Featured review: Storyville

On January 19, 2011

App Type: Uncategorized

Featured review: Storyville

Our rating:

By: Fatty Apps, Inc.

Version #: 1.1

Date Released: 2010-12-01


Price: 4.99

User Rating:

Storyville is for a very specific audience. It is for people that love to read and are fairly constant about it.

The premise of Storyville is this: for $5 every six months, the app will give you a set of short stories to read that are regularly updated. The stories are vetted by editors of the app and could be a public domain story, or a story from independent and major commercial publishers.

The user has limited control over the type of story he or she receives but the purpose of the app is to introduce readers to new literature or writers that they might never have encountered before. The user can also share what they’ve read with friends via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail.

Users do need to register to receive their weekly story. The good news is that registering only requires an e-mail address and a password, so it’s not as big a security concern as other sites. Upon registering, the past months’ worth of stories is automatically downloaded to your device.

The actual reading interface is fairly simple and clean (and somewhat customizable to a set of themes in the Settings section). Page numbers are listed at the bottom. Keep in mind that these are short stories and not novels, so each story only consist of a few dozen iPhone pages and are intended as a quick read.

As a note, you don’t get to keep the books forever. They are removed from the app library either two years later or if your subscription runs out, whichever comes first.

In the end, Storyville is a convenient service for the literati. My only concern is the limited options the user has for selecting stories. Perhaps the creators could allow a person to browse stories based on brief text descriptions and download the ones he or she would like to read.

Quick Take

Value:Medium to high.

Would I Buy Again:Probably.

Learning Curve:Low.

Who Is It For:Literati. Those who like to read short stories.

What I Like:Clean, simple interface. Original concept.

What I Don't Like:Would prefer more user control over content.

Final Statement:As an app, Storyville is quite novel.

Read the Developer's Notes:
Stories are timeless. Once a week. Our forty-plus stories delivered in a year, will, in the words of Poets & Writers, “provide a vibrant picture of the scope and diversity of American writing.”

Storyville publishes one story each week to your iPhone and iPad. The stories are always with you. Take them on the bus, to the airport, in a queue, in bed, or wherever you long for escape.

Our mission is to introduce you to (“Hullo, Reader, Meet a Wonderful Story.” “‘Pleasure.”) unforgettable stories that you may not have otherwise come across. We’re pretty sure about that. We look them up, knock on their door, and invite them for a stay in Storyville. A salon, a party, an unexpected conversation, a mad dash through a museum after hours –– wherever it is that you have that moment of discovery, of something magical, true and entirely new, take a moment to look at the stamp, so to speak, and we’d like to think that it came from Storyville, direct to you.

On a practical level, we will publish stories from new collections put out by dynamic and passionate independent presses, including Graywolf Press, Soft Skull Press, Akashic Books, Archipelago Books, and many more. And we will publish new work put out by the best established houses: Grove/Atlantic, Penguin, W.W. Norton, Random House, Scribners, and Simon and Schuster, and HarperCollins. We will publish your favorite writers of today and yesterday, and the emerging voices of tomorrow, and we’ll do all high style, and in the grand tradition, with a twist.

Some of the boldface names (the bolder, the better!) you can expect to see very soon: Ben Greenman, Mavis Gallant, Joe Meno, Kate Bernheimer, Xiaoda Xiao, Belle Boggs, and many more.

A six-month subscription to Storyville costs $4.99 and you will receive:

o Twenty-plus stories, with a new story delivered each week

o An archive that will remain for the length of your subscription

o Stories by award-winning authors published by top independent and literary presses

o New stories, from singular voices, that are ours exclusively

o Unearthed gems by famous masters of the form, like D.H. Lawrence and Franz Kafka

o An easy to use interface with alerts and changeable settings

o Social media integration that will offer a chance to share your favorites with your friends

You’ll need to register with Storyville after the app is installed –– just a username and password is required. Registration enables you, dear subscriber, to get updates on stories and read stories on more than one device. Join us today in Storyville.

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bradt has written 504 awesome app reviews.