Reviews of Popular Reading and Writing Apps

July 15, 2017 Product Reviews, Technology 0


Reading/writing apps have become really big lately since they’re easy to use on-the-go and mostly free. I made a list of a few of the more popular apps, so that you guys can have all the info to help you pick the right one for you!

Wattpad

Available on: iPhone and Android
Web/Phone App: Both
Languages: 56+
Paid/Free: Free
Personalization: A-
Updates: B+
Reading: B+
Writing: A+
Cool Features: Clubs, Cover app, After Dark app
Issues: Notification System, Lagging Website, Trouble Finding Old Stories

Wattpad is one of the most common reading/writing apps, and for good reason. It’s easy to use, it has a large selection of languages to read/write in, it has a large capacity for personalization, and it has a wide variety of stories. It’s an app made for people to write their own stories without charge, so reliability is based on authors dedicating time to upload new content. If you are a writer, it’s a good place to start, because you can track all of your story statistics (chapter reads, votes, comments, and followers).

Personalization

Points for key factors like being able to upload both a profile picture and background, individual stories with blurbs covers and unique tags, and a description box with a 2000 character limit. Points off for not being able to format (font, colors, etc).

Updates

Regular updates (every few weeks). Up until recently, Wattpad had a clever way of getting users to check them out. They’d list updates like a story, making Update a man and the reader a woman who was interested in him. It was funny, clever, and got me to pay attention to what was being changed about the app without boring me. Wattpad hasn’t done this in the past 2-3 updates, though, so I’m unsure if it’ll continue.

Reading

You can read basically anything. I typed “vampire witch baby” into the search bar and found a story in seconds (see, anything!).  Points for the help center, where you’re given options to change things like font size and type, screen brightness and color, and reading mode (scroll or page). Points off because the part of the blurb that tells you how many parts of the story and when it was last updated is basically like the fine print, it’s so small and out of the way, which combined can be so frustrating that you throw your phone.

Writing

Great range of customizable features, like the tag system, ability to create and upload your own cover (yes, Wattpad has a Cover app just for that!), and the fact that you can write for free.

Issues

It has a notification system that forces you to get an alert for every chapter updated (which gets extremely annoying when authors decide to mass update/edit, and you get upwards of 50 alerts in an hour). The website has been known to lag, which gets worse when you use the club tab (loading thousands of messages with an imperfect sorting system does that). You also sometimes experience issues finding old stories. Since Wattpad is so customizable, and authors can edit their story titles/tags whenever they want, it can become next to impossible to find a story you read a couple months back. A solution is to put it in a specific reading list, or archive it so that when you go back to search for it, you know where it’s at.

Overall, Wattpad is my favorite app to use, on both my phone and my computer!

Note: Wattpad also came out with an After Dark app, which is basically 18+ Wattpad. I’m not going to make an entry on it because I personally don’t see it as a worthy standalone app. It’s good for finding mature stories, but I have a reading list for just that, so I don’t see the point in it.

Radish

Available on: iPhone and Android
Web/Phone App: Phone Only
Languages: ???
Paid/Free: Both Free / Pay by Chapter Stories
Personalization: D-
Updates: B+
Reading: B+
Writing: D+
Cool Features: Getting Paid for Your Work, “Heart-ing” Stories
Issues: Becoming a Writer, Story Selection, Updates from Radish to Wattpad

Radish has become a guilty pleasure of mine. I gave it bad marks for some features, but I’ve been using it more than Wattpad on some occasions. Radish is a new-ish app that allows for writers with a cult following to get paid for their work. It’s a free to use app, with a nice selection of free to read stories and an even larger selection of pay-by-chapter stories. Coins can be bought from the store for as low as 6 coins to as high as 182 coins. In the store, you pay roughly $0.16½ per coin. Paid chapters are 3 coins, so you’re paying $0.49½ per chapter. Overall, it is a good system, because a 20 chapter story on Radish would cost you approximately $10, not far from what you might pay in a bookstore.

Personalization

Limited for readers, because at most you can create a username (which you can’t change afterward) and upload a profile picture. Authors get more personalization, which includes a description box that you read when you go to their profile.

Updates

Radish has regular updates, but nothing that blows us out of the water.

Reading

You can read stories by established authors that are known for their skill. Like Wattpad, you’re restricted to the authors’ upload speed, so you might wait weeks before you get an update. You can change the font size and type (between three options), as well as the screen brightness and color. A cool feature is being able to “heart” a chapter, which is similar to voting for a story on Wattpad, except there’s no limit to how many hearts you can add. The other night I spent ten minutes “heart-ing” a chapter. I think I added over 400 hearts. It was worth it.

Writing

Options are limited due to the writer selection process and payment. You do get paid, but you’re making $0.49½ per chapter that you split with the Radish company, so I’m unaware of how much authors actually make per chapter. You also have to apply to be an author. Radish looks for established authors with already published books or followings on other apps. Once you get approved, you’re able to upload your first story.

Issues

The issues with this app are important to know. Becoming a writer for Radish is a process that may or may not be worth it in the long run. There’s also a way smaller story selection as compared to Wattpad due to author applications as well as most stories having paid chapters that you might not want to pay for. If you’re an author, you’re also bound by a contract that (I’m going off what I’ve heard from my author friends, since I’m not an author on there myself) says you have to wait a period of about 3 months before you can release your chapters uploaded on Radish to other apps like Wattpad. It puts a damper on uploading stories that are in both places. You’re only bound by stories you upload to Radish, so any other story on Wattpad can be updated whenever.

(**): I’m currently applying to be an author on Radish, so my grading system comes from the reader perspective. If I’m approved, I’ll write a post specifically for Radish, from an author perspective.

Sweek

Available on: iPhone and Android
Web/Phone App: Both
Languages: 66+
Paid or Free: Free
Personalization: C+
Updates: C+
Reading: B-
Writing: B+
Cool Features: Blogging, Visually Appealing Website, Classic Novels Available, Self Publishing
Issues: Unknown, Story Selection, Writing Between Apps, Self Publishing TOO Easy

Sweek is a relatively new app, judging by update history, and has only been around for maybe a year. It’s an independent reading/writing app that’s caught attention for offering self-publishing.

Personalization

Users are limited to a profile picture and a 1200 character limit description box. The “edit profile” option is also small and out of the way, making it difficult to find.

Updates

Updates happen irregularly, and an update hasn’t been out since April 25th. Points for the app working spectacularly since the last update, and points off for slow updates.

Reading

You have to rely on the author to update their story. The pool of available stories to read is small since it’s still new. There are a tag system and search bar, but it’s not cohesive between the phone app and the website. On the phone app, tags show up but aren’t searchable. On the website, the search bar is tiny and hard to find. Points for both the app and website being clean and easy on the eyes, so stories can be read without clutter on the sides or funky colors that give the reader a headache. Points off for being unable to search up tags, since I don’t know what story title I’m going for when I search for a new book to read, I’m searching for the CONTENT.

Writing

You’re able to write and upload your own stories, but saving chapters as drafts to work on later is difficult. It’s a two-three step process that involves writing the chapter out, “publishing” it, then hitting another button to “return to chapter and save”. It adds an unnecessary step that is once again out of the way and easy to miss. You can add up to 10 tags on your story, which is both helpful and restrictive, depending on how you look at it.

Sweek has some unique, worthwhile features. It has a blog section, which is a nice touch for writers who are looking to blog. It has a visually appealing, streamlined website, which I much prefer to the app since it’s easy on the eyes and doesn’t make me want to put my laptop away and take an Aspirin. There are Classic novels available, like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, which is nice if you’re in school and those are required novels for homework. It also has a self-publishing feature, which is not only easy to complete but is mostly free, other than a small fee. As the author, it allows you to choose your own price and gives you tips so that you don’t price your book incorrectly. Points for creativity and aiding authors that want to be published non-traditionally. Points off for being SO EASY to publish that poorly written books get published on the site.

The negatives are almost dead even with the positives with this app. Sweek is relatively unknown, meaning it doesn’t have as many users, stories, or features as bigger apps, which see millions of users in a week. It hasn’t had to sustain a large user base yet, so we may see issues in the future when it does grow. Story selection is small. If you switch between Sweek and other writing apps, you’ll have problems getting used to the differences. I’ve been writing on Wattpad since 2010, and it takes me 10 minutes to upload a chapter to Sweek, where it would only take me 2-3 minutes on Wattpad.

Overall, Sweek is fun to use and is good for when you want a break from some of your more binge-worthy apps, but I wouldn’t make it my primary reading/writing app. Self-publishing is worth it since doing it through Sweek allows authors to get tips without too much hassle or cost. It’s new, it’s fresh, and it’s streamlined, but I don’t expect it to overtake other apps as the Best New Thing anytime soon.

What reading/writing apps are most interested in? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Chelsea

About Chelsea

Chelsea is a junior in college studying music therapy. She loves to read and write in her free time and wants to be an author someday. Her favorite genres are YA, dystopian, chick lit, and fantasy. Her bad habits are reading instead of doing her homework and staying up until 4 A.M watching movies. You can add her on Twitter (@chels_crew), Tumblr (casuallyfuckedup.tumblr.com), or Wattpad (@Chelskittle) and message her anytime.

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