Cell phone novel
A cell phone novel, or mobile phone novel (Japanese: 携帯小説 keitai shousetsu; traditional Chinese: 手機小說 pinyin: shŏujī xiǎoshuō), is a literary work originally written on a cellular phone via text messaging. This type of literature originated in Japan, where it has become a popular literary genre. However, its popularity has also spread to other countries internationally, especially to China, Germany, and South Africa. Chapters usually consist of about 70-100 words each due to character limitations on cell phones.
Phone novels started out primarily read and authored by young women on the subject of romantic fiction such as relationships, lovers, rape, love triangles, and pregnancy. However, mobile phone novels are gaining worldwide popularity on broader subjects. Rather than appearing in printed form, the literature is typically sent directly to the reader via SMS text message, chapter by chapter. Japanese ethos of the Internet regarding mobile phone novels are dominated by false names and forged identities. Therefore, identities of the Japanese authors of mobile phone novels are rarely disclosed. "Net transvestites" are of the most extreme play actors of the sort.
Cell phone novels are downloaded in short installments and run on handsets as Java-based applications on a mobile phone. Cell phone novels often appear in three different formats: WMLD, JAVA and TXT. Maho i-Land is the largest cell phone novel site that carries more than a million titles, mainly novice writers, all which are available for free. Maho iLand provides templates for blogs and homepages. It is visited 3.5 billion times each month. In 2007, 98 cell phone novels were published into books. "Love Sky" is a popular phone novel with approximately 12 million views on-line, written by "Mika", that was not only published but turned into a movie. Five out of the ten best selling novels in Japan in 2007 were originally cell phone novels.
The first cell phone novel was “published” in Japan in 2003 by a Tokyo man in his mid-thirties who calls himself "Yoshi". His first cell phone novel was called Deep Love, the story of a teenager engaged in "subsidized dating" (enjō kosai) in Tokyo and contracting AIDS. It became so popular that it was published as an actual book, with 2.6 million copies sold in Japan, then spun off into a television series, a manga, and a movie. The cell phone novel became a hit mainly through word of mouth and gradually started to gain traction in Taiwan, China, and South Korea among young adults. In Japan, several sites offer large prizes to authors (up to $100,000 US) and purchase the publishing rights to the novels.
The movement also became popular in Europe and Africa. In Europe it started in about 2007, promoted by people like Oliver Bendel and Wolfgang Hohlbein, and publishers such as Cosmoblonde or Blackbetty Mobilmedia. Teenagers in South Africa have been downloading an m-novel called Kontax - a novel specifically written for mobile phones. The top cell phone novel in the United States, a novel called Secondhand Memories that can be viewed on Textnovel, has been viewed more than 30,000 times.
Reason for popularity
Although Japan was the original birthplace of the cell phone novel, the phenomenon soon moved to other parts of East Asia, and many of the online writers are university students. These writers understand what narratives will attract young readers, incorporating emergent events or trendy elements from teen culture into their stories.
Cell phone novels create a virtual world for teenagers via the mobile phone, or, more precisely, via text messages. As in virtual online computer games, readers can put themselves into first person in the story. Cell phone novels create a personal space for each individual reader. Paul Levinson, in Information on the Move (2004), says "nowadays, a writer can write just about as easily, anywhere, as a reader can read" and they are "not only personal but portable."
The cell phone novel is changing reading habits; readers no longer need to physically go to a bookshop and purchase a book. They can go online using their cell phone, download a novel, and read it on their personal mobile phone anywhere, any time they wish. Similar to the e-book, its mobility and convenience saves time.
- Howard Rheingold (2002) Smart Mobs: the Next Social Revolution, Perseus, Cambridge, Massachusetts, pp.xi-xxii, 157-182
- Paul Levinson (2004) Cellphone, Palgrave/St. Martin's, New York, pp, 15-33
- Dana Goodyear (2008) The New Yorker; "I <3 Novels" newyorker.com
- Asahi Shimbun (2007) 普通の若者が携帯小説 ベストセラーも続々 books.asahi.com
- United Daily News (2008) 手機小說 「按」出新文學 mag.udn.com
- Mobile Phone Novel Website about cell phone novels
- India gets its first Phone Novel in Malayalam.Written & Presented by P. R. Harikumar
- Novels on your phone futureofthebook.org
- Cell phones put to novel use, wired.com
- New York Times article on cell phone novels New York Times
- Blog about textnovel.com Blog about U.S. mobile phone novel site
- Textnovel -- an English language mobile phone novel website This is the first cell phone novel website in the United States
- The Cell Phone Novel and Twitter Blog entry about cell phone novels
- apple.com Article about Quillpill, which is no longer active
- echcrunch.com article about Quillpill, a site that is no longer active
- Young women develop a genre for the cellular age Dana Goodyear writes in The New Yorker
- ip.tosp.co.jp, The Library of Magics, one of the famous websites for uploading and downloading mobile phone novels in Japan
- gocco.jp, one of the famous websites for uploading and downloading mobile phone novels in Japan.
- English Version of Japan's Biggest Mobile Social Network, Mobile Game Town This site is no longer active.
Mobile phones General ApplicationsApplication development · Application distribution · Banking · Blogging · Commerce · Content · Gambling · Gaming · Health · Instant messaging · Learning · Local search · Location tracking · Marketing · MMS · Music · News · Payment · Publishing · Push e-mail · SMS · Telephony · Text messaging · Ticketing · Web · Cloud computing Culture Devices Environmental health Law Networking
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