The Economist has caught-on to the growth of mobile novels in Japan noting; “with sales of books in decline, a new market has come as a godsend to Japan’s publishing companies. Sales of mobile-phone novels—books that you download and read, usually in instalments, on the screen of your keitai, or mobile phone—have jumped from nothing five years ago to over ¥10 billion ($82m) a year today and are still growing fast.” BusinessWeek ran a good op-ed on this subject last month as well.
One comment of interest therein:
Publishers offered existing novels by established authors, but they did not sell, suggesting keitai readers were a new audience. Then they offered pornography, but that did not sell either, since most readers were women.
Our understanding from discussions in mid-2006 with a well placed insider, regarding the most popular mobile manga titles, revealed that over half of the download sales were ‘adult’ orientated content clearly targeted at women. Also see our earlier articles: Mobile Books a Big Hit in Japan and The Girls Love Manga.