Under the pen name "Yoshi," in 2003 a Tokyo man published the first cell phone novel, Deep Love— the story of a teenage prostitute in Tokyo. Deep Love
"became so popular that it was published as an actual book, with 2.6 million copies sold in Japan, then spun off into a television series, a manga, and a movie. The cell phone novel became a hit mainly through word of mouth and gradually started to gain traction in China and South Korea among young adults. In Japan, several sites offer large prizes to authors (up to $100,000 US) and purchase the publishing rights to the novel."
"Cell phone or mobile phone novels called keitai shousetsu in Japanese, are the first literary genre to emerge from the cellular age via text messaging. Phone novels started out primarily read and authored by young Japanese women, on the subject of romantic fiction such as relationships, lovers, rape, love triangles, and pregnancy. However, mobile phone novels are trickling their way to a worldwide popularity on all subjects. Japanese ethos of the Internet regarding mobile phone novels are dominated by false names and forged identities. Therefore, identities of the Japanese authors of mobile phone novels are rarely disclosed. 'Net transvestites' are of the most extreme play actors of the sort. Differing from regular novels, mobile phone novels may be structured according to the author's preference. If a couple is fighting in the story, the author may choose to have the lines closely spaced and crowded. On the contrary, if the author writes a calm or soothing poem the line spacing may be further apart than normal. Overall, the line spacing of phone novels contains enough blank space for an easy read. Phone novels are meant to be read in 1,000 to 2,000-word (in China) or 70-word (in Japan) chapters via text message on mobile phones. They are downloaded in short installments and run on handsets as Java-based applications on a mobile phone. Cell phone novels often appear in three different formats: WMLD, JAVA and TXT. Maho i-Land is the largest cell phone novel site that carries more than a million titles, mainly novice writers, all which are available for free. Maho iLand provides templates for blogs and homepages. It is visited 3.5 billion times each month. In 2007 98 cell phone novels were published into books. "Love Sky" is a popular phone novel with approximately 12 million views on-line, written by "Mika", that was not only published but turned into a movie. www.textnovel.com is another popular mobile phone novel site, however, in English."
"Five out of the ten best selling novels in Japan in 2007 were originally cell phone novels" (Wikipedia article on Cell phone novel, accessed 08-23-2009).