Keitai lessons in writing for mobiles

Here’s an interesting piece from blogger Martyn Daniels looking at what we can learn from the Keitai cellphone novel, a uniquely Japanese phenomenon that’s seen many of its bestsellers begin life on mobiles.

Among the points he makes:

  • Keitei’s appeal is to younger readers in Japan and has yet to cross the age chasm. These readers are often referred to as ‘yutori’, slang for those who cannot read properly.
  • Reading on Japan’s crowded trains is where Keitai comes into its own
  • Keitai novels are written to work in this small format and with brief installments that can be read between train stops

Daniels makes the point that Western ebooks are still stamped out as electronic replicas of their paper equivalents. This might make sense in the short term as a cheap way to get digital content in bulk, but it’s clearly not the way to maximise the new opportunity, especially with something as radically different (but potentially effective) as the mobile phone – and now smartphone – formats.

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