Trend in Japan Web Japan
Business and Economy
Business and Economy Lifestyle Science and Technology Fashion Arts and Entertainment Sports People
Business & Economy
Mobile Phone Book Market Takes Off (December 8, 2006)

A title in Shinchosha's Cell Phone Collection (c) Shinchosha
A growing number of people are reading novels and other books on their mobile phones and computers. Easy to access and a cinch to carry around, these electronic books are convenient and, thanks to plans offering unlimited data transmissions at a fixed rate, reasonably priced as well. Late-night use has shot up, particularly among young working women in their twenties and thirties. "Mobile phone authors" command loyal followings among book fans.

The homepage of All-You-Can-Read Collection ((c) KADOKAWA SHOTEN PUBLISHING CO., LTD., (c) Kadokawa Digix Incorporated., (c) BANDAI NETWORKS)

Rapidly Expanding Market
Electronic books consist mainly of novels and comics that have been digitized for mobile phones and other machines. In most cases, they are purchased over the Internet and downloaded to computer and phone screens. According to a publishing company active in this market, sales of electronic books in Japan in fiscal 2005 (April 2005 to March 2006) doubled to ¥9.4 billion ($78.3 million at ¥120 to the dollar) from the previous year. Cell phone sales accounted for ¥4.6 billion ($38.3 million) - nearly half the total - a whopping 3.8-fold increase.

An executive at a publishing company, Shinchosha Co., which launched the Shincho Cell Phone Collection of online books in 2002, happily reports that the service now has 30,000 subscribers and began making a profit last year. Kadokawa Digix, Inc., part of a group that offers the All-You-Can-Read Collection of online books, says the number of subscribers has doubled in the three years since the service's inception and the site gets about 200,000 hits a day, primarily from young women who do not frequent bookshops.

Natsume Soseki's famous novel Botchan ((c) KADOKAWA SHOTEN PUBLISHING CO., LTD., (c) Kadokawa Digix Incorporated., (c) BANDAI NETWORKS)

Mobile Phone Authors
One reason that electronic books are now so popular is their low prices compared to equivalent printed versions (though subscribers must access the book or installment within a limited period of time). Other factors include the rapidly growing list of available titles and the introduction by mobile phone providers of fixed-rate plans for data transmission, including text and graphics.

The trend has encouraged the emergence of mobile phone authors. In 2005, a novel by Naito Mika about a young woman torn between her love for a man who works as a male escort and his younger brother, a professional soccer player, was carried on Shinchosha's Cell Phone Collection site and became the number one accessed work, rising higher than novels by well known writers. Inspired by Naito's transformation from an unknown into a literary queen, other aspiring authors have released their own mobile phone novels.

Meanwhile, publishing companies have set up websites offering advice on how to write online books and have even established literary prizes in the hope of uncovering new cell phone talent.

 Page Top

Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

Related articles
(March 10, 2004)
Drop Us a Line
Your Name

What did you think of this article?

It was interesting.
It was boring.

Send this article to a friend

Go TopTrends in Japan Home

Go BackBusiness & Economy Home