Review: Rooster Reader App Motivates Non-readers and Philistines

No one has time to read anymore. At least, that’s what the team behind Rooster is hoping. The iOS app, created by a team of writers and technologists, is geared toward people who are too busy browsing their social networks to read a 500-page novel. To make powering through a book seem less daunting, each one is broken up into installments. Whereas chapters would range between a few pages to dozens, each installment is time-based–15 minutes a piece.

We tested out the $4.99 app for a few weeks to see if technology can really get someone to read more. Check out the full review below.

The App

Once you launch the app, you’ll see the two books the Rooster team has chosen for you: one contemporary and one classic.

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Subscribers are sent two books once a month, which seems like the perfect cadence and amount for people on the go who aren’t avid readers.

Click on a title and you’ll see a synopsis of the book, the number of installments, and the option to begin reading or add the book to your queue. Within each installment, a countdown is displayed on the bottom of the page, cheering you on as you swipe past each page. I found the countdown to be a strong source of motivation; each time I looked down while reading and saw I only had 5 pages left, I pushed through to finish the section.

And once you do finish, you have the option of starting the next installment immediately or waiting for the scheduled time when it’s delivered to your phone, which you can set manually.

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Reader’s Delight

By cutting up books into bite-size pieces, reading a Herman Melville book seemed less intimidating. And thanks to the notifications sent to my phone when a new installment was ready, I was reminded to finish the book I’d started. Unlike reading books through Amazon’s Kindle app, I didn’t feel overwhelmed with choices and pages. Of course, I’m already a pretty avid reader, so this app does not necessarily target me either. Once the novelty of the app wore off, I opted for books I’d purchased on my Kindle over the Rooster selections.

The success of the app will be largely dependent on how well the selected titles work for the reader. Because Rooster’s editorial team is only picking two books a month, the curtailed choices have to be dead on for the reader. Otherwise, why would anyone pay for the service? I’m hoping Rooster can add a customization element to the app and give readers more options tailored to their taste in books.

But to me, Rooster is all about the technology behind it. After reading the contemporary option, “I Was Here” by Rachel Kadish, in the app, I had one thought: Why can’t every book be available on Rooster? There’s certainly no reason Amazon, Google, and Apple can’t jump on this innovation and add their own timed mode to their reading applications. If this picks up speed perhaps yet another big money acquisition could be in the works.

For those in need of reading motivation, Rooser could be a great tool. I recommend you try the app yourself. However, if you don’t want to pay the $4.99, you can always set a stopwatch. Of course, there’s also a 2-week free trial by request.

Source: Rooster