According to my research, kids these days only love a few things: instant messaging, vaping, and, um, *checks sheet* windsurfing? It’s that first one, though, that Amazon is relying on as a way to get young people interested in reading, with its new Amazon Rapids service. The subscription-based system offers a range of kids stories, but rather than being told in chapters and paragraphs, they’re shown in small text message-size snippets, and presented as if the story’s characters are DMing each other.
In addition to introducing stories in a format kids will be used to, Amazon says Rapids lets them read at their own pace, absorbing short messages one a time rather than being presented with vast tracts of texts that may put off a less-than-confident young reader. The app can also read stories out loud, and includes glossaries, so users can look up any words they don’t know and check how to pronounce them.
Amazon’s own Kindle is a better option for dedicated young readers, and book purists might turn their noses up at stories told via an ersatz iMessage app, but parents will likely enjoy being able to hand their phones to their offspring and know they’re reading something intellectually stimulating. The iOS, Android, and Amazon Rapids apps are live now, and for $2.99 a month, subscribers get access to hundreds of Rapids-exclusive stories, with Amazon promising more every month.