China´s first SMS novel hits mobiles 09-10-2004 10:20

Chinese media have lamented that fewer Chinese are reading books and magazines because of busy lifestyles. Chinese novelist Qian Fuzhang thinks he has a solution. He's sold a story to a wireless operator, which then sends it via mobile phone short messaging to people on the go.

Surrounded by books in a Beijing Cafe, novelist Qian Fuzhang is set to revolutionize the art of reading.

On September 1, his novel "Outside the Fortress Besieged" became the first in China to be delivered via SMS onto mobile phones.

Qian sold his story -- featuring a steamy extra-marital love affair -- to a Beijing-based wireless operator for 20,000 US dollars. And he sees the SMS novel as the way of the future.

He said: "Fewer and fewer people read books nowadays, but it doesn't mean people don't like reading anymore. Reading methods have changed. People read online or by mobile phone instead of reading paper books. Reading on mobile phones will become the newest trend in this area."

Qian has compressed his novel into 60 chapters of 70 characters each. He insists the novel is a true work of art and not just a gimmick. But he says his love affair with new technology makes the mobile phone the perfect medium for his work.

It takes 30 days for readers to finish the novel via SMS and it costs them a little less than a paper novel.

China has almost 260 million mobile phone users who are expected to send some 550 billion short messages this year.

The SMS novel might provide a solution to busy people on the move who simply don't have time to read.


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