Online Story Book Websites

Story Reservoir is a pet project I started with the idea of making HTML5-based story books. 

 This website is still in the early stages so I’ve decided to research other websites online story website, and see what they do right, and what could be improved on.

Here’s what I’ve found…

 

1. Storyline Online

storyline.

Storyline Online hosts videos of celebrities reading well known storybooks.  The interface is designed for easy browsing, and reminds me of Netflicks in its approach.

Each book page has a video, a Buy This Book link, even a Teachers Guide PDF.  The website is free, and there is a newsletter that will inform you when new books come out.

2. MagicKeys.com 

This website has been around since 1996 and look it.  But ranks very well on Google when you search for “online storybooks”.

The format is very basic.  Just text and images, along with some arrow buttons. It won’t be winning any design awards but it is still a valid resource.

3. freechildrenstories.com

free children's stories website.

Also has a pretty simple format but it notably more modern than Magic Keys.  Most pages are simple text inters paced with pictures or YouTube video reading the storybook. 

4. Storyjumper.com

story-jumper website.

Storyjumper lets you publish your own stories.  They also have a library of books written by the community.  The format is pretty simple.  The book itself shows up fairly small at the top, which might actually be okay if the goal is to have someone buy a hard copy.

One mobile, the book spread converts into a simple slideshow-like presentation.

5. TinMagPie.com

Tin Magpie is an interactive agency that seems to specialize in online storybooks.  They have a small collection of stories including…

6. Vooks.com

Vooks is an app/service that costs $4.99/month and features various interactive stories that parents and children can read together.

7. Disney Story Central

This site no longer exists, but was a good example of straight-forward user interface.

They presented books a pretty blue background with a slider at the bottom (to indicate where you were in the story), and arrow buttons  that allow you to turn pages.   Honestly, it’s a good study of simple intuitive UI, and wouldn’t be a bad format to consider for our own stories.

custemized.org

custemized.org has a couple of books that you can customize so the story can be about your child.  You can change hair an skin color.

7. Inklewriter

Inklewriter is a tool that lets you create interactive branching stories (like the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books you read when you were a kid). You can also read stories that other people have written.

8. PageFlow

pageflow.io.

Pageflow is a paid software for Multimedia Storytelling, based out of Germany.  They tend to focus on news and human interest stories. However, there’s no reason that I can see that it couldn’t be used for fiction or children’s stories. 

This one reminds me of what I’ve already developed for Storyres.com with my Dragon proof-of-concept.

Something I like about it, is it’s navigation along the right-hand side.  It shows the pages along the right-hand side as well as other critical navigation.  However, it’s more serious approach does seem more grown-up oriented.  The navigation might not be as simple for children to figure out, and it probably has too many buttons.

example article on pageflow.io.
example of pageflow.io and it’s navigation system.

 

mobile UI screenshot.
On mobile, the right-hand navigation is collapsed unless you press this icon.

 

an older screenshot with an earlier version of their UI.
an older screenshot with an earlier version of their UI.

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