An interesting article from last year on the new trend of serializing books on the web even before publication. The Translator gave his amusingly skeptical opinion of this trend here, which was in response to the editor’s posts, here and here.
Serializing novels is an old Korean tradition – but in the past it was based in literary magazines and newspapers.
An interesting question in my mind is why (as this article hints at) people were skeptical that the web model would be any different than the newspaper model? The signature difference, I suppose, would be that an author got at least one initial payment from a newspaper or journal, whereas the web is free. Still, if the paper model sold books the web model should as well.
This is, of course, what the article finds. ^^
Online literature serialization appears to be a win-win situation for all involved – the publishers, portals and online bookstores, not to mention the writers. The novels allow publishers to acquire new books and reach new audiences, while portals increase the traffic to their sites by providing diverse content. Writers benefit because their books are promoted online before they are actually printed. Online bookstores can increase their exposure to readers and boost their sales.
A demographically interesting note is that internet viewers tend to be, predictably, younger. This suggests web-serialization as a strategy not just to capture readers, but to capture new readers.
Finally, to a struggling website like KTLIT, the numbers are staggering:
Overall, it has been a huge success. The proof is in the millions of hits generated at sites that publish literature serials. For example, Park Bum-shin’s Cholatse garnered one million page views during its serial run while Hwang Suk-young’s “Hesperus” received more than two million hits. Gong Ji-young’s Dogani got 12 million hits between November 2008 and May 2009 and there were 50 to 100 reader responses posted per day.