Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wattpad, publishing and libraries

In a previous post entitled, 'Thoughts about librarians as publishers', I expressed the viewpoint that libraries could participate in disrupting publishing by becoming new players in the publishing market. Well in today's post, I offer a similar viewpoint, but by discussing new player in digital publishing that is doing exactly what I recommended for libraries in my previous post.

I was recently led to discover a self-described 'unlimited, ever-growing library of free books and stories' named Wattpad (URL: ). On Wattpad, users are able to discover fictional writing, share stories with friends and follow authors of interest chapter-by-chapter online and across mobile devices. It is also described as a 'new form of collaborative entertainment that connects readers and writers through storytelling and creative fiction while offering mobile and social eReading experiences'. It also describes itself as a community of readers and writers. Finally, it is free!

According to TechCrunch writer, Darrell Etherington (2013), Wattpad is an online 'Toronto-based social network based on writing and reading'. On the other hand, the site is described by Social Times writer Devon Glenn (2012) as a digital 'publishing platform' that seeks to become the YouTube for Writers and Readers. Mashable writer Adam PopeScu (2013), describes Wattpad as 'the biggest under-the-radar e-literature community on the web' as well as a 'storytelling and consumption platform for readers who want deeper interaction' (2013). Already, amateur authors have been able through the platform to land book deals from traditional publishing company according to a Huffington Post news article ('Online Writing Turned Book Deals', 2013). 

In my view, I like that Wattpad describes itself as an 'ever-growing library' as that is what I believe it is. It is a free library where authors and readers are connected without the middle man of publishing houses. Wattpad in my view is the perfect model for public libraries that want to expand their e-book collections without having to pay the ridiculous licensing fees of traditional publishers. I suggest that such libraries invest their e-book monies into platforms to host works of local and established authors, and enable community and interaction between readers and the authors in socially virtual spaces. It is my view point that Wattpad is one of our latest competitors in library-land (at least for public libraries).


Etherington, D. (2013, Aug. 12). Wattpad launches new self-publishing crowdfunding, first revenue model for the social network. Retrieved from

Glenn, D. (2012, Dec. 4). How Wattpad plans to turn its publishing platform into YouTube for writers. 

'Online writing turned book deals: Three teen authors who got their big break online'. (2013, Mar. 23). Retireved from

PopeScu, A. (2013, Sep. 30). Wattpad is the most active social site you've never heard of. Retrieved from

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