Amazon is bringing storytelling to the touchscreen with its new subscription-based service for kids, Amazon Rapids. The platform offers illustrated short stories for children, presented in a unique chat style, one message at a time, as if the characters in the story are texting each other via an instant messaging app.
Amazon Rapids features hundreds of original short stories by professional writers, growing in number by the dozen each month. The stories range in style and topic from the fantastical to the mundane, and deal with such scenarios as a grandma invading her daughter’s chatgroup, an alien texting a boy before invading Earth, two chickens debating if they should cross the street, and many others.
The IM format of the service is not only perfect for children raised on smartphones, but also allows young readers to move through the stories at their own pace, without being intimidated by big walls of text, Amazon says. Rapids also features a built-in glossary for quickly looking up words, which are then added to the child’s personal glossary for easy reference, as well as a “Read to me” that reads stories out loud. We don’t know yet if a text-to-speech engine will be doing the reading, or if voice-overs will be pre-recorded for each story.
Amazon Rapids is available right now at a special introductory rate of $2.99 a month. Parents can also start a free two-week trial of the service by following the link below.