In the past year, open reading platform and forum Wattpad saw an exponential increase in user traffic, evidenced by the more than 41 billion minutes that its members spent reading online in 2013, more than double the use of the year before. Coincidentally, in a year spent collaborating with other platforms to form new connections and new opportunities for authors, ebook distributor and self-publishing platform Smashwords also saw a 45% increase in titles published to the site. For both companies, it demonstrates that the initial predictions that self-publishing was a fad are proving to not be true.
“We’ve redefined what it means to be a reader by empowering a new generation to read, create and shape the stories that matter to them, all from their mobile devices,” said Allen Lau, Wattpad Co-Founder and CEO. “We’ve seen major growth in 2013 thanks to the incredibly active Wattpad community. We expect an even bigger year ahead, and ultimately, a future where millions of original stories are created every day.”
Wattpad released other interesting statistics, such as the fact that 85 percent of user time is spent accessing Wattpad from a mobile phone or tablet. In other related news, fan fiction continued to thrive on the site, with 7.5 million new works of fan fiction started in 2013.
Smashwords’ CEO Mark Coker has already released his end of the year blog post, along with his predictions for 2014, but has also promised that new features are coming for the self-publishing platform this year. Coker has hinted that those features will include more author control, a concept that company has already initiated with its recently revamped website. The upcoming changes, in Coker’s words, are designed to give authors an even greater advantage in the publishing marketplace, a promise that Smashwords has already made good on with the inclusion of their catalog in the Oyster and Scribd ebook subscription services.