Looking to engage young readers who are comfortable using mobile devices, Amazon is launching Amazon Rapids, a new app that features short, illustrated stories designed to look like the text-chat feature on smartphones and tablets.
The Amazon Rapids app offers parents access to hundreds of illustrated age-appropriate children’s stories for an introductory price of $2.99 per month. The service—it's available on iOS, Android and Amazon Fire devices—also allows parents to gauge their child's interest in the content via a free two-week trial period.
The stories target children ages 7–12 and are illustrated with cartoon characters that exchange dialogue in a format designed to look like characters texting messages to each other.
Amazon Rapids features stories in a variety of genres, including science fiction, sports, humor, fantasy and mystery. Stories currently available feature household pets chatting back and forth about what their owner is up to, and a grandmother intruding on her granddaughter’s group chat.
The app also feature a built-in glossary (with audio to offer pronunciations of specific words), as well as a "read-me" mode that can speak the story aloud to a child.
Amazon general manager for K–12 education Rohit Agarwal said the app was created with the knowledge that “kids love using phones to chat.” Agarwal added: “We wanted to see what authors and illustrators could create with an app that made it easy to tell stories that way. We’re excited to share Amazon Rapids with parents and their kids.”