‘Curation’ is such an overused word in the digital content space these days, it has lost almost any real meaning. But alas, there’s no escaping it, as digital media startups seek to steer consumers away from automation, and back into the human, hand-picked realm.
With that in mind, Paragraph Shorts is the latest ‘curated’ iPad magazine to hit Apple’s Newsstand, serving up a selection of hand-picked short stories in text, audio and video.
How it works
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Each week, the guys at Paragraph Shorts select seven stories from the likes of The Paris Review, The New Yorker, The Moth, The Guardian and others, and present them in a beautiful magazine for the public’s consumption.
Content aside, the presentation and layout of Paragraph Shorts is pleasing on the eye. However, in landscape mode, there is a stream of Twitter and Facebook updates from the authors and publications the original stories appear in. I found this a little distracting, and I don’t think it really adds much to the experience – you can make it disappear by reading in portrait mode, of course.
It’s not all about text either – the selections may also contain videos of short story-readings, or audio alternatives too. Little icons at the bottom-right of main thumbnail indicate what the content is. And when you launch it, you can have a choice of whether to read it, or listen to a narration.
You can easily alter the font, text size and such like via the settings menu at the top-right, and you can favorite articles or share them across the social sphere too.
With support for AirPrint and AirPlay, Paragraph Shorts can also shake off its iPad shackles to let users create hard copies, or watch stories from some of the world’s top literary publications on their big screen.
“While the future of the book might be in question, the future of the story is not,” says Ziv Navoth, founder and CEO of New York-based Paragraph. “The short story is the perfect antidote for today’s stream of ephemeral, trivial updates. But finding a good story requires sifting through hundreds of different sources and unearthing the real gems. That’s where Paragraph Shorts comes in.”
Indeed, that is where Paragraph Shorts comes in. It’s this type of app one imagines the iPad was designed for – short stories rather than books, accompanied by fantastic visuals, seasoned with a sprinkling of multimedia. Perfect.
Paragraph Shorts is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock