Novel Idea: Cell-Phone Books

Apologies to Tolstoy, but one of the biggest novelists these days is a 15-year-old in Japan who wrote a book from her cell phone using her thumbs. Really.

The new type of storytelling is called “keitai” – cell-phone novels. Aimed squarely at those who can’t be parted from their mobiles, teens – mostly young women readers and writers – have turned the cell-phone story into the must-read phone book.

According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, the way it works is writers keep to a cell-screen-friendly 1,000-character limit per page and upload from their phones to publishing websites, then get instant feedback on plot twists and helpful fixes on typos. With a million cell-phone books and 6 million users, fans are giving the new craze a ringing endorsement.
Find other books for cell phones.

The Jane Austen of the text-u-scripts is a 15-year-old who goes by the handle Bunny. Her three-volume book “Wolf Boy x Natural Girl” got its start on cell screens but ended up in print. She has sold a whopping 110,000 books so far and raked in over $600,000 in sales. Not bad for a first-time author who hasn’t even taken her high-school entrance exams. The Harlequin-style romance that reads more like notes passed in class has embarrassed the author enough that she continues to go by her alias.

No offense, but you can see why when you read some typical lines: “Miku was in a pink one-piece dress, wearing white heels. She looks mature because her hair is lightly curled. She’s looking straight at me. It’s hard to keep my cool when she’s looking at me like that.”

The mobile-book trend actually took off last decade through an older author who wrote a serious story called “Deep Love,” about a woman who sells herself to pay for her boyfriend’s surgery, then ends up dying from AIDS. Seriously, people read that on their cell phones? Well, not any more. The economic downturn has been good for mobile books that are more escapist than edgy. Well, we can’t all be Tolstoy.

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