mobile literature

e-books? Audiobooks? Yes, I understand their importance in a world in evolution, but it's not my kind of things, at least yet. Some years ago I was quite fond of printing stuff to read: I couldn't even think of reading a book in the screen. I read Underground [1] entirely by printing it in an old plotter that printed pages way more slower than I would read them. Oh, and I wasn't able to do multitasking, so I was reading another book while printing that one. Years later I read quite some magazines and short stories in the screen (computer or more recently on mobile phone), but never a novel. I was quite surprised to see such an huge adoption of audiobooks in Germany when I was there a couple of months ago.

A couple of days ago I read an article and lot's of controversial arguments around it: basicly the story is around the fact that half of Japan's top-10 selling works of fiction in the first six months of the year were composed the same way - on the tiny handset of a mobile phone [2]. Now, after a couple of days my mind is still thinking of this, and I have not very strong but mixed feelings about this. Some say that this is the evolution of the language. Others say that this is going to kill culture. Above that, I think more about if is this an Asian trend or if it will move onto Europe and America, also if isn't this what's going to be the next pop movements. The business model and the success of it doesn't surprise me, tho: after all you can make all kind of parallels between this and MegaTokyo [3], for instance. But I don't know... Is this good? Is this bad? Will be a new method to release good new books? Are the books made this way already released any good? (Most critics say no, but I'm curious to read one or two to make my own mind...)

Yes, I still have to think a lot about this issue. But, in the meanwhile... What are your thoughts on the issue?

[1] - http://www.underground-book.com/
[2] - http://smallr.net/japan-mobile-books
[3] - http://smallr.net/megatokyo


  1. desconhecia por completo esse livro "underground" e parece-me ser do genero que andava a procura. Vou fazer o download da versao txt e experimentar ler no telemovel nas viagens de comboio, pode ser que adira a esse movimento asiático do mobile reading lol.

    Vou linkar para o teu artigo no meu blog :)


  2. Interesting! This writing technique is definitely a Stream of consciousness thing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stream_of_consciousness_writing). It also reminded me of how Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road on a continuous roll of paper. Nevertheless this seems to be another japanese niche, i kinda doubt it will pickup around here.

  3. Rogério, it is an exelent book that I really recommend. If you like it, then consider also seeing a documentary of a slightly different topic: BBS: The Documentary.

  4. Robsan: I agree with you that, for now, it is a Japanese niche, but I wonder if it is just because we still don't have the same conditions in Europe... If we had (because we'll eventually have), would it happen also in Europe?

  5. I think it's related to the extent mobile technology has in Japan, they're so used to mobile phones as portable terminals and not only calling devices. In Europe we don't have the tradition to access information through cell phones, something that is surely related to the (still) prohibitive data charges.

    On another note, i have downloaded "Underground" since on the site was a blurb stating that it was better than "The Hacker Crackdown", which i read on my Amiga's screen back in the day (i had no printer then).