Blloon-in’ marvellous

A new reading app aimed at young adults launched in Britain a few days ago. The app, called Blloon, is the product of a Berlin startup company and follows a freemium model. You can download the app now for free and you are given 1000 pages worth of credit to start reading with straight away. After the 1000 page trial is up, you can gain more credits by reviewing books that you’ve read and by sharing books on social media platforms, or by paying for them.

To begin with, I think that the payment model is great. If you put a bit of effort into the app by taking your time to review books, you are rewarded with free pages. If you’re in a rush and just want to finish the book you’re reading, you can simply pay for a top-up. Another option is a monthly subscription. For £6.99 a month, you get 1000 pages worth of reading. In comparison to the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, this is a bargain, as you can read three, four, or five books per month instead of the one book offered by Amazon. Any unused page credits are banked, which is great for the young person who might have limited free time during a school or university term, but wants to read more during the holidays.

The app looks great and is easy to use. Because there are no prices, just book covers, the display is very colourful and aesthetically pleasing. There are handy ‘readlists’, with labels like ‘duvet books’, ‘books to read at uni’, and ‘Nobel Prize for Literature’ which I think will appeal to many. There are categories related to travel, and specific to different countries or regions, so the app is great if you want to read something that ties in with the part of the world you’re travelling in, especially if you don’t want to carry books around with you.

Blloon offers a great selection of reading material. As soon as the app opens, the reader is presented with top titles, including A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride, and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. As all pages are equal, the app does not have to bombard us with high profit making books, so I feel that the recommendations and highlights are sincere, and I’m optimistic that the app is delivering high quality literature, which I find refreshing.

There are a few snags in the app at the moment – I was unable to log in with Facebook, and making a new account, though I only had to fill in three fields, was a challenge. Of course, this is a minor issue and I’m sure it will be fixed shortly. The only major con in the app is that it is only available at the moment for download on iPhones and iPads, but hopefully it will be rolled out to Android and the like soon. I would recommend the app to everyone who has an Apple device – even if you aren’t keen on ebooks, it’s at least worth it for the books inspiration provided by the readlists, and the 1000 free pages might come in handy one day.

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