How many Filipinos would rather spend money on a good book than buy a prepaid card for their cellphones? How many students on the MRT actually carry around literary titles instead of textbooks? Why is it that non-textbook publishing houses in the Philippines continue to experience dismal sales?The lack of interest in literary matters can be demoralizing, but if the high cost of books and the scarcity of libraries at which these may be borrowed are factored into the equation, we probably should not be surprised.
--"Adopt-a-Writer project fosters love of Philippine literature" by Marie Aubrey J. Villaceran (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 28 March 2005).
The Philippines is said to be the "Texting Capital of the World" (Christian Ramilo). Instead of fighting this reality, why not acknowledge it? And if this were to be "married" to the Filipino penchant for cliffhanger endings (proof: the popularity of telenovelas), Filipinos of all ages would be reading novels on their cellphones in no time.
"Cell Phones Put to Novel Use," an Associated Press story (Wired News, 18 March 2005), indicates that the technology is already available:
In the latest versions, cell-phone novels are downloaded in short installments and run on handsets as Java-based applications. You're free to browse as though you're in a bookstore, whether you're at home, in your office or on a commuter train. A whole library can be tucked away in your cell phone—a gadget you carry around anyway.It's only a matter of time before either Globe, Smart or Sun comes up—along with either ABS-CBN or GMA—with the latest innovation: the phonovela. But is it literature? As far as I'm concerned, the first step is to get people reading—anything—and then, hopefully, they will want to read more.