With Halloween almost here I thought I’d do a horror-themed review this week (spooky apps are easier to find than Labour Day-related ones).
Type ‘horror’ into the Google Play Store and you get a deluge of poorly-drawn, ghoulish icons, so I picked one pretty much at random and hoped for the best.
The result: 100+ Horror Stories, which is at least 99 better than I was expecting.
100+ Horror Stories bridges that transition between app and eBook. It really is just a collection of stories that you can take with you and read on your phone whenever you want.
Not just any stories either – this collection includes some classics of the horror genre, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
If you’re a fan of horror you’ve probably read a few of these, but even if you’re familiar with the more obvious ones there are still enough lesser-known titles that you can find something new.
My immediate question was how could this work? The app is free, and while it has advertising (one small banner that lurks at the bottom of the screen while you read), would the income from that be enough to cover the licensing costs associated with digitally publishing 100+ well-known works?
But a quick Google suggested that at least a few of these stories are old enough to out of copyright. If that’s the case for all of them – certainly none of them are recent – then maybe there isn’t a problem. I don’t know the ins and outs of publishing laws, but I guess I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt.
The interface and options are very basic. The stories are arranged by author, and selecting one brings it up as scrollable text. That’s it.
No options to adjust the type size, and most annoyingly no option to save your place – if you don’t finish a story in one sitting then next time you’ll have to scroll all the way through to find it again.
This seems like a pretty glaring omission, and one that has annoyed a lot of users if the reviews on the Google Play store are anything to go by.
Still – it’s 100+ horror stories, on your phone, for free. That’s not too bad, really. See if you can read them all by Thursday to get into the Halloween spirit.