Tuesday, September 14, 2004

eBooks on "Smart" Phones to Reach Readership in China via CHL's Mbook Platform

Picture a marketplace of a billion or so people who have neither the access or the funds to pick up books at the local store. What better way to reach this audience in need of literacy than to pick up the phone? In China the Web is growing extremely rapidly but the use of mobile "smart" phones is growing faster yet, expected to reach more than 500 million people in China by 2008, according to an announcement from CHL Technologies, Inc. A new revenue-sharing deal between CHL and Shanghai DaLiang Advertising Co. will bring a broad range of eBook titles for sale to thumb-enabled readers in China via its Mbook platform, including highly popular world literature in translation, textbooks and business books. Titles will go for less than 75% the cost of their hardcover equivalents, but will reach a huge audience in the process. Kind of funny to contrast this effort to a local push to get classic literature in hardcovers from one of our local papers for "free" in a recent promotion or down at our local drugstore for next to nothing in a related promotion. Instead of messing with old content formats that will fail to reach audiences in their increasingly mobile lifestyles, China pushes forward with materials that reach the masses effectively via leading eBook technology. No need for printing up "Little Red Books" when the masses already own the means of content consumption. Hopefully more Western publishers will catch on to eBooks sometime soon...
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