Most people agree that reading books is good for you — books can enrich your life, kickstart your self-improvement, and help you learn more about the world. But finding the time to read can be really difficult. So, why not use this simple method to help you read more books?
A number of apps and services are making it profoundly easy to read more books without feeling like you’re expending extra time and effort. By splitting up a book into smaller sections that you can read once a day, you’ll be able to get through books like never before — without having to take more time out of your already busy schedule.
How Serialized Reading Works
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, serials were all the rage. Books like The Pickwick Papers (CA/UK), The Count of Monte Cristo (CA/UK), The Woman in White (CA/UK), and Uncle Tom’s Cabin (CA/UK) were published in magazines one chapter at a time, sometimes over very long periods. It was a popular medium, as periodicals were cheaper than books, and increased literacy meant more people got to enjoy the work that was being created by some phenomenal authors.
Today, the reasons for reading serials has changed a bit. Everyone’s time has become more valuable, and taking the time to sit down and read a book is becoming more difficult. We spend an incalculable number of hours on our computers and mobile devices. Our attention spans might even be shorter. All of these things make serial apps a great option to help you read more books.
Although they’re delivered differently, today’s serials are very similar to the originals from 100 years ago; in short, you get small chunks of a story delivered on a regular basis. Some apps deliver segments you can read in 15 minutes, others give you chapters that vary in length. Many of these apps are free, but some will cost you money. Some deliver daily, some weekly, some on an irregular schedule. But they all help you read more books by delivering small doses of great reads to your phone or inbox on a regular basis.
Let’s look at a handful of serial reading apps.
If you want to read more classic books, Serial Reader is the way to go. By delivering sections of books that can be read in 20 minutes or less, you can easily get through the day’s reading on the bus or over lunch. Subscribe to as many books as you want, and get a new slice of each every day. The app lets you change fonts, colors, and sizes, too, so the reading experience is a good one.
The classic books available on Serial Reader run the gamut from canonical (The Moonstone, Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, and Heart of Darkness) to the less typical (The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft, The Crystal Crypt by Philip K. Dick, and The Captain of the Pole-Star by Arthur Conan Doyle). And new books are being added all the time. Pick a few and get started!
Serial Reader is free, but you can upgrade to the premium version for $2.99 to support the app and get a few more features, like iCloud sync, highlights and notes, and the ability to read ahead.
Serial Box (iOS, Web, eReaders)
If you’re looking for something a bit more substantial than a 15-minute chapter each day, Serial Box has you covered with weekly deliveries that average about 40 minutes to read. You can also listen to them, which is nice if you’re a fan of listening to audiobooks while you work out, drive, or cook. Each “episode” is $1.59, or you can get a season pass for $20.
Serial Box is modeled after TV, with collaborative writing, multiple seasons, weekly installments, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 or 15 episodes per season. If you really liked one season, you can sign up for the next to keep getting more from the authors and stories you’ve come to love.
As of this writing, there are five serials available. Some have very high-profile endorsements, so you can feel good taking a chance on an episode for less than $2! (And you can read season premieres for free to try them out.)
Serial Reader and Serial Box are great, but what if you’re interested in a specific genre that they don’t specialize in? Romance, for example? If you’re into “the steamiest new romances and the hottest book boyfriends,” you should download Crave. Grab a book for $10, and you’ll get a new installment every day for 30 days.
Crave also offers other features, like the ability to message the author, polls, quizzes, videos, photos, audio, and more. The app is described as “part book, part movie, part instant messenger,” and promises a unique reading experience.
If you pay for (or earn) Crave credits, you can also read ahead in your book when you just can’t wait to find out what happens next.
By combining serialized books with crowdfunding (much like Unbound, which we covered a while back), JukePop has created a rather unique way to help authors get their books out to the world and readers get easily digestible sections of books on a regular basis. You can sign up to read an author’s serial entries, and, if you want, invest in their work.
When you invest, you help the author get their work published; it’s not cheap to have a cover designed, get a book edited, engage in marketing, and so on. But authors also agree to share a specific portion of their revenue with their supporters. If you’re curious about this side of JukePop, check out the Investment FAQ.
Even if you’re not, sign up to start getting new works from your favorite genre delivered on a regular basis!
What Are Your Favorite Serial Apps or Books?
These are just four ways to gain access to serial stories and start reading more books without putting in much effort. Reading more is always a good thing, and if you can do it efficiently, you’d be remiss not to! However, there must be more great apps for serialized books out there, and we want to hear all about them.
Do you read serial books or other works? Where do you get them from? Do you think you’ll try any of these services? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!