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LBF: East Meets West on Mobile Storytelling Platforms

March 22nd, 2017 | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on LBF: East Meets West on Mobile Storytelling Platforms
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I went to London to attend The London Book Fair from March 14th to March 16th, held at Olympia Exhibition Center. It was my first time to participate in such a grand publishing event, I felt so excited. And I have to say, I really learned a lot from this event. I took part in a lot of interesting seminars that gave me a better understanding of the publishing industry.

“East Meets West on Mobile Storytelling Platforms” was one of the most impressive seminars for me. The seminar has four panelists, including: Octavio Kulesz, a director of a digital publishing company called Teseo and a researcher on digital culture; Kat Meyer, representing Radish (twitter), a mobile storytelling platform; James Pullin, Digital Marketing Manager for Oolipo (twitter) and is interested in emerging platforms, storytelling and big ideas; and Alicia Liu, she runs a communications agency that works closely with publishers in China. The chairperson of this panel was Sophie Rochester, who is the founder of The Literary Platform, and she explores digital literatures in the UK and China. At the seminar, they talked about that whether readers in the East and the West respond in similar or distinct ways when it comes to the consumption of mobile stories.

In recent years, with the rapid development of mobile reading in China, the West had always watched China’s mobile reading phenomenon with interest. Alicia Liu said: “the Chinese publishing market includes government-led educational content, but teenagers want romantic fiction, sci-fi etc.” Therefore, in China, young people prefer to use mobile devices to read novels they are interested in through some literature platforms such as Qidian and Cloudary. The stories published on these platforms are serialized stories. On these platforms, everyone can become an author, as long as you can write wonderful stories. The platform will sign contracts with potential authors. The authors will publish their novels according to the chapters, first few chapters available for free, but when you are interested in the novel, you need to pay to read the following chapters. And these readers are paying for stories in new and interesting ways,they are making micro-payments through their phones. It is really convenient for readers.

The interesting publishing model has attracted the attention of many Western Publishers such as Radish. Radish thinks this model can also run in the west, and they want to bring this revolution in storytelling to the West. Meyer told us that Radish will be launching a new mobile storytelling platform where you can write, share and monetise bite-sized serial fiction stories for smartphones – and writers get paid. So it can be seen that Radish believes that this mobile reading model has great potential for development. And in addition to Radish, Oolipo is also trying to reach smartphone users with ‘serialised, media-driven storytelling’. Therefore, I think the West may also have a mature mobile storytelling platform in the future.

Nowadays, digital reading is still evolving. So in my opinion, the phenomenon of China’s mobile reading indicates that the model still has a great development space. And for some readers, payment by chapter may be a good way to read some novels, which allows the reader to have more choices. So I believe that in the future, mobile storytelling platform will become an important part of the publishing industry.

You can find more information about The London Book Fair 2017 on their website and twitter.

                                                                                                                                                                         by Puyu Cheng