The Wall Street Journalreports that cellphone fiction is really selling in Japan. One cell phone book has sold over 1.3 million copies. The article says most of these mobile novels are written by young people and they tend to be stories about love, relationships and friendship.
In Japan, the cellphone is stirring the nation's staid fiction market. Young amateur writers in their teens and 20s who long ago mastered the art of zapping off emails and blogs on their cellphones, find it a convenient medium in which to loose their creative energies and get their stuff onto the Internet. For readers, mostly teenage girls who use their phones for an increasingly wide range of activities, from writing group diaries to listening to music, the mobile novel, as the genre is called, is the latest form of entertainment on the go.
Most of these novels, with their simple language and skimpy scene-setting, are rather unpolished. They are almost always on familiar themes about love and friendship. But they are hugely popular, and publishers are delighted with them. Book sales in Japan fell 15% between 1996 and 2006, according to the Research Institute for Publications. Several cellphone novels have been turned into real books, selling millions of copies and topping the best-seller lists. "Love Sky," one of the biggest successes so far, is about a boy with cancer who breaks up with his girlfriend to spare her the pain of his death. It has sold more than 1.3 million copies and is being made into a movie due out in November.
The article says the mobile novels with the most subscribers are also selling well in the bookstores as printed books. The mobile novelists write the novels on their cell phones which often results in sore fingers. The WSJ article says one of the mobile novelists Satomi Nakamura "broke a blood vessel on her right little finger" from writing her stories using her cell phone.