Have you heard of Hooked? I just learned about it today from an article in Wired. Hooked is an iPhone app that lets anyone compose and read stories made entirely of texts. I know phone stories have been super popular in Japan for years among the younger crowd but not so much here. Perhaps Hooked is the start?

The app was created by Prerna Gupta who experiemented with publishing her own stories in a mobile app and was surprised to discover that only 15% of readers read to the end even if the story only took five minutes to read. So the idea for Hooked was born.

Readers read one text message at a time and hit a big “Next” button to get the next text. Completion rates shot up to 85 percent. The app launched last fall and since then Gupta has published 9,000 stories. The top ten stories have had over 100,000 reads each. Pretty impressive.

I decided to give it a try myself just to see what it is like. The app is free. As soon as I opened it a text loaded. I hit “Next” and each time got a new text in the story. I did not get to choose the story and there was no way I could find to stop the story in progress and choose another one. The only option I could see was to keep hitting “Next.” I was bored in less than a minute but kept going for another minute before deciding to call it quits without finishing the story.

The story I got was between Ella and Jacob. Ella had been kidnapped and woke up she knew not where. Jacob was trying to help her somehow. But not knowing anything about Ella or Jacob I found it hard to care whether or not Ella was rescued. The texts also lacked a certain feeling of authenticity and had me wondering if people in such a situation would really text like that.

My verdict of Hooked? I will stick with real books, thanks.

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