Ease of Use… 4/5
ShortStories is the short story section of East of the Web developed by Hyperfiction. The ShortStories site features short stories written by well-known authors as well as new or independent authors (meaning, just about anybody can submit their stories to this website). However, the standard of submissions is extremely high and Hyperfiction may not publish the stories if it deems it unfit for publication on the site.
The month’s featured stories are displayed on the home page. You can also browse the library by genre or search for a title, author or keyword. Clicking on an author’s name lists all the stories written by that author along with further information and links. Stories can be read online, printed or downloaded for reading offline or on handheld devices.The home page has links to the top 10 stories based on user ratings. There is also a story of the day page which, as the name suggests, changes every day. If you’d rather let fate select a story for you, there’s even a random story section that displays a link to a randomly selected story.
Stories are organised into nine categories:
- sci-fi & fantasy
- children’s stories
Each of the category pages has its own Top Stories, Random Story and Featured Stories sections.
You can search for stories across all categories by entering the name of an author, story or a description of a story into the search text field. All stories are listed with brief summaries – clicking on the story title will take you to the page containing the story itself. Clicking on an author’s name will list all that author’s stories along with further information such as a biography and links. All short stories are available online and can be downloaded and printed.
Registration is free and is required only if you will be submitting your stories to the site. The site does not allow registrations from children aged less than 13 (though they can access the stories) and requires consent from parents/guardians for children aged 13 to 18.
Note: Though the Terms page mentions registration, I couldn’t find any Registration/Sign-up or Sign-in link. Though they have a submissions page, that page only provides instructions on how to submit, and submission requirements. There is no form for submissions; you have to submit your stories via email. I guess they’ll manually create an account when you first submit a story, once it is approved/published by them.
This is a very simple but well-organized site. All submitted stories are moderated, so you can be sure that only stories that pass the high standards of submission will be published.
The categories, bookshelf, age and user ratings, top stories, and random story features all show that the site has been well planned taking readers’ requirements into consideration.
Reviewed on 29-Apr-2013
What I liked about the site:
- The stories are categorized making it easy to read a story depending on your mood.
- All stories have age ratings (U,PG, 15, and 18) similar to the ratings we see for movies.
- Users ratings are available so you can see how popular a story is before you start reading it.
- Users can provide feedback on the stories via the comment box.
- The length of the story is given (x pages) making it easy to select stories based on the amount of free time you have.
- You can place stories on your personal bookshelf for later viewing (somewhat like a “wish-list”). You can also have a list of favorite authors and stories on your bookshelf.
- Double clicking on any word in a story will bring up a dictionary definition along with an audio pronunciation of the word.
What I didn’t like about the site:
- This is supposed to be a site about short stories. Still, there are links to word games and other interactive games. I’d have been happier had they remained focused on the topic of the site—short stories.