » App Delivers Books in Easy-to-Digest, Bite-Size Chunks for Busy People

App Delivers Books in Easy-to-Digest, Bite-Size Chunks for Busy People

12 March 2014

From Re/Code:

Finding time to sit down with a good book is challenging when you’re constantly faced with work deadlines, taking care of your kids or just dealing with life in general. But a new service called Rooster is looking to fix that by delivering novels in short installments that can easily be read during your commute, a coffee break or whenever you have a free moment in your schedule.

Launching today on iOS for $4.99 per month, Rooster sends subscribers two books every month — one contemporary novel and one classic — split into sections that can be read in as little as 15 minutes. Users set their own schedule for when the next installment arrives on their iPhone or iPad (for example, every morning before your commute to work). But you’re also free to continue reading the next section if you have extra time. It’s a modern take on the serialized fiction format that was made famous by the likes of Charles Dickens and Alexandre Dumas.

Link to the rest at Re/Code and thanks to Joshua for the tip.


31 Comments to “App Delivers Books in Easy-to-Digest, Bite-Size Chunks for Busy People”

  1. So, $5 a month for a bookmark. I will publicly mock anyone I see using this.

    • We laugh, but look at how many people use those little k cups for coffee. $1.50 a cup would change my $15 a month habit into $75 a month.
      It’s really not the quantum leap in convenience they make it out to be, and all the extra packaging is an environmental nightmare.
      And yet, it’s getting increasingly hard to find a traditional percolator.

      Dumb ideas catch on, if the marketing budget is big enough.

      • We use a Keurig sometimes, but ours only cost like 50-75 cents per cup. Still, I’m getting something for that: a quick cup of coffee in a variety of flavors. The alternative is to wait fir a whole pot to brew, and possibly waste that.

        This app literally does nothing but act as a bookmark for readers who apparently are incapable of telling time or closing a book.

      • All hail my French press. Not even any filters to buy. Plus we can take it on backpacking trips.

    • Dude, I don’t even need a bookmark. I just do one of two things. One, power off my Kindle. ‘Cause it remembers for me. Or two, put the book down. ‘Cause I can usually find my spot pretty quickly.

      Apparently, I am AWESOME. Maybe I should run for political office. Or go live on Mars or something.

  2. That’s an interesting method of serialization, though serialized fiction already exists in a few other formats. A good serial has a different structure from a novel, though.

    • But it’s not serialization. At all. It’s just breaking a book up into chunks based upon estimated time to read it.

  3. “Short instalments?” Like what, by the chapter?

    Sorry, this sounds too much like “reading because I ought to” and not enough like “reading because I like to”. You don’t even get to pick the books!

    • Kat, I had the same idea. Folks have to pay for chapter breaks? I’m not sure I get it.

      And what if I want to read ahead to the next chapter–do I have to pay extra for that? Is browsing the entire book a premium service?

  4. Looks like they’re trying to market to a Casual Reader, not a Voracious one.

  5. I have this service already. It’s called, “Reading as much of a book as I have time for.” And it’s free!

  6. About as dumb as that guy you pay to wear your company T-shirt and video himself doing it.

    Oh wait…

  7. Err…I like that anybody is experimenting with books-as-apps, because I think we need more tinkering in that department. But I can just read as long as I have time for using my Kindle, or the Kindle app on my phone, or the Kindle app on either of my two tablets, and it automatically bookmarks each book for me and I can pick up right where I left off when I get back. I can even sync up an audiobook with a Kindle book and switch between listening and reading without losing my place.

    The Kindle app is free.

    I don’t see the point of paying five bucks a month for this. If you have a phone anyway, just get a free Kindle app. You can find more books for free on Amazon than you’ll ever be able to read, PLUS you can CHOOSE them, not have them chosen for you. I now I’m preaching to the choir here, but this is just bizarre.

  8. Like everyone else, I honestly didn’t know you needed an app to do this, haha. I guess I’m an innovator! I feel accomplished now.

    I don’t even bookmark my e-books, though. The Kindle app for my Nexus 7 just uh… sort of picks up where you left off, even if you switch between books. I’m pretty sure you can sync it so that you could do the same with your phone, so you could read on your tablet, then pick up where you left off on your phone, then go back to your tablet? I’m not entirely sure on that one, because I don’t have a fancy phone and I just bring my tablet with me anywhere I want to maybe read, too.

    Seems like an app marketed towards people that don’t understand e-books, I guess. I’m not really sure.

  9. So, I’m paying someone a high fee to assign me classic books to read and tell me how much to read at a time.

    Sounds like college.

  10. Despite all the old-school naysaying commenters frothing at the mouth above, this app might be very successful.

    Not all readers use paper books or e-readers. Lots of them, especially people who live in the eternal present, live and die by the hundreds of little reminders they get on their smartphones.

    Books can adapt to become part of that system.

    There’s a market for this.

    • Yes, recognizing that ebooks automatically hold your place certainly is “old-school.”

      I never said there isn’t a market. I said it was mock-worthy.

      “Gee, I have no concept of time and am incapable of actually choosing a book, let alone remembering where I left off. Now there’s an app to do it for me for only $5 a month!”

      That’s a serious reader, right there. I’d love to see read-through stats for this.

    • Jason, hate to tell you this, but I do most of my reading on my iPhone. I haven’t had a problem yet losing my spot that I need an app that spoon-feeds me.

    • I think this idea might have some viability, however I will be eye rolling at those who use it just like I do those that drink $2 bottles of water.

      If you have the money to burn, go for it.

      • No offense meant to anybody here, of course — being superior readers, all of us — but we’re not a representative sample of the public.

        Never underestimate the willingness of a portion of the public to infantilize itself.

        I can see this app becoming a serious marker of blockbuster status. It will represent the penetration of the one-book-a-year crowd.

  11. I’m all for anything that exposes more readers to more books, even if this app isn’t something I need, for all the reasons posted here. But the Japanese publishers of my books have offered “chunking” (the name they used)of my books in installments via cellphone for a decade or more.

  12. More interesting than the app is the implied comment on the nature of readers. Demand for shorter faster work is on the rise.

  13. I had similar concerns to the chopping up of books and sent in pieces. Seems unnecessary to me for all the reasons above. But, apparently, the app has a feature where if you finish a section, you can get the next one sent to you right away. I think the bigger problem is the curation angle. I was following Porter Anderson’s #etherissue discussion about this on Twitter yesterday, and it looks like this company is hanging its hat on the curation. If I understand, you get 2 books a month, their choice, one classic and one new that they commissioned through some sort of modest advance/profit sharing arrangement with the author. That seems remarkably limited to me, so much so that it may well undermine the entire enterprise. Curation is a popular buzzword these days but it looks to me like readers don’t want curation, especially as extremely limited as this effort, so much as they want choices.

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