Handheld story-sharing the next user-gen trend?

Take a look around any busy subway or streetcar, and chances are you'll see one person reading a book and another looking at a mobile screen. Wattpad is betting both types can find something interesting from its new story-sharing service.

Toronto-based Wattpad has launched a story-sharing service that enables mobile users to download or upload stuff for reading on the move. The website has already attracted half a million page views since it went live one month ago, and users have downloaded 20,000 stories (everything from James Bond to quote collections for Albert Einstein and Homer Simpson) to mobile devices. Users can upload content by web or mobile, request a specific story or readable item, and download items for free.

The service launched publicly this week, supported by text-ads through Google. Wattpad CEO and founder Ivan Yuen says marketers can currently upload material for reading by mobile users at no charge. Most users access content exclusively by mobile, and Yuen says plans should be complete within two months for a system that allows marketing and sponsorship messages to be delivered via downloads.