Mobile Publishing in Japan

The Sydney Morning Herald (via TechCrunch) writes about a strange, yet growing phenomenon in Japan, mobile novel writing and publishing:

A new translation of Dostoevsky's classic The Brothers Karamazov, released in July, has surprised its publisher by notching up more than 300,000 sales already - but it is Rin's rather less challenging Moshimo Kimiga (If You ...), a 142-page hardback book about a high-school romance, that has caused the bigger fuss.

"I typed it all on my mobile phone," Rin explains matter-of-factly over the same device. "I started writing novels on my mobile when I was in junior high school and I got really quick with my thumbs, so after a while it didn't take so long. I never planned to be a novelist, if that's what you'd call me, so I'm still quite shocked at how successful it's turned out."

This is one of those specific cultural situations where what's happening in Asia probably doesn't portend comparable developments in the West. Certainly I could imagine someone writing a novel on a daily commute using a mobile device. However the answer to the question of whether the Sony eBook Reader or the Kindle will become widespread enough in the West to make mobile-published fiction a phenomenon, as it is in Japan, is most likely "no."