m-Novels for Africa: A South African Case Study

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Presented at the Mobile Web East Africa conference, Nairobi, Kenya, 4 February 2010.

The results of the m4Lit pilot project - the Kontax m-novel are described.

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  • National Survey into the Reading and Book Reading Behaviour of Adult South Africans (PICC, 2006) http://www.saccd.org.za/objects/sabdc_reading.pdf
  • National Survey into the Reading and Book Reading Behaviour of Adult South Africans (PICC, 2006) http://www.saccd.org.za/objects/sabdc_reading.pdf
  • http://blogs.uct.ac.za/blog/sa-libraries-in-the-news/school-libraries Quoting DoE’s 2007 NEIMS Report
  • Great infrastructure Great coverage High uptake of phones Cheap data MXit: mobile IM service (13m users in SA) Mobile web access on the rise in the townships (Donner and Gitau, 2009; Kreutzer, 2009)
  • “ Mobiles for literacy” project goals: To explore whether teens are interested in reading stories on their cellphones Whether and how they write using their cellphones Whether cellphones might be used to change their attitudes towards reading and writing Explore m-novels as a compliment and alternative to printed literature
  • Rin, 21, wrote a mobile phone novel, with 400,000 hardcover sales. Photo: The New York Times http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/mobile-phone-novels-ring-up-big-sales-but-critics-fear-forjapanese-literature/2008/01/22/1200764265347.html
  • Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printing_press
  • m-Novels for Africa: A South African Case Study

    1. 1. Presented at the Mobile Web East Africa conference, Nairobi 4 February 2010 m-Novels for Africa: A South African Case Study Steve Vosloo, Shuttleworth Foundation
    2. 2. Agenda Why mobiles for literacy? Kontax , an m-novel “ Aha” moments
    3. 3. 51% South African households that own no leisure books
    4. 4. 6% South African households that have more than 40 titles on their bookshelves
    5. 5. 7% Public schools in SA that have functional libraries of any kind
    6. 6. The default device
    7. 7. “ Teens don't read enough” “ Teens don't write enough” “ Teens love their phones”
    8. 8. Would our teens read novels on their phones like in Japan? Can mobile phones alleviate the chronic shortage of books?
    9. 10. Kontax: a teen m-novel <ul><li>www.kontax.mobi (GPRS-enabled phones or computer browser)
    10. 11. Aimed at 14-17 year olds
    11. 12. Written in English and isiXhosa (world first)
    12. 13. 21 days, 21 chapters
    13. 14. Embedded in a lite social network
    14. 15. Prizes for comments and sequel ideas
    15. 16. Cross-media </li></ul>
    16. 19. Research design <ul><li>Working with Assoc Prof Ana Deumert, Dr Marion Walton (co-authors of paper) and Assoc Prof Mastin Prinsloo (all UCT): </li><ul><li>50 teens from Langa and Guguletu (low-income urban “townships”) </li><ul><li>14-17 year olds who own/have daily access to GPRS-enabled mobile phones
    17. 20. Pre-story survey
    18. 21. Technology use observation
    19. 22. Post-story survey
    20. 23. Post-story focus group </li></ul><li>Mobisite and MXit usage data </li></ul></ul>
    21. 24. Kontax.mobi: Location
    22. 25. Kontax.mobi: Home language
    23. 26. Kontax.mobi: Comment times
    24. 27. Kontax.mobi: Comments by user
    25. 28. *What i like* Kontax is the most exciting thing that i've ever experianced i mean im not holding heavy book anymore its me and my phone *Gr8 idea* I think this is the nxt best thng since sliced bread,cnt wait 4 the next chapter.its rly interestn,i cnt stand readn a novel bt this is diffrnt coz its jst lyk facebook
    26. 29. *Obrigado* Congrats guys dt ws a gr8 story thnx 4 d infortainment i lrnt a lot 4rm u till we mt again. L8r! (On Song's Wall) Hey grl...curently im sitn wita br0ken ankl so i fl ur pain...lets gt thr0ugh ths 2gtha;-)
    27. 30. Kontax on MXit <ul><li>Simpler experience: </li><ul><li>No registration, comments or Kontax social network
    28. 31. All 21 chapters at once </li></ul><li>Marketing: 11-14 and 15-18 age groups
    29. 32. Go to Tradepost > MXit Mix > Education </li></ul>
    30. 33. >7,200 reads by teens >17,200 reads by all >2,000 competition entries Kontax stats as of 15 December 2009
    31. 34. Page view trend (by chapter)
    32. 35. MXit: Ages
    33. 36. Research findings <ul><li>Most digital writing takes place on mobile phones (but it’s short, like SMS)
    34. 37. Most reading takes place on mobile phones or on paper
    35. 38. Teens want to write their own pieces (poems, lyrics, stories, etc.)
    36. 39. The isiXhosa version was popular </li></ul>
    37. 40. “ Aha” moment no. 1 Mobile phones are a viable platform for distributing longer form texts and enabling reader participation
    38. 41. “ Aha” moment no. 1 Mobile phones are a viable platform for distributing longer form texts and enabling reader participation “ Aha” moment no. 2 This removes the barrier of printing costs, putting information back into the hands of the people
    39. 42. “ Aha” moment no. 1 Mobile phones are a viable platform for distributing longer form texts and enabling reader participation “ Aha” moment no. 2 This removes the barrier of printing costs, putting information back into the hands of the people “ Aha” moment no. 3 Learning is social again (reversing the Gutenberg effect which mass introduced self-study)
    40. 43. Learning is social again (thanks to Barry and Patrick Kayton for this insight)
    41. 44. iPad of Africa Kindle of Africa
    42. 45. Coverage and awards
    43. 46. Future <ul><li>One platform (mobisite accessible via MXit)
    44. 47. m-Novels and public domain books
    45. 48. Africa-wide </li></ul>
    46. 49. The proposition, the “ask” <ul><li>Publish your content (entertainment or edu)
    47. 50. Engage your readers
    48. 51. Work those eyeballs
    49. 52. Business models: sponsorship, advertising, sell books/chapters
    50. 53. Publish our content: it's open and free
    51. 54. Create and share your content </li></ul>
    52. 55. Thank you m4Lit: m4lit.wordpress.com email: [email_address] blog: vosloo.net slides: slideshare.net/stevevosloo twitter: twitter.com/stevevosloo

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