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Thursday, 4 January, 2001, 16:36 GMT
Txt msg bk outsells Potter

The text messaging craze boosted book sales
A 96-page book called Wan2tlk which deciphers the mysteries of mobile phone text messaging has beaten Harry Potter in the pre-Christmas bestsellers list.

Wan2tlk is a guide to the many abbreviations and symbols to convey feelings called "emoticons" that can be used in a short text message.

The book outsold Harry Potter, Simon Schama's The History of Britain and the 2001 Guinness World Record book in the run-up to 23 December.

Text messages were origially developed to distribute technical information to mobile phones, but the service quickly caught on with users.

500m text messages are sent each month in the UK and some 800bn worldwide.

Spin for beginners

Also on a bestseller list, albeit a more select one, is a guide to New Labour jargon.

Spin explained:
What he said: "You can always tell when an election is about to happen - the Tories head straight for the gutter and start playing the race card".
What he meant: "That's a very nice gutter you've got there. May I join you?"

The 2.99 tongue-in-cheek book was the bestseller in the run-up to Christmas at Politico's bookshop in Westminster, proving a particular hit with Labour MPs.

The book, by writer and broadcaster Alistair Beaton, has sold more than 600 copies at the bookshop since its publication in September.

Mr Beaton claims to translate what Labour politicians really mean when they spin a line about the government's intentions.

He also includes a handy glossary for those who wish to get ahead in New Labour.

They are advised to use a set of key words, popular with the Prime Minister, especially the word "change".

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See also:

04 Jan 01 | Business
Mobile phone sales jump
18 Dec 00 | Sci/Tech
Living life by txt msg
08 Nov 00 | Sci/Tech
An advert in your pocket
31 Oct 00 | Scotland
Text message obscenity man fined
13 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Short attacks Labour spin
06 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Hague: All spin, no delivery
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