“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

China Publishing Industry Newsletter: 05/21

The China Publishing Industry Newsletter is a monthly mailing on new happenings in the Chinese literary and publishing scenes. It is edited by Bruce Humes .

The Tibetan Factor, Marketing Smarts and Toilet Humor

It has hit the shelves at last: the last installment—Volume 10—of The Tibet Code ( 藏地密码10:神圣大结局 ) is on sale now throughout China. The critics scoffed, but marketing experts acclaimed the way the free online tale transitioned to paying hard copy, and devoted fans reportedly snapped up three million copies during its three-year stay on the best-seller charts.

Chinese-to-English literary translator Joel Martinsen describes it as a "successful pulp adventure series" that "puts its characters in life-threatening situations in a quest for legendary animals and lost civilizations," in an interview with The Global Times .


Simon & Schuster has purchased the world English-language rights to Han Han's 1988: I want to Talk with the World ( 1988: 我想和这个 世界谈谈 ), according to Marysia Juszczakiewicz at Peony Literary Agency in Hong Kong. The deal also includes a book of Han Han's non-fiction essays published in Taiwan, Youth (青春).

Thinkingdom House ( 新经典文化 ) has reportedly shelled out more than US$1m for the privilege of publishing Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude in Chinese. Thinkingdom House has tapped Fan Ye ( 范晔 ), a professor in Spanish at Beijing U, to render the book in Chinese. Considering that the Chinese version of the novel has long been available in several pirated editions, this is curious indeed. Ironically, one of the offending publishers is heavyweight Shanghai Translation Publishing House ( 上海译文出版社 ), that offers an unauthorized version ( 百年孤独 ) by a trio of translators.


Chinese Crime Fiction, Anyone?

Ask a Chinese reader for the name of her favorite thriller/mystery writer, and you might get a foreign name in response: Higashino Keigo (東野圭吾). Amazingly, a dozen or so of this Japanese author's works have been translated into Chinese ( 中文链接 ) since 2007, and frequently figure on the best-seller charts here.

What lies behind the dominance of Japanese and American crime writing in the China market today? "Insufficient expertise among writers is a major factor," explains detective novelist Lei Mi. "Most authors aren't knowledgeable about China's judicial system, and when it comes to issues like the nature of the criminal act, investigative techniques—even how weapons function—they fabricate their stories out of thin air, and easily become objects of ridicule among readers."

Upcoming Events

Seoul International Book Fair (June 15-19)

Seven Chinese publishing enterprises will be exhibiting at the Seoul International Book Fair : Anhui Press & Publishing Bureau (安 徽省新闻出版局); Beijing World Publishing Corporation (世界图书出版 公司北京公司); China National Publications I/E (Group) Corporation (中国图书进出口(集团)总公司); China Renmin University Press (中国 人民大学出版社) (click here to view foreign books published in Chinese by the firm); The Ethnic Publishing House (民族出版社), Jiangsu Phoenix Juvenile and Children's Publishing House Co. Ltd (江苏凤凰少年儿童出版社有限公司), and Zhonghua Book Company (中华书 局).

Hong Kong Book Fair (July 20-26)

Each year there are hundreds of events at the Hong Kong Book Fair including author autograph sessions, the Asian Publishing Conference, and a huge offering of seminars/forums featuring Chinese, Hong Kong and international writers and critics. Topics, personalities and schedules are not up yet, however.

Industry Trends

Digital Publishing in China: Predictions for 2011

Renowned IT industry columnist and Secretary-General of China's Mobile Internet Industry Alliance, Li Yi ( 李易 ), did a bit of crystal ball gazing regarding China's digital publishing industry whose total output reportedly exceeded US$13b in 2010. Below, we summarize his key predictions—made at the outset of this year but still a useful reference—that are published in full here in Chinese.

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