Amazon Rapids launches as chat-style book app

The subscription-based app, which features short-form narratives in the form of texts, begets a whole new conversation on tween reading habits.
November 2, 2016

Amazon is looking to tap into kids’ penchants for texting with the launch of Rapids, a subscription-based reading app that offers original short stories in a chat-like format.

Amazon Rapids brings illustrated content to life through messaging, wherein stories are told through the lens of characters who are chatting with each other. Think aliens texting about invading the Earth, or two chickens debating whether or not they should cross the street.

Aimed at tweens, the app features age-appropriate content, a built-in glossary and a read-to-me mode. It is available for iOS, Android and Amazon Fire devices for an introductory rate of US$2.99 per month, and has debuted with hundreds of original stories. New material will be added monthly.

With its kid-friendly tablet offerings, including the Fire Tablet Kids Edition, Amazon has had a hand in the kids digital book space for some time. With Rapids, the e-commerce giant is now deviating from traditional eBook and digital book app formats in effort to tap into the growing demand for digestible short-form content. And moms, for one, may be quick to comply. According to a 2015 study from market researcher Smarty Pants, the majority of US moms of kids ages six to 12 view Amazon as their favorite brand, ahead of Target, Walmart and Netflix.

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