New apps experiment with storytelling, getting teens to read

Global Business

It’s no secret that smartphones and tablets have taken plenty of time away from other activities, such as good old-fashioned book reading.

But one startup is experimenting with a new way of storytelling, that’s keeping thousands of readers glued to the text screen.

CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.

Many readers are getting hooked on the new app that offers stories in chat style on smart devices.

You can only read so many quick stories for free before you’re forced to wait unless you pay for immediate access – a cliff hanger of a business model.

More than ten billion fictional messages have been read on Hooked, which consistently ranks near the top of the U.S. book app downloads.

Co-founder Esha Gupta says Hooked gained popularity with 13-to-18 year-old females reading romance and horror, but it’s now spreading to more working women and men.

Other chat story platforms have also entered the market looking to make money off a trend that faces skepticism. Some are concerned that as chat stories hook more and more young readers, they might be steered away from classic literature and more descriptive narrative works.

Audrey Greathouse , one of 300 authors writing on Hooked, does not think so.

“It’s just absurd to think that anything that’s creative, anything that’s new is going to undermine the classics. I think the people picking up these stories are not setting aside Dickens in order to read this,” Greathouse said.

Getting paid for her stories on the app helped her survive, so that she could go on to land a book deal with a publisher for her successful Neverland Wars trilogy. She says chat stories are opening new doors.

Esha Gupta, co-founder and content director, Hooked talks about the app