Wattpad Shines on Amateur Writers

Wattpad, from the company by the same name, is an example of socialism in action. Wattpad was founded on the idea it would be an electronic meeting place where any community member could share his or her own content and read content written or contributed by any other community member.

Anyone can upload gothic novels, romance stories, fan fiction, poetry, essays, jokes — you name it — including copyright-free, classic literature. The works are available on Wattpad’s Web site as well as on the iPhone and other mobile platforms.

Wattpad says in a news release that it’s now the world’s most popular destination to upload, read and share books on mobile phones with more than 100,000 ebooks created by the community. Its Wattpad application already accounts for 30 percent of its traffic, according to Eva Lau, COO of Wattpad.

With all that ballyhoo, I downloaded Wattpad for a look-see. I have to admit that even before looking at Wattpad, I figured that I would be reading a lot of “It was a dark and stormy night” kind of stuff. I was wrong, thank goodness. There’s a vast variety of material, not only from amateurs but also literature written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and other famed authors.

Launch Wattpad, and you’ll immediately go to My Library, a list of titles. You can tap one to read or edit the list. The second thing you’ll see are banner ads along the bottom of the screen, which is becoming increasingly common for free apps like Wattpad.

I tapped Printcrime, the first item on the list, which apparently was submitted by an amateur (it was positively woeful, so I’m assuming it was intended as a joke). I tapped the Edit button in the upper right corner of Wattpad, which enabled me to delete some of the less-interesting titles on the list.

After poking around and skimming some of the other titles, I tapped the search button on the bottom menu. On the Search page is a search bar (of course) as well as filters for What’s New, What’s Hot and Recommended Books. I decided to look at What’s Hot. On the list is something titled “71 thing [sic] to know!” It was listed three times, so I figured I’d check it out. It was an amateur-written contribution and I recommend the writer keep his day job. Why the work was listed three times, I have no clue.

I decide to try “Recommended Books” and up popped a list of articles from Wikipedia.

Like many e-book readers these days, you can adjust scroll speed, typeface, typeface color, font and background color.

Wattpad works like most ereaders I’ve seen, although it’s not as slick as Stanza, my favorite ereader. What differientitates Wattpad is its content more than the app. I didn’t find any classic lit that I can’t get on Stanza either.

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