Harlequin are once more proving how ahead of the game they are in the digital space, compared with other publishers. Dear Author reports that they will be distributing Harlequin manga titles to mobile phones in the Japanese market.

Japanese audiences have already shown that they are interested in consuming narrative in text form on their phones. For those who missed the wide reporting of it, 5 of the 10 bestselling novels in Japan in 2007 were originally written and distributed on phones. Furthermore, this is an audience that are strong consumers of romance or content with strong romantic themes, and a lot of manga targeted at women has succeeded on this basis. Finally, the demand for mobile content in the Japanese phone market (like some other Asian markets) has boomed because of flexible phone plans which enable unlimited texts and access to a large menu of content.

This is bold and smart and I think it will pay off in spades for Harlequin.