The coffin fell apart.
There was the sound of decayed wood crumbling, and a cloud of smoke surged out, like water vapour from a hot steamer.

Yan Lianke / Carlos Rojas

Want good books? Reward the writers, says head of China’s biggest online publisher

At China Reading, about 70 per cent of our revenue is from e-reading via mobile apps and websites. The company owns nine e-reading platforms with a combined 600 million registered readers. They pay for VIP chapters after reading some parts free of charge. We share the income with authors. We had 4 million contract authors last year and more than 10,000 writers are joining the ranks annually. We pay around 80 million yuan (HK$90 million) a month in copyright fees to the authors. Popular writers could earn as much as 500,000 yuan a month.


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Many of China's biggest web sites are simply copies -- with a heavy dose of censorship -- of popular ones launched earlier in the West.

But these online literary platforms are a distinctly Chinese phenomenon, and one that both writers and readers benefit from.

Doubtless only a tiny portion of authors earn money from their writing on these sites, but then again, how many aspiring authors in the West make much $ from their fiction?

A good number of video games and movie scripts have resulted. Most importantly, it is the Chinese digital reading public -- not gatekeepers within the publishing industry -- that determine which writers are rewarded.

Bruce Humes, November 26, 2016, 5:26p.m.


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