Feb 29, 2012
Wattpad is an online library of over 100,000 free books all stored in the cloud. It has a community of authors who contribute these stories through the app – with interaction from readers who can vote, comment or leave a suggestion. Although no login credentials are required to start the app, one can log in using a Facebook account, or by setting up a Wattpad account. The home page then offers two default featured titles, giving a button below to see more books from their vast selection.
Most, if not all, stories are contemporary fiction genres – from teen to suspense thrillers. The fly out style menus make browsing intuitive enough to make sense to the first time user. Tap on a genre and all titles are presented with a thumbnail of the book cover and a synopsis. The rest of the summary can be expanded and collapsed by tapping on the end of the paragraph. To choose a book, simply tap on the thumbnail or book title to show first page. The loading time is acceptable considering the amount of data the app has. It shouldn’t take too long with a good Internet connection. When hitting the Back button, there is an option to save the book to the library. Choosing “Yes” will include that book in the home page the next time the app is opened.
The text and other elements of the book can be adjusted by tapping on the Menu button. The text size, color and font face can be changed, as well as the background colors. The colors are all preset and there is no option to manually set it. Scrolling up and down the text is an okay experience, it’s not the best but it’s also not the worst. The text scrolls by paragraph, so scrolling through the story feels a bit choppy and awkward at first. However, the overall stable performance of the app makes this a very minor flaw. The user can also double tap the screen for making the text scroll automatically.
Although the app itself has good features, the quality of books found in the network can sometimes throw a reader off. Typos, incorrect grammar and awkward phrases are not good things to spot in any published work. Because the network allows for anyone to submit e-books, quality control may not be so prevalent given the volume of submissions.
Wattpad may not be as feature-rich as other e-book readers, but it does offer more free book titles than any other e-book store in the Market. For a voracious reader who is not particular with an author’s popularity and is open to reading anything, this app is a great reading companion. It does, however, fall short on aesthetic and functional aspects of an e-book reader. Ultimately, the reader decides which features are more important for them, but this app surely is worth a try.