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Survey Says: 25% of Chinese Have Read an E-Book

By Edward Nawotka

The Global Times of China reports on the results of the 7th National Reading Survey in China which indicated that 25% of those surveyed — some 19,000 people — have read a digital book. The survey conducted by the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), the department of the Chinese government that oversees books and publishing, and is said to have covered 29 provinces, along with autonomous regions and municipalities.

Guo Jingming

Guo Jingming, the only writer born in the 1980s to make the Top Ten list of most widely read authors in China, says GAPP

Among the other statistics of interest to publishers were:

  • 91% said they would not buy a hardcover or paperback book after reading it online
  • The average Chinese person reads 6.97 paperback books each year, 1.23 fewer books than last year
  • A Chinese person reads about 73 newspaper editions a year on average, 15.6 fewer than last year
  • Respondents with online reading experience said they would not be willing to pay more than 3.45 yuan ($0.50) for each online article

Despite the popularity of digital reading, the report also says that reading tastes have shifted from modern to classical Chinese writers, with Han Han falling off the list of the top ten and only Guo Jingming, ranked seventh, the only contemporary writer of online novels to make the list (you can read our previous article on Han Han’s publisher, Lu Jinbo). The top three favorite writers among Chinese readers remain Jin Yong (Louis Cha) (whom we profiled in February), Lu Xun and Qiong Yao remain the top three favorite writers among Chinese readers.

(Thanks to Resource Shelf for the original story link)

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  1. Peter Hollywood
    Posted April 26, 2010 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    Totally irresponsible headline. Why don’t you tell it like it is?

  2. robert hyde
    Posted April 26, 2010 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    agreed!! I would have thought that 75% of the Chinese population probably don’t have a phone let alone an e Reader :-)

  3. Posted April 26, 2010 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    It seems pretty clear that this originally Chinese-language survey is telling us that many young people READ LITERATURE ONLINE using a PC. I live in southern China and I can assure you that e-book reader penetration in the PRC is quite minimal.

    That said, it is interesting to note that:

    * One company, Shanda Group, owns around 90% of the on-line literary market in China including three popular online literature websites, Qidian (起点中文网), Hongxiu Tianxiang (红袖添香) and Jinjiang Yuanchuang Wang (晋江原创网), that feature new, original writing in Chinese

    * Group revenues in 2008: RMB70m (US$10.2m)

    * Registered end-users: 40m, of whom 4m pay membership fees

    * Daily visitors: 10m per web site

    *Online authors: 30,000

    * Pay-per-read: First half of content is free, remainder available for RMB0.03 (4 US cents) per 1,000 Chinese characters.

    Some details are available in English at:

    Bruce Humes
    Shenzhen, China

  4. Edward Nawotka
    Posted April 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Bruce, thanks for your comment and we’ve had the opportunity to profile Shanda in the past. You can watch a video interview with the CEO, here — http://publishingperspectives.com/?p=7019 — and read our profile of the company, here — http://publishingperspectives.com/?p=7027.

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