This one is for all you bookworms. But this time you won’t be reading out of a book. You will be doing so on a screen that’s probably two-inches wide. Already a big hit in Japan and China, novels and comic books are readily available on mobile phones. ‘Momics’ (mobile comics) as they are called will now be hitting the Indian market.
The first Indian mobile novel ‘Neelakannukal’ (Blue Eyes) has been written in Malayalam and has been distributed free of cost to 600 mobile users. The writer of this novel, P R Harikumar is already in talks with cellular operators for making it available in demand.
According to Rajiv Hiranandani, content developer, Mobile2Win, “In Japan and Korea, entire books are available on Mobile, but in India they are still to pick up in a very big way. With over 96 million GSM subscribers alone, the Markey for mobile comics, novels and books is very huge.”
Hiranandani, who is developing mobile comics says, “”In India, we plan to bring them out shortly first in English and in another 5-6 months in Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and Telugu,” he says adding they rolled out Amar Chitra Katha on comics a few months back on experimental basis and it was a success.
The first Indian mobile novel that is a Malayalam novel Neelakannukal’ (Blue Eyes) has only been released to limited users. The writer of the novel, Harimumar reveals that the size of the novel with all its six episodes is around 70 KB, which is embedded in a screen as a Java programme. Basically any mobile phone which has Java facility can install this file successfully.
Hiranandani explains that the novel or books can either be downloaded or available even on SMS. However, for comics, he says “we plan to upload it on the operator’s portal and all who have access to WAP can download it either by paying a daily cost of Rs. 1-2 or a monthly subscription.”
In the same way as in newspapers, one comic strip would be available to the subscriber daily. However, for novels and other literary works, they can be made available on any mobile. “As an introductory offer, it was given free to 600 mobile users around the world. They simply installed it in their mobile phones and have read the novel in Malayalam smoothly,” Harikumar says adding the response was very good.
This medium is creating a new form of expression. And perhaps more importantly, it could reverse the younger generation’s apathy towards reading, says Harikumar.