When my American friends discuss innovation, I often get annoyed at their dedication of passion to their uninformed opinions. If only they would put some of that energy into study, eh?
TechCrunch (today’s version of Red Herring, according to some lol) is reporting that “In Japan, half the top selling books are Written on Mobile Phones”. (I am not sure if this headline is a play on the old “In JAPAN…. ” jokes, like the original, “In JAPAN, the HAND can cut like a KNIFE!” but I appreciated it anyway).
So half of the top-selling books are written on mobile phones. Wow. Of course there is so much detail to examine behind that headline, but first let’s look at the story to better understand how this country labels pop culture pornography and how in this country big business stifles innovation in order to preserve the needed time to manage control of it:
With all the talk about Amazon’s Kindle, there’s a bigger revolution taking place and those who studied classic literature will be horrified. In Japan, half of the top ten selling works of fiction in the first six months of 2007 were composed on mobile phones.
TechCrunch cites a real newspaper, so we know this story is true:
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, mobile phone novels (keitai shousetsu) have become a publishing phenomenon in Japan, “turning middle-of-the-road publishing houses into major concerns and making their authors a small fortune in the process.”
I will assume that, IN JAPAN! they have mobile phones that work better than my $499 HTC/Audiovox/Verizon Winblows Mobile device, even if they don’t suffer the horrors of Verizon crippling for a mere $135/month over in Japan. They must, because otherwise, how could they write much more than a page or two before the battery dies, the phone needs a hard reset, or the screen goes too dim to even.. find the slider to increase screen brightness?
But I digress. There is more about what those popular “books” really are:
One book, Koizora (Love Sky) about high-school girl who is bullied, gang-raped, becomes pregnant has sold more than 1.2 million copies since being released. …. another book Moshimo Kimiga (420,000 copies) starting with installments uploaded to an internet site and sent our to “thousands of young subscribers.”
Well well well. In JAPAN, stories of teenage sex, rape, and brutalization sell. Imagine that! In this country, we don’t even count “adult literature” or even “graphic novels” when we cite best sellers. They don’t count (even if they do drive innovation, e.g. online publishing). Okay so maybe this Love Sky is not pornography, but it’s not great literature like our own best-selling-novel-of-all-time “Valley of the Dolls” either. Ooops. Valley of the Dolls is arguably the most popular (selling) novel of all time, but it does indeed address themes of “art films” culture in the 60’s. Hmm… but that was back in the sixties, and anyway, is this real literature or just scandalous text?
Regardless, the Japanese can buy stuff easily over their mobile phones today. Aspiring pulp fiction writers in Japan can sell their stuff through those same channels more easily than I can navigate my CCBill affiliate income reporting screen (no, I am not an adult publisher, but I did side step my way into one CCBill account a few years ago.. it’s a long story).
I think we’re still arguing about micropayments over here, far from enabling citizens to pay a buck or two to read some trashy text. Also the Japanese can upgrade their phones and phone plans and such as they desire to consume innovative technology. Over here, as a consumer unhappy with my 18 month old Verizon Winblows Mobile 5 device and willing to pay to get the latest stuff, I am offered a “new” version of the HTC with Winblows Mobile 6 that was actually announced last January, is finally available this month (late November, actually), and will require a 2 year commitment from me to the network plan with at best an 18 month upgrade cycle on the technology.
I’d have to be stupid to pay another $300 for another obsolete device, with a 2 year commitment. That’s a lot of money I could be spending downloading trashy novelettes.
My consulting business is increasingly receiving calls from overseas for Search Engine Optimization services. Wow… I’m World Famous now. I am an Internationally known search engine optimization consultant. In demand world wide. Or maybe it’s just because I’m cheap as hell with the dollar trading at less than half a British pound, and less than 2/3 of a Euro.
History tells us this country won’t wake up until the situation is very painful.