Figures from story-sharing and writers’ social media platform Wattpad suggest that today’s tablets are becoming as much the writer’s tool of choice as their classical namesakes were for Greek and Roman scribes. And although I haven’t been able to track down the original Wattpad press release, the data points quoted from it and shared via Mediabistro are compelling enough. According to these, more than 50 percent of its members have contributed a story to Wattpad via either tablet or mobile phone during 2013, with more than 83 percent of access to Wattpad from such devices.

wattpadAccording to the quted press release, “the Wattpad community spent 87 million minutes each day reading and sharing stories from their phones and tablets last year.” Smartphones may hardly be the ideal form factor for extensive writing, but this doesn’t seem to have slowed down the Wattpad contributors much. As Wattpad’s own site outlines, Wattpad is also available as an iOS and Android app, and over 70% of our readers enjoy their stories using a mobile device, even when offline!”

Given the nature of Wattpad’s platform, its usage stats may incorporate a bias towards mobile and online usage. But they are equally likely to reflect usage in the self-publishing community as a whole. Despite the atavistic attractions of typewriters and other tools, the portability and convenience of mobile is clearly enough of a draw for the writing community as a whole – enough for them to spend time fiddling with 4-inch screens. Expect more of this in future.



  1. I will say that I’ve been known to use my Android tablet and a Bluetooth keyboard to write in Google Docs on the shared-universe stories I’ve been working on with friends. I’ve done a little of my writing that way, too. (And before that, I used my iPad and the keyboard.) It’s nice for writing somewhere away from it all, and when I’m done I can just go back to my desktop, open Google Docs, and there it is.

    (It’s a bit annoying that the tablet Docs implementations don’t have the sidebar chat window, but my co-writers and I work around that with a Google Hangout.)

  2. So what about the various dictation systems available on mobile devices? There is real-time dictation and dictation from recorded audio. Though not perfect and requiring some corrective editing, these solutions are faster for some writers regardless of the keyboard used.

  3. I do much of my fiction writing on my iPad (in Pages) with my Bluetooth keyboard. I also write articles both for this site and GadgeTell on my iPad or Nexus 7 using Simplenote. I like Simplenote because it syncs to all my devices and doesn’t add any odd formatting.

    @David, writing an entire novel on my iPhone with no Bluetooth keyboard is daunting. I’ve tried a few short stories that way, and I usually give up after 1000 words or so. I admire anyone who can stick with it, though!

    • @Frank, I watched a young woman on a plane typing at that rate, and I couldn’t believe it. She didn’t even seem to be working as hard at it as the person in the video. And, if I remember correctly, she was one finger typing at that rate. It was a sight!

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