China Bestsellers in June: Nonfiction Gets a Boost

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A streaming B2C marketing program, ‘Oriental Selection’ seems to be behind a big jump in June’s nonfiction charts.

In Shanghai, May 18: piles of rental bikes proliferate as lockdowns and other spread-mitigation measures are eased. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Graeme Kennedy

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

See also:
Beijing International Book Fair Moves Its Dates to November 24 to 28

New on Charts in June: 10 of the Top 30 Nonfiction Titles
An upheaval of sorts in the bestseller charts from China in June: No fewer than 10 books entered the Top 30 tracked by our associates at Beijing OpenBook.

‘Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise’

As our regular readers know, the Chinese markets’ bestseller lists change slowly by comparison to those of some of the world’s other large markets, and to see a third of the Top 30 in nonfiction turn over in a month is quite unusual, especially with the Top Five all being taken by new arrivals. And also of interest: these newcomers to the list are not from

Those newly charting books in June’s nonfiction ranks:

  • Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool, No. 1
  • The Beautiful Tang Poems in English and Chinese by Lu Su, No. 2
  • The Beautiful Song Poems in English and Chinese by Wu Yuyang, No. 3
  • The Beautiful Book of Songs in English and Chinese by Yan Hong, No. 4
  • A Lifelong Journey by Yu Minhong, No. 5
  • Minimalist Learning by Liao Heng, No. 11
  • The Gay Genius: The Life and Times of Su Tungpo by Lin Yutang, No. 12
  • The Young Dream Chasers by Yu Minhong, Zhou Chenggang, No. 15
  • Facts of Ming Dynasty (Enlarged Edition, nine volumes) by Dang Nian Ming Yue, No. 16
  • At the Turn of Xiajiang River: The Story of Chen Xingjia by Chen Xingjia, No. 19

‘The Beautiful Tang Poems in English and Chinese’

Behind nine of the 10, according to OpenBook’s team, is some very popular streamed programming by an educational company called New Oriental, which is said to be a provider of test-preparation services, language training, and more. During June, Wendy Pan tells us, the program Oriental Selection “emerged as a new force in live broadcast.” With a broadcast look and feel described as “elegant”—and “in sharp contrast with the noisy live broadcast in the past”—this is a channel for B2C merchandise marketing of products that include books.

The one new entry in the Top 10 in nonfiction that didn’t arrive on the wings of Oriental Selection was Minimalist Learning by Liao Heng, who is known as “Mr. Youliao” in his educational short-video social media appearances—in effect, an educational TikTok personality with a user base of some 20 million users.

You’ll recall that China’s “618” midyear promotions (for “June 18”) are quite impactful in Chinese retail channels, both physical and digital. While this was seen as helping gains in popular science for young readers and for the Business Primer for Children (No. 6) by Liu Run and his son Liu Xiaomi.

And in adult fiction, our associates point to heavy promotion in online retail for backlist titles, resulting in returns to the charts for some of the best-known titles:

  • Miracles of the Namiya General Store by Keigo Higashino, ranked No. 13
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, ranked No. 21
  • Journey Under the Midnight Sun (2017 Edition) by Keigo Higashino, ranked No .26

Below, then, are OpenBook’s overall lists from June of bestsellers in fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books, 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, June 2022
May 2022 Ranking June 2022 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Chinese Publisher
10 1 9787530221532 2021-10 To Live (2021 Edition) Yu hua Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 2 9787020139590 2019-06 The Last Quarter of the Moon Chi Zijian People’s Literature Publishing House
1 3 9787536692930 2008-01 The Three-Body Problem Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
2 4 9787536693968 2008-05 The Dark Forest Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
3 5 9787229030933 2010-11 Death’s End Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
23 6 9787530221396 2021-06 Ordinary Word (3 Volumes) (2021 Edition) Lu Yao Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
4 7 9787506331746 2005-05 Distant Savior Dou Dou The Writer’s Publishing House
7 8 9787544291170 2017-08 One Hundred Years of Solitude (50th Anniversary Edition) Gabriel García Márquez Nan Hai Publishing Co.
11 9 9787533966102 2021-12 Life and Death are Wearing Me Out Mo Yan Zhejiang Literature & Art Press
8 10 9787544766500 2017-01 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee Yilin Press
6 11 9787500601593 2005-08 Red Crag Luo Guangbin, Yang Yiyan China Youth Press
5 12 9787530219218 2019-02 A Wavy Life Mai Jia Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 13 9787544298995 2020-09 Miracles of the Namiya General Store (2020 Edition) Keigo Higashino Nan Hai Publishing Co.
9 14 9787540487645 2018-06 Moments We Shared Zhang Jiajia Hunan Literature & Art Press
21 15 9787020002207 1998-07 Dream of the Red Chamber Cao Xueqin People’s Literature Publishing House
13 16 9787506368698 2013-06 The World Under the Sky Dou Dou The Writer’s Publishing House
12 17 9787559455758 2021-12 Heliotrope & Zjz Ying Cheng Jiangsu Literature & Art Press
17 18 9787020090006 2012-07 Fortress Besieged Qian Zhongshu People’s Literature Publishing House
20 19 9787530221099 2021-02 Wencheng Yu hua Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
26 20 9787572602825 2021-08 Always Have, Always Will Zhang Jiajia Hunan Literature & Art Press
Not Ranked 21 9787208061644 2006-04 The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini Shanghai People’s Publishing House
22 22 9787530217962 2018-05 Cries in the Drizzle Yu hua Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
14 23 9787506344791 2008-12 Street Wizards Feng Jicai The Writer’s Publishing House
29 24 9787573500977 2022-04 Crystal Spiral Keigo Higashino Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 25 9787530216033 2017-09 Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (2017 Edition) Yu hua Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 26 9787544291163 2017-08 Journey Under the Midnight Sun (2017 Edition) Keigo Higashino Nan Hai Publishing Co.
16 27 9787020164776 2020-07 A Late Bloomer Mo Yan People’s Literature Publishing House
18 28 9787521200836 2018-08 Thiaoouba Prophecy Michael Desmarquet The Writer’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 29 9787020008742 1998-07 Water Margin Shi Nai’an,Luo Guanzhong People’s Literature Publishing House
24 30 9787521208740 2020-01 Street Wizards (3) Feng Jicai The Writer’s Publishing House

OpenBook’s Nonfiction Bestsellers, June 2022
May 2022 Ranking June 2022 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Chinese Publisher
Not Ranked 1 9787111551287 2016-10 Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool China Machine Press
Not Ranked 2 9787570214471 2020-03 The Beautiful Tang Poems in English and Chinese Lu Su Changjiang Literature & Art Press Co.,Ltd.
Not Ranked 3 9787570214488 2020-03 The Beautiful Song Poems in English and Chinese Wu Yuyang Changjiang Literature & Art Press Co.,Ltd.
Not Ranked 4 9787570214495 2020-03 The Beautiful Book of Songs in English and Chinese Yan Hong Changjiang Literature & Art Press Co.,Ltd.
Not Ranked 5 9787513349116 2022-05 A Lifelong Journey Yu Minhong New Star Press Co.Ltd
9 6 9787222204331 2021-11 Details of Law Luo Xiang Yunnan People’s Publishing House
6 7 9787201161693 2020-08 Counselling for Toads: A Psychological Adventure Robert de Board Tianjin People’s Publishing House
1 8 9787511320506 2012-08 Su Shu Huang Shigong, Ding Minxiang China Overseas Chinese Press
2 9 9787561346259 2009-05 Yi Ching is Really to Understand Zeng Shiqiang Shaanxi Normal University Press
4 10 9787111495482 2015-04 The Courage to Be Disliked Ichiro Kishimi China Machine Press
Not Ranked 11 9787559659385 2022-04 Minimalist Learning Liao Heng Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 12 9787540484880 2018-01 The Gay Genius: The Life and Times of Su Tungpo Lin Yutang Hunan Literature & Art Press
8 13 9787557027063 2022-04 If History were a Group of Cats: Song, Liao, Jin Dynasty and the Western Xia Regime Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
7 14 9787530848890 2010-01 Understand the Ways of the World Day by Day Zhang Yan Tianjin Science & Technology Press
Not Ranked 15 9787519306052 2020-08 The Young Dream Chasers Yu Minhong, Zhou Chenggang Qunyan Publishing House
Not Ranked 16 9787559602152 2017-06 Facts of Ming Dynasty (Enlarged Edition) (9 volumes) Dang Nian Ming Yue Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
11 17 9787557025847 2021-11 If History were a Group of Cats: Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
13 18 9787521603774 2019-08 The Faith as Premise of Freedom Luo Xiang China Legal Publishing House
Not Ranked 19 9787511568687 2021-01 At the Turn of Xiajiang River: The Story of Chen Xingjia Chen Xingjia People Daily Publishing House
16 20 9787559313652 2017-09 If History were a Group of Cats: Xia, Shang and Western Zhou Dynasty Fei Zhi Heilongjiang Fine Arts Press
18 21 9787557024413 2021-05 If History were a Group of Cats: Prosperity of the Tang Dynasty Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
30 22 9787544276986 2019-10 Educated: A Memoir Tara Westover Nan Hai Publishing Co.
17 23 9787559330260 2018-06 If History were a Group of Cats: The Spring-autumn and Warring State Period Fei Zhi Heilongjiang Fine Arts Press
26 24 9787557023041 2020-10 If History were a Group of Cats: Sui and Tang Dynasty Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
12 25 9787208171336 2021-08 In the Affair: Chinese Government and Economic Development Lan Xiaohuan Shanghai People’s Publishing House
19 26 9787557017477 20190-2 If History were a Group of Cats: Qin, Chu, Western Han and Eastern Han Dynasty Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
3 27 9787544334792 2011-01 Close to The Buddha Khenpo Sherab Zangpo Rinpoche Hainan Publishing House
25 28 9787557020149 20190-9 If History were a Group of Cats: Three Kingdoms Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
28 29 9787557020132 2019-09 If History were a Group of Cats: The End of Eastern Han Dynasty Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
29 30 9787557021856 2020-05 If History were a Group of Cats: Wei, Jin and the Northern and Southern Dynasties Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House

OpenBook’s Children’s Bestsellers, June 2022
May 2022 Ranking June 2022 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Chinese Publisher
2 1 9787110103074 2022-02 Science Comics Loved by Pupils (4 volumes) Sunbook Popular Science Press
Not Ranked 2 9787568183826 2021-11 Say No Loudly: Children’s Self-Protection Picture Book (8 volumes) Chen Junhong Northeast Normal University Press
Not Ranked 3 9787513936668 2021-11 First Introduction to Law for Children Cao Zhaopeng Democracy and Construction Press
1 4 9787570711888 2021-12 Ultraman Series Photo Book for 55th Anniversary Tsuburaya Productions Anhui Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
4 5 9787556864454 2022-04 Treasure Hunting in Inner Mongolia Jingding Comic 21st Century Press Group
Not Ranked 6 9787521734836 2021-10 Business Primer for Children Liu Run, Liu Xiaomi CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
Not Ranked 7 9787110092743 2019-01 The Natural History Book Dorling Kindersley Popular Science Press
Not Ranked 8 9787530599679 2021-09 The Art of War in Comics (3 volumes) Sun Wu, Han Jing Tianjin People’s Fine Arts Publishing House
Not Ranked 9 9787570803279 2019-10 Travel Around China Huang Yu Tomorrow Publishing House
Not Ranked 10 9787545560015 2020-11 Picture Book Series of Children’s Adversity Quotient (8 volumes) Little Kirin Books Heaven & Earth Press
Not Ranked 11 9787545560046 2020-11 Picture Book Series of Children’s Great Vision (8 volumes) Little Kirin Books Heaven & Earth Press
5 12 9787521726473 2020-12 A Dog Named Money Bodo Schafer CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
17 13 9787547261682 2019-07 Children, Read for Yourself Yu Li Jilin Literature & History Press
Not Ranked 14 9787532767373 2014-08 Charlotte’s Web Elwyn Brooks White Shanghai Translation Publishing House
Not Ranked 15 9787020171019 2021-06 Harry Potter Series (bilingual book) (11 volumes) JK Rowling People’s Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 16 9787501609413 2015-04 Bronze and Sunflower Cao Wenxuan Foreign Literature Press
12 17 9787536574366 2016-01 Mi Xiaoquan’s Brain-teaser: Stratego Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
27 18 9787573110930 2022-04 Psychology in Cartoon for Kids (5 volumes) Bai Mingyan Jilin Publishing Group Co., Ltd.
30 19 9787568290685 2020-11 The Classic of Mountains and Rivers for Kids Xu Pingping Beijing Institute of Technology Press
15 20 9787536574397 2016-01 Mi Xiaoquan’s Brain-teaser: Clever Little Prodigy Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 21 9787570222551 2021-08 Tree Boy Zhao Lihong Changjiang Literature & Art Press Co.,Ltd.
18 22 9787536574373 2016-01 Mi Xiaoquan’s Brain-teaser: The Great Adventure of the Castle Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
16 23 9787536574380 2016-01 Mi Xiaoquan’s Brain-teaser: Who’s the Smart Guy? Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 24 9787559654533 2021-09 Super Scholar: Physics Xiang Hua Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 25 9787545561722 2021-01 Picture Book Series of Children’s Self-discipline Ability (8 volumes) Little Kirin Books Heaven & Earth Press
Not Ranked 26 9787556855339 2021-08 Treasure Hunting in Heilongjiang Jingding Comic 21st Century Press Group
Not Ranked 27 9787555715719 2021-11 Encyclopedia for Chinese Children (8 volumes) WanYou Wenhua Chengdu Map Press
Not Ranked 28 9787545559897 2020-11 Picture Book Series of Children’s Mathematical Thinking (8 volumes) Little Kirin Books Heaven & Earth Press
Not Ranked 29 9787545560039 2020-11 Picture Book Series of Children’s Financial Quotient (8 volumes) Little Kirin Books Heaven & Earth Press
Not Ranked 30 9787520211130 2022-06 Chinese Children’s Illustrated Encyclopedia (3rd Edition) (4 volumes) Encyclopedia of China Publishing House

Foreign Author Fiction Bestsellers, June 2022
May 2022 Ranking June 2022 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Author nationality Chinese Publisher
1 1 9787544291170 2017-08 One Hundred Years of Solitude (50th Anniversary Edition) Gabriel García Márquez Colombia Nan Hai Publishing Co.
2 2 9787544766500 2017-01 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee United States of America Yilin Press
8 3 9787544298995 2020-09 Miracles of the Namiya General Store (2020 Edition) Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
7 4 9787208061644 2021-03 The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini United States of America Shanghai People’s Publishing House
5 5 9787573500977 2022-04 Crystal Spiral Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
9 6 9787544291163 2017-08 Journey Under the Midnight Sun (2017 Edition) Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
3 7 9787521200836 2018-08 Thiaoouba Prophecy Michael Desmarquet Australia The Writer’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 8 9787532175512 2020-05 13 Steps Kazuaki Takano Japan Shanghai Literature & Art Press
16 9 9787506394864 2017-09 Sophie’s World (New Edition) Jostein Gaarder Norway The Writer’s Publishing House
6 10 9787540485337 2018-03 Tsubaki Stationery Store Ito Ogawa Japan Hunan Literature & Art Press
11 11 9787544297059 2020-03 Love in the Time of Cholera (3 Million Sold Anniversary Edition) Gabriel García Márquez Colombia Nan Hai Publishing Co.
10 12 9787201112695 2017-03 Siddhartha Hermann Hesse Germany Tianjin People’s Publishing House
19 13 9787544291224 2017-08 After School (2017 Edition) Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 14 9787532776771 2021-10 Norwegian wood Haruki Murakami Japan Shanghai Translation Publishing House
15 15 9787549637270 2022-04 The Namesake Atsushi Shimomura Japan Wenhui Publishing House
12 16 9787541160912 2021-12 Fish Have No Feet Jón Kalman Stefánsson Iceland Sichuan Literature & Art Press
Not Ranked 17 9787533936020 2017-02 The Moon and Sixpence William Somerset Maugham Britain Zhejiang Literature & Art Press
18 18 9787539983295 2021-09 Foundation (Revised Edition) Isaac Asimov United States of America Jiangsu Literature & Art Press
14 19 9787544296274 2019-09 Summer, Fireworks, and My Corpse Otsuichi Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 20 9787544269452 2022-01 Malice (2022 Edition) Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.

Foreign Author Nonfiction Bestsellers, June 2022
May 2022 Ranking June 2022 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Author nationality Chinese Publisher
17 1 9787111551287 2021-04 Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool United States of America China Machine Press
2 2 9787201161693 2020-08 Counselling for Toads: A Psychological Adventure Robert de Board Britain Tianjin People’s Publishing House
1 3 9787111495482 2020-03 The Courage to Be Disliked Ichiro Kishimi Japan China Machine Press
5 4 9787544276986 2019-10 Educated: A Memoir Tara Westover United States of America Nan Hai Publishing Co.
4 5 9787508680965 2017-12 Predictably Irrational (Revised Edition) Dan Ariely United States of America CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
3 6 9787521733679 2021-09 The Most Tender Upbringing: Be a Gentle but Steadfast Parent Oh Eun-young Korea CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
9 7 9787550268517 2016-07 Positive Discipline Jane Nelsen United States of America Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 8 9787508660752 2017-02 Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Yuval Noah Harari Israel CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
14 9 9787111571544 2021-06 Thirty Million Words: Building A Child’s Brain Dana Suskind, Beth Suskind, Leslie Lewinter-Suskind United States of America China Machine Press
Not Ranked 10 9787020116133 2017-06 Red Star Over China Edgar Snow United States of America People’s Literature Publishing House
6 11 9787801445445 2008-01 You Can Heal Your Life Louise L. Hay United States of America China Astronautic Publishing House
8 12 9787511714152 2016-10 How to Talk so Teens will Listen and Listen so Teens will Talk Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish United States of America Central Compilation & Translation Press
7 13 9787521736816 2022-01 Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond United States of America CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
10 14 9787520711531 2019-11 A Compass to Fulfillment Kazuo Inamori Japan Orient Press
13 15 9787522200514 2021-05 Nonviolent Communication Marshall B.Rosenberg United States of America Huaxia Publishing House
Not Ranked 16 9787201146171 2019-05 The Why Cafe John P. Strelecky United States of America Tianjin People’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 17 9787100186438 2020-08 Republic Plato Ancient Greece The Commercial Press Co.Ltd
12 18 9787108009821 2014-03 1587, a Year of No Significance Ray Huang United States of America SDX Joint Publishing Company
15 19 9787521719253 2020-08 The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) Philippa Perry Britain CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
11 20 9787515902241 2012-07 Letters to Louise: The Answers are Within You Louise L. Hay United States of America China Astronautic Publishing House

Notes on the Charts

In Changsha City, Hunan Province. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Min Jing

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 January 1, 2020, OpenBook monitored more than 10,000 online and offline bookstores.

The online channel includes digital retailers such as large self-operated online stores, platform stores, and small- and medium-sized stores. The offline channels include 4,495 bookstores. Coverage includes most of the state-owned and influential privately owned bookstores in 30 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions. Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet are not included in OpenBook’s system.

In 2019, OpenBook tracked around 71.72 billion RMB in sales (US$10.1 billion).

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, Jiang Boyan 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.

In Shanghai, May 14. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Graeme Kennedy


More China bestseller reports from Publishing Perspectives are here, and more on the Chinese book publishing market is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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