I’ve often expressed the opinion here that mobile phones are a major way of bringing literature to people – far more important than the classic ereader, such as the Kindle, that we see in the rich developed countries. Now comes another example of this. From the Irish Times:
Mobile phones are becoming pocket libraries for millions of avid readers in China, writes CLIFFORD COONAN in Beijing. …
Millions of Chinese have abandoned traditional books for mobile phone novels, and as smartphones start to become more popular in China, the genre is getting ever more popular. The novels are punchy and pacy, the whole process is wildly interactive and it’s transformed reading in China.
“The appearance of mobile phone literature may revive the declining mid-sized novel and poem in China,” says Zhang Yiwu, a literature professor at Peking University and one of China’s most respected commentators.
Written Chinese is a character-based language, so each word is a concise pictogram, rather than a lengthy English word of several letters which takes up more space. This makes Chinese a great language to write mobile phone novels in, as you can communicate a lot of words in a relatively small area of space.
… Data shows that almost half of Chinese adults read books, in different forms, and about 25 per cent of readers – some 220 million people – read electronic media.
Of these, almost 120 million people use their mobile phone to read, and almost 25 million people only use their cellphones to read books.
Much more info in this fascinating article.