By Wuping Zhao
SHANGHAI: Following the Beijing International Book Fair at the beginning of this month, a report by the Chinese government says that translated books by American authors are still most popular in the country.
On September 7th, the General Administration of Press and Publication of China released an annual industry report on the nation’s presses and publications for 2009. According to the report, 581 official publishing companies released 301,719 titles in total, out of which 168,296 were new titles. Most publishers preferred to pursue foreign rights and produced a total number of 12,914 translated books. Strikingly, the report shows books from the U.S. are most popular in the market.
With 4,553 titles, American books published in Chinese ranks number one in the last year, followed by U.K. (1,847), Taiwan (1,444), Japan (1,261), and Korea (799).
Just as Hollywood blockbusters dominate the Chinese movie market, bestsellers from U.S. also occupy the most top position in Chinese bestseller charts. Almost all fiction and nonfiction titles that make the New York Times bestsellers list are translated and published in the in China. Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol and Stephenie Meyer’s four “Twilight” titles are the most popular five books on the recent national bestseller list. In addition, big name authors of commercial and literary fiction like Philip Roth, Jonathan Franzen, Toni Morrison and Joyce Carol Oates also enjoy a large audience in China.
Wuping Zhao is the vice president for Shanghai Translation Publishing House. He joined Shanghai Century Publishing Group in 2001 and acquired many literary authors including T.S. Eliot, Christopher Isherwood, Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, Boris Pasternak, Jack Kerouac, Simone de Beauvoir, Marguerite Duras, Milan Kundera, Umberto Eco, Mario Vargas Llosa, J.G. Ballard, David Lodge, Elfriede Jelinek and Bernhard Schlink. He graduated from Columbia Publishing Course at Columbia University in 2009. He won the fellowship from the Henry Luce Foundation and participated in the Yale-China’s program of American Studies at Yale University in 1999. Prior to his publishing career, he spent seven years as a book reporter at China Reading Weekly in Beijing.