Cell Phone Readers Learning What Japanese Have Known for Years

It’s taken a couple of years but it looks as if Americans are finally picking up on something the Japanese have been doing for years: reading books on cell phones. It may be a long time before it becomes the craze we wrote about last year – one Japanese publisher alone carries one million “keitai shoshetsu” titles and receives 3.5 billion visits in a single month. Sales of one or two million hardcover reprints of cellphone novels are far from uncommon.

Nevertheless, readers are discovering the pleasure of reading on mobile screens, however tiny (3.5 square inches) they may be. The New York Times‘s Motoko Rich and Brad Stone point out that many who don’t own an e-reading device are happy flipping pages on their cell phone, at least for short trips like train and bus commutes. After that the eyes begin to tire. The iPhone is a little easier on the eyes at 6 square inches, but Kindle, Sony and Nook screens are many times bigger than that, and they are midgets compared to tablet screens. One such, Wacom’s Intuos3 4×6, boasts a working area of over 228 square inches!

Tablets will inevitably become the professional and student reading device of choice, with screens capacious enough to read a full-size text- or picture book in open, double-page format. That said, for down-and-dirty reads, cells and smartphones will be a choice for those who don’t want to lug a dedicated reading device around – or pay hundreds of dollars for one.

“Publishers are now rushing to develop new forms of books to cater to readers who will see them on smartphones — books that will not work on today’s stand-alone e-readers,” the Times journalists write in Library in a Pocket.

RC

Every Blogger owes a debt of gratitude to newspapers and magazines. This posting relies on original research and reporting performed by The New York Times.

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