Cellphone Novels

As I mentioned last week, there was an article in the Economist about cellphone novels in Japan. One of my translators told me that these are cheesy, ill-written works that commuters then read on their way to and from work.

Yesterday, there was an article in the WSJ about ebook readers available in the US. They are designed for smartphones with a relatively large screen (2 x 1.5 inches). My Nokia E61 has the same size screen, so I decided to try it out. I downloaded WSJ’s recommended software (MobiReader) and it really works. Text is easy to see and navigate. Not only that, but the current round of Nebula Award nominees (science fiction literature professional award) are available for free.

How does it work? The screen is large enough to show three or four dozen words at a time. When you reach the bottom of the screen, just tap the space bar and the next ‘page’ shows. Clearly, this is not great for reference works or other books that you need to thumb through to find nuggets of information. But for sequential reading, like a novel, it is certainly sufficient.

It has other advantages as well. I just finished, and loved, Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton. But it ends on the most amazing cliff-hanger. What to do? I live out here in Hungary now – the local bookstore, fine though it is, is unlikely to stock the sequel. But it’s is available online for download to my cellphone. Yeah!

Is this as good as a dedicated electronic book reader? Probably not. But it is certainly good enough to read. And, the biggest advantage of all, I always have the cellphone with me anyway.

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  1. […] This morning, Amazon announced that the Kindle was available for the iPhone. I was excited! I’d already experimented with reading books on my cellphone last year. While living in Budapest, it was the only way to get several recent books that I wanted. And I enjoyed reading them. See the report here. […]

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