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Website publishes real book of forum chat

Japanese website
Japanese surfers want to take it offline too

There are more than a few books out there whose origins lie in the new-fangled mobile phone novel, but a new Japanese tome is the first we've come across to grow out of an online forum.

Hatsugen Komachi ('Speech Town'), which has just been published at ¥1,200 (£6.70), is a hefty 288-page book covering over 100,000 subjects raised on the website of the same name.

Publishing power

Like the site the book deals with agony-aunt type problems submitted by forum contributors, who are almost exclusively women.

The publisher – Yomiuri Shimbun, the world's largest newspaper – says they've picked the most relevant and interesting issues for the print edition.

Mixed bag

Among the 2,000-3,000 daily threads are pleas for advice on everything from infidelity and family issues to debt and problems at work.

While the book doesn't promise useful solutions to any of the issues discussed, it should at least point the way ahead for other website owners with huge, active readerships.