Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Keitai Novels

There are many differences between Japanese and western cultures. The differences have always been fascinating to try and understand. Over 15 years ago they were installing high cost robotics to clean department stores after work and also handing out fully charged credit cards over the counter. Today their approach to digital books again shows us differences in culture and the impact that this can have on the adoption of technology.

Would you expect the size of modern handbags to drive ebook downloads to mobiles? It may not be the factor but it is one recently attributed to ‘keitai author’ Mica Naitoh. What is a ‘keitai author’? This is a new bread of authors who are write books for your keitia or mobile phone. These are written in instalments and in 5 years have jumped from zero to a $82 million and growing business.

Publishers first tried established authors but they didn’t sell. They then tried pornography, a usual front runner in all new technology but again it didn’t sell. They found that mystery and romance did sell, not to slushy and with some sex. The Dickens and King model of instalments also worked and a booming new channel and audience were established. The Brave New World report on Yoshi who wrote a very successful keitai novel ‘ Deep Love’ which turned into a book, sold 2.7 million copies, a film, a television series and a manga comic.

Perhaps we may see Mills and Boon by instalment?