China Bestsellers November 2019: ‘Weathering’ Heights

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The popularity of anime and a moving storyline are capturing Chinese filmgoers’ and readers’ interest in Makato Shinkai’s new bestselling book and animation, ‘Weathering With You.’

Image: A promotional still from the film ‘Weathering With You’

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

A Ray of Japanese Sunlight on China’s Bestseller List
Once again, we see a words-to-screen connection behind a major hit in our China bestsellers, but this time it’s words-and-pictures-t0-screen.

‘Weathering With You’ in its Chinese edition released in September

Makato Shinkai, the Japanese manga artist and filmmaker behind the 2016 film hit Your Name, has landed on Beijing Openbook’s November bestseller charts at an impressive No. 13, with his new title Weathering With You, published by Baihuazhou Literature & Art Publishing House. Expect to see this one climb up the list next month.

Like Your Name, this work is both a film and a book. And the film in China is doing what our OpenBook associates call “breathtaking box office.”

In the book and the film, a boy named Hodaka runs away to Tokyo during his first high-school summer and meets Hina. Her superpower is the ability to make rain stop and sunshine take over with a single prayer. Of course, “her power comes at a price,” as the blurb will tell you, and we won’t spoil things for you here. But we’ll give you a taste, courtesy of Taylor Engel’s English translation  published by Yen On in New York. (Just for clarity, a torii is the traditional Japanese gate placed at the entrance to a Shinto shrine.)

Cover art for Taylor Engel’s English translation

“Almost unconsciously, she put her hands together. Then she made her fervent wish: Let the rain stop. She slowly closed her eyes, then walked through the torii gate. Let Mom wake up and let us walk under clear skies together.

“As soon as she passed under the gate, the air changed.

“The sound of the rain suddenly cut out.

“When she opened her eyes–there was blue sky all around her.”

Of course, it’s no surprise to Publishing Perspectives readers to learn that a work of Japanese fiction is gaining fast traction in the Chinese market. You’ll find author Higashino Keigo on the OpenBook overall fiction list six times this month and seven times on the foreign-author bestsellers. And Shinkai’s work has the added draw of anime and of carefully timed film releases.

Shinkai’s film Your Name is ranked as one of the highest grossing anime films, reportedly having grossed more than US$361 million worldwide.

The new Weathering With You is said to have been written concurrently with the creation of its anime film. That show was released in July in Japan, and in mainland China on November 1. According to our information, that first weekend gross in China alone was the equivalent of US$22.1 million. Boom. The book is on the November bestseller list, having been published in September so that it would be readily available when the fans walked out of the cinemas.

We have a film trailer for you with English subtitles. Fathom Events is to release the show in the States on January 17, and it’s had festival screenings at the Asian World Film Festival in Los Angeles, Anime NYC in Manhattan, the Hawaii Film Festival and other venues.

To the disappointment of many fans, it has not made it into the Academy Award nominations, as the Anime News Network is reporting today (December 17).

Chen Lei’s ’30 Minutes of Chinese History in Cartoons’


In nonfiction, you’ll find that five titles are new to the overall bestseller list:

  • Take It Easy 2.0 by the highly popular Da Bing is ranked No. 4
  • Style by Wu Jun is at No. 17
  • 30 Minutes of Economics in Cartoon: Financial Crisis by Chen Lei has entered the chart at No. 23
  • Hi I’m China is No. 25
  • Silent Majority by Wang Xiaobo ranks at No. 30

We’ll have more for you later this week on Chen Lei’s 30 Minutes work in the Chinese market.

Below, then, are OpenBook’s overall lists from (month) of bestsellers in fiction and nonfiction, followed by its lists of bestselling fiction and nonfiction in China by authors from outside the country.

At the end of our article, as always, you’ll find notes on how the lists are constructed.

OpenBook’s Fiction Bestsellers, November 2019
October 2019 Ranking November 2019 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Chinese Publisher
1 1 9787506365437 2010-06 To Live Yu hua The Writer’s Publishing House
4 2 9787536692930 2008-01 The Three-Body Problem Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
5 3 9787536693968 2008-05 The Dark Forest Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
6 4 9787229030933 2010-11 Death’s End Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
3 5 9787530216781 2017-06 Ordinary Word (3 Volumns) Lu Yao Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
9 6 9787544291163 2017-08 Journey Under the Midnight Sun (2017 Edition) Higashino Keigo Nan Hai Publishing Co.
13 7 9787544291170 2017-08 One Hundred Years of Solitude (50th Anniversary Edition) Gabriel García Márquez Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 8 9787530216774 2017-07 Ordinary Word Lu Yao Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
7 9 9787544270878 2014-04 Miracles of the Namiya General Store Higashino Keigo Nan Hai Publishing Co.
8 10 9787208061644 2006-04 The Kite Runner (2018 Edition) Khaled Hosseini Shanghai People’s Publishing House
15 11 9787544285148 2016-10 Malice Higashino Keigo Nan Hai Publishing Co.
2 12 9787500601593 2005-08 Red Crag Luo Guangbin,Yang Yiyan China Youth Press
Not Ranked 13 9787550033566 2019-09 Weathering with You Shinkai Makoto Baihuazhou Literature & Art Publishing House
Not Ranked 14 9787506394864 2017-09 Sophie’s World (New Edition) Jostein Gaarder The Writer’s Publishing House
10 15 9787540487645 2018-06 Moments We Shared Zhang Jiajia Hunan Literature & Art Press
18 16 9787544267618 2014-06 The Devotion of Suspect X Higashino Keigo Nan Hai Publishing Co.
11 17 9787550022577 2019-02 Better Days Jiu Yuexi Baihuazhou Literature & Art Publishing House
21 18 9787530219218 2019-02 Life is Like Ocean Mai Jia Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
26 19 9787532776771 2018-03 Norwegian Wood (30th Anniversary Edition) Haruki Murakami Shanghai Translation Publishing House
14 20 9787020090006 2012-07 Fortress Besieged Qian Zhongshu People’s Literature Publishing House
16 21 9787530215593 2017-06 To Live Yu hua Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
27 22 9787530211564 2012-03 Life Lu Yao Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
20 23 9787506365680 2012-12 Chronicle of a Blood Merchant Yu hua The Writer’s Publishing House
23 24 9787544277617 2015-06 Love in the Time of Cholera Gabriel García Márquez Nan Hai Publishing Co.
17 25 9787020008735 1998-07 Journey to the West Wu Cheng’en People’s Literature Publishing House
12 26 9787559620187 2018-10 Ran Freely Wu Zhe Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 27 9787544291224 2017-08 After School (2017 Edition) Higashino Keigo Nan Hai Publishing Co.
22 28 9787020002207 1998-07 Dream of the Red Chamber Cao Xueqin People’s Literature Publishing House
29 29 9787550013247 2015-05 Ferryman Claire McFall Baihuazhou Literature & Art Publishing House
Not Ranked 30 9787544281102 2016-01 Newcomer Higashino Keigo Nan Hai Publishing Co.

OpenBook’s Nonfiction Bestsellers, November 2019
October 2019 Ranking November 2019 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Chinese Publisher
3 1 9787550268517 20160-7 Positive Discipline Jane Nelsen Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
1 2 9787509837412 2016-06 CPC Ninety Years (3 volumes) Party History Research Center of the CPC Central Committee Chinese Communist Party History Publishing House
2 3 9787544387866 2019-09 30 Minutes of Chinese History in Cartoon (4) Chen Lei Hainan Publishing House
Not Ranked 4 9787559637406 2019-10 Take It Easy 2.0 Da Bing Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
4 5 9787539999883 2017-03 30 Minutes of Chinese History in Cartoon Chen Lei Jiangsu Literature & Art Press
5 6 9787544382052 2018-05 30 Minutes of Chinese History in Cartoon (3) Chen Lei Hainan Publishing House
6 7 9787544382045 2018-05 30 Minutes of Chinese History in Cartoon (2) Chen Lei Hainan Publishing House
7 8 9787559418111 2018-04 30 Minutes of World History in Cartoon Chen Lei Jiangsu Literature & Art Press
10 9 9787508095226 2018-09 Nonviolent Communication Marshall B.Rosenberg Huaxia Publishing House
Not Ranked 10 9787508689586 2018-07 Economics Lecture Notes Xue Zhaofeng CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
9 11 9787559435552 2019-09 30 Minutes of Tang Poetry in Cartoon (2) Chen Lei Jiangsu Literature & Art Press
17 12 9787559620125 2018-05 Genius on the Left, Lunatic on the Right (Full Version)(New Edition) Gao Ming Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
14 13 9787540492380 2019-06 The Kids Da Bing Hunan Literature & Art Press
8 14 9787559436184 2019-05 30 Minutes of Tang Poetry in Cartoon Chen Lei Jiangsu Literature & Art Press
Not Ranked 15 9787540481551 2018-11 The Emotional Quotient Lesson of Kevin Tsai: Live for Yourself for One Time Kevin Tsai Hunan Literature & Art Press
Not Ranked 16 9787540481827 2017-08 Gag Reel Li Dan Hunan Literature & Art Press
Not Ranked 17 9787521708554 2019-09 Style Wu Jun CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
18 18 9787201094014 2015-09 Six Records of a Floating Life Shen Fu Tianjin People’s Publishing House
12 19 9787544387873 2019-08 30 Minutes of Economics in Cartoon: Common Sense of Life Chen Lei Hainan Publishing House
29 20 9787549550173 2014-01 Seeing Off Long Yingtai Guangxi Normal University Press
24 21 9787540484880 2018-01 The Gay Genius: The Life and Times of Su Tungpo (Commemorative Edition) Lin Yutang Hunan Literature & Art Press
13 22 9787515356822 2019-07 Course on Chinese Culture Yu Qiuyu China Youth Press
Not Ranked 23 9787544388672 2019-09 30 Minutes of Economics in Cartoon: Financial Crisis Chen Lei Hainan Publishing House
Not Ranked 24 9787535732309 2001-11 A Brief History of Time Stephen W.Hawking Hunan Science & Technology Press
Not Ranked 25 9787521701579 2019-09 Hi I’m China Institute for Planets,The China Society on Tibet Plateau CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
27 26 9787535447340 2014-02 The Poignant Culture Traveling Yu Qiuyu Changjiang Literature & Art Press Co.,Ltd.
Not Ranked 27 9787530216712 2017-04 A Unique Pig Wang Xiaobo Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 28 9787201088945 2014-12 No More Than Skins Cai Chongda Tianjin People’s Publishing House
11 29 9787520710350 2019-07 The 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China Zhang Shiyi Orient Press
Not Ranked 30 9787530216590 2017-04 Silent Majority Wang Xiaobo Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House

Foreign Author Fiction Bestsellers, November 2019
October 2019 Ranking November 2019 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Author nationality Chinese Publisher
3 1 9787544291163 2017-08 Journey Under the Midnight Sun (2017 Edition) Higashino Keigo Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
4 2 9787544291170 2017-08 One Hundred Years of Solitude (50th Anniversary Edition) Gabriel García Márquez Colombia Nan Hai Publishing Co.
1 3 9787544270878 2014-04 Miracles of the Namiya General Store Higashino Keigo Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
2 4 9787208061644 2018-02 The Kite Runner (2018 Edition) Khaled Hosseini United States of America Shanghai People’s Publishing House
5 5 9787544285148 2016-10 Malice Higashino Keigo Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
15 6 9787550033566 2019-09 Weathering with You Shinkai Makoto Japan Baihuazhou Literature & Art Publishing House
17 7 9787506394864 2017-09 Sophie’s World (New Edition) Jostein Gaarder Norway The Writer’s Publishing House
6 8 9787544267618 2014-06 The Devotion of Suspect X Higashino Keigo Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
8 9 9787532776771 2018-03 Norwegian Wood (30th Anniversary Edition) Haruki Murakami Japan Shanghai Translation Publishing House
7 10 9787544277617 2015-06 Love in the Time of Cholera Gabriel García Márquez Colombia Nan Hai Publishing Co.
13 11 9787544291224 2017-08 After School (2017 Edition) Higashino Keigo Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
10 12 9787550013247 2015-05 Ferryman Claire McFall Britain Baihuazhou Literature & Art Publishing House
14 13 9787544281102 2016-01 Newcomer Higashino Keigo Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
11 14 9787530217054 2017-12 The Alchemist Paulo Coelho Brazil Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
16 15 9787559427434 2019-02 The Outsider Albert Camus France Jiangsu Literature & Art Press
9 16 9787550032125 2019-02 Outcasts Claire McFall Britain Baihuazhou Literature & Art Publishing House
Not Ranked 17 9787539983295 2015-10 Foundation Isaac Asimov United States of America Jiangsu Literature & Art Press
12 18 9787544280020 2019-08 What Life You Want to Have Yoshino Genzaburo Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
20 19 9787544766500 2017-01 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee United States of America Yilin Press
Not Ranked 20 9787544258210 2017-10 Naoko Higashino Keigo Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.

Foreign Author Nonfiction Bestsellers, November 2019
October 2019 Ranking November 2019 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Author nationality Chinese Publisher
1 1 9787550268517 2016-07 Positive Discipline Jane Nelsen United States of America Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
2 2 9787508095226 2018-09 Nonviolent Communication Marshall B.Rosenberg United States of America Huaxia Publishing House
9 3 9787535732309 2001-11 A Brief History of Time Stephen W.Hawking Britain Hunan Science & Technology Press
4 4 9787201088822 2014-09 How to Win Friends & Influence People Dale Carnegie United States of America Tianjin People’s Publishing House
7 5 9787514219203 2017-09 The Willpower Instinct (New Edition) Kelly McGonigal United States of America Cultural Development Publishing House
8 6 9787508660752 2017-02 Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Yuval Noah Harari Israel CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
12 7 9787301109489 2006-10 A Global History: From Prehistory to the 21st Century (Vol.1) L. S. Stavrianos United States of America Peking University Press
13 8 9787301110522 2006-10 A Global History: From Prehistory to the 21st Century (Vol.2) L. S. Stavrianos United States of America Peking University Press
5 9 9787540489304 2019-01 Danshari Yamashita Eiko Japan Hunan Literature & Art Press
10 10 9787508684031 2017-12 Principles Ray Dalio United States of America CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
3 11 9787020116133 2017-06 Red Star Over China Edgar Snow United States of America People’s Literature Publishing House
11 12 9787521702415 2019-02 The American Trap Frederic Pierucci,Matthieu Aron France CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
14 13 9787508672069 2017-01 Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow Yuval Noah Harari Israel CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
18 14 9787544762885 2016-04 84, Charing Cross Road Helene Hanff United States of America Yilin Press
17 15 9787508692098 2018-07 21 Lessons for the 21st Century Yuval Noah Harari Israel CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
15 16 9787508650890 2015-05 Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson United States of America CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
19 17 9787210094906 2017-07 The Scroll Marked Dale Carnegie,Yang Yi United States of America Jiangxi People’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 18 9787544768511 2017-06 Three Days to See (New Edition) Helen Keller United States of America Yilin Press
Not Ranked 19 9787544768559 2017-07 Souvenirs Entomologiques Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre France Yilin Press
Not Ranked 20 9787540481544 2019-02 How to Win Friends & Influence People Dale Carnegie United States of America Hunan Literature & Art Press

Notes on the Charts

Image: A promotional still from the film ‘Weathering With You’ from Tenki no ko

Our China bestseller charts are

OpenBook is a privately owned industry-data research firm based in Beijing. It functions somewhat as Nielsen and NDP do from the West, and Nielsen Book Research International has worked with OpenBook in Asian operations. With authoritative data and information resources, OpenBook is able to deliver consulting service to partners who would like to explore the Chinese book market and identify suitable partners.

Jiang Boyan LLC advises authors and right’s holders on global intellectual property and investment opportunities.

As of July 1, this data is estimated by OpenBook to represent some 60 percent of the total sales activity in China. OpenBook draws point-of-sale data from more than 7,000 bookstores in China, including a total 4,151 physical bookstores representative of all the provinces in China except Tibet, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Retail outlets include:

  • Traditional bookstores
  • Supermarkets
  • Campus bookstores
  • “Professional” stores, said to be small stores with a specific industrial or trade focus
  • Airport stores

In addition, OpenBook is drawing data from online bookstores of three main types:

  • The “Tmall” stores of Alibaba (Tmall is described as a marketplace of companies that create storefronts online to sell products including books)
  • The “JingDong” Stores of JD.com (similar to Tmall as a marketplace of both individual companies and bookstores operated by JD.com)
  • Ten independent online bookselling retailers

China has 500 or more publishers in operation today. Most of them, Trajectory CEO James Bryant clarifies, are government-owned. Private publishers are required to generate ISBNs for their titles from a publishing company that is government-owned—which, in other words, creates a system in which all ISBNs are in one way or another registered through government channels. The government approves each book published in China.

Image: A promotional still from the film ‘Weathering With You’ from Tenki no ko


More China bestseller reports from Publishing Perspectives are here. And more from us on books, film, and television is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.