China Bestsellers in August: ‘Live Streaming’ Drives Sales

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson1 Comment

New Oriental’s e-commerce ‘live streaming’ product pitches in China are credited with moving books onto the bestseller charts.

In Fenghuang, Hunan province. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Pawopa

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

‘The Square-Faced Teacher’
In looking at August’s bestseller charts in China, our associates at Beijing OpenBook have been talking about the social-media marketing effectiveness of live-streamed programs that function as interactive real-time podcasts to engage consumers and generate sales.

Dong Yuhui

One such series in particular, New Oriental‘s Oriental Selection, is hosted by Dong Yuhui—also known as “Michael”—an English-language tutor who mixes English into his live-streamed presentations on books. Descriptive engagement seems to be the specialty of this 30-year-old who has been nicknamed (affectionately), the “square-faced teacher.” As our colleagues describe this new media personality’s approach, he largely jumps past the hucksterism seen in other live-streaming sales settings, and instead focuses on describing the world of a book “through delicate and beautiful language.”

The format is interesting because in it, several hosts or anchors will appear to introduce and either talk about books or speak with their authors, the audience interacting with likes, comments, and, of course, purchases. As OpenBook’s research team puts it, “This form of live broadcast deepens consumers’ understanding of writers and works, and they can establish emotional and spiritual resonance with an author and the characters in a book.”

‘The Last Quarter of the Moon’

It’s a bit beyond the bedroom booktuber of years ago, in other words, and less vested in the amateur fandom of BookTok. Dong works with a “family” of fellow-hosts in the Oriental Selection “room.” And August’s chart-topper, The Last Quarter of the Moon by Chi Jijian, is thought by OpenBook’s researchers to have been placed atop the rankings by its exposure (and a sellout) on Oriental Selection.

“Compared with simple text introductions,” OpenBook’s commentary tells us, “the anchors may be more likely to achieve the goal of being closer to consumers and responding to consumer needs through accurate, direct, and vivid expressions and interaction with audience during live-streaming.” Like so many such digitally enabled approaches, Oriental Selection appears to play on a level of authenticity on the part of its hosts to connect with viewers and potential buyers.

‘In the World’

During August and in talk-show mode, OpenBook’s records show, New Oriental hosted a particularly strong round of authors, including Liang Xiaosheng (In the World, a three-volume set from China Youth Press) and Mai Jia (A Wavy Life from Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House), both of which joined The Last Quarter of the Moon from the People’s Literature Publishing House on the August Top 30 list in fiction.

Suffice it to say, it seems that the “square-faced teacher, host Dong Yuhui is the man to know if you’re a publisher or author in China looking for exposure online.

‘Take Care’

New Oriental, traded on the New York Stock Exchange (EDU) as well as on the HKEX, is a provider of private educational services in China which in August opened an app for live-streamed e-commerce  programming in 11 categories, as Asian-media news articles rhapsodize about “live streaming” being “all the rage.”

And also note that—apparently independent of live-streaming visibility—Da Bing’s new Take Care from Beijing Union Publishing Company moved right onto the charts at No. 2 in August, the latest work of an author who is said to have tens of millions of unit sales of his previous books. The readers have waited three years for this new title, the conclusion of Da’s Xiaolanshu series.

Below, then, are OpenBook’s overall lists from August 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, August 2022
July 2022 Ranking August 2022 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Chinese Publisher
1 1 9787020139590 2019-06 The Last Quarter of the Moon Chi Zijian People’s Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 2 9787559664129 2022-08 Take Care Da Bing Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
2 3 9787530221532 2021-10 To Live (2021 Edition) Yu hua Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
10 4 9787506331746 2005-05 Distant Savior Dou Dou The Writer’s Publishing House
8 5 9787544291170 2017-08 One Hundred Years of Solitude (50th Anniversary Edition) Gabriel García Márquez Nan Hai Publishing Co.
3 6 9787536692930 2008-01 The Three-Body Problem Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
5 7 9787500601593 2005-08 Red Crag Luo Guangbin, Yang Yiyan China Youth Press
9 8 9787020002207 1998-07 Dream of the Red Chamber Cao Xueqin People’s Literature Publishing House
11 9 9787544766500 2017-01 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee Yilin Press
6 10 9787536693968 2008-05 The Dark Forest Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
7 11 9787229030933 2010-11 Death’s End Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
14 12 9787540487645 2018-06 Moments We Shared Zhang Jiajia Hunan Literature & Art Press
30 13 9787506394314 2017-04 White Deer Plain Chen Zhongshi The Writer’s Publishing House
4 14 9787530221396 2021-06 Ordinary Word (3 Volumes) (2021 Edition) Lu Yao Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
13 15 9787530219218 2019-02 A Wavy Life Mai Jia Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 16 9787513349437 2022-08 In The Beginning Year Wang Shuo New Star Press Co.Ltd
Not Ranked 17 9787515350264 2018-01 In the World (3 Volumes) Liang Xiaosheng China Youth Press
Not Ranked 18 9787544291163 2017-08 Journey Under the Midnight Sun (2017 Edition) Keigo Higashino Nan Hai Publishing Co.
12 19 9787020008742 1998-07 Water Margin Shi Nai’an,Luo Guanzhong People’s Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 20 9787020127573 2017-10 White Deer Plain Chen Zhongshi People’s Literature Publishing House
22 21 9787533966102 2021-12 Life and Death are Wearing Me Out Mo Yan Zhejiang Literature & Art Press
20 22 9787506368698 2013-06 The World Under the Sky Dou Dou The Writer’s Publishing House
25 23 9787572602825 2021-08 Always Have, Always Will Zhang Jiajia Hunan Literature & Art Press
27 24 9787533963354 2022-02 Memories of Jiang Nan Wang Xufeng Zhejiang Literature & Art Press
Not Ranked 25 9787544786966 2021-06 The Catcher in the Rye Jerome David Salinger Yilin Press
17 26 9787020008735 1998-07 Journey to the West Wu Cheng’en People’s Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 27 9787530218792 2021-07 Life (2021) Lu Yao Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
24 28 9787208061644 2006-04 The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini Shanghai People’s Publishing House
28 29 9787229100605 2015-10 The Three-Body Problem (Collector’s Edition) Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
29 30 9787544298995 2020-09 Miracles of the Namiya General Store (2020 Edition) Keigo Higashino Nan Hai Publishing Co.

OpenBook’s Nonfiction Bestsellers, August 2022
July 2022 Ranking August 2022 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Chinese Publisher
2 1 9787511320506 2012-08 Su Shu Huang Shigong, Ding Minxiang China Overseas Chinese Press
4 2 9787561346259 2009-05 Yi Ching is Really to Understand Zeng Shiqiang Shaanxi Normal University Press
3 3 9787201161693 2020-08 Counselling for Toads: A Psychological Adventure Robert de Board Tianjin People’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 4 9787521733679 2021-09 The Most Tender Upbringing: Be a Gentle but Steadfast Parent Oh Eun-young CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
5 5 9787530848890 2010-01 Understand the Ways of the World Day by Day Zhang Yan Tianjin Science & Technology Press
Not Ranked 6 9787508689586 2018-07 Economics Lecture Notes Xue Zhaofeng CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
Not Ranked 7 9787503572692 2022-03 Xi Jinping in Shanghai Party School of the Central Committee of C.P.C Central Party School Press
8 8 9787111495482 2015-04 The Courage to Be Disliked Ichiro Kishimi China Machine Press
22 9 9787010246758 2022-06 Xi Jinping’s Footsteps (5 volumes) Editing Group of This Book People’s Publishing House
7 10 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
Not Ranked 11 9787544334792 2011-01 Close to The Buddha Khenpo Sherab Zangpo Rinpoche Hainan Publishing House
16 12 9787520802130 2018-05 Do Their Own Psychological Doctor Mo Yu China Business Publishing House
9 13 9787222204331 2021-11 Details of Law Luo Xiang Yunnan People’s Publishing House
1 14 9787559659385 2022-04 Minimalist Learning Liao Heng Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
28 15 9787555262688 2021-04 Danshari He Quanfeng Qingdao Publishing House
Not Ranked 16 9787111691020 2021-09 The Underlying Logic: How to See the Essence of Things Liu Run China Machine Press
10 17 9787508653389 2015-07 The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War Ⅱ Iris Chang CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
14 18 9787559662132 2022-06 Succeed by Others’ Strength Jin Qiang Da Shu Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
26 19 9787208171336 2021-08 In the Affair: Chinese Government and Economic Development Lan Xiaohuan Shanghai People’s Publishing House
12 20 9787513349116 2022-05 A Lifelong Journey Yu Minhong New Star Press Co.Ltd
15 21 9787557025847 2021-11 If History were a Group of Cats: Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
13 22 9787544276986 2019-10 Educated: A Memoir Tara Westover Nan Hai Publishing Co.
11 23 9787540484880 2018-01 The Gay Genius: The Life and Times of Su Tungpo Lin Yutang Hunan Literature & Art Press
6 24 9787020116133 2016-06 Red Star Over China Edgar Snow People’s Literature Publishing House
17 25 9787521603774 2019-08 The Faith as Premise of Freedom Luo Xiang China Legal Publishing House
18 26 9787559313652 2017-09 If History were a Group of Cats: Xia, Shang and Western Zhou Dynasty Fei Zhi Heilongjiang Fine Arts Press
Not Ranked 27 9787555262800 2017-12 The Power of Insensitivity Junichi Watanabe Qingdao Publishing House
27 28 9787508680965 2017-12 Predictably Irrational (Revised Edition) Dan Ariely CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
24 29 9787111551287 2016-10 Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool China Machine Press
Not Ranked 30 9787550268517 2016-07 Positive Discipline Jane Nelsen Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.

OpenBook’s Children’s Bestsellers, August 2022
July 2022 Ranking August 2022 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Chinese Publisher
2 1 9787516528495 2022-04 Comic Math Loved by Children (6 volumes) Yakov Perelman, QINGLAN TUSHU Aeronautics Industry Press
1 2 9787110103074 2022-02 Science Comics Loved by Pupils (4 volumes) Sunbook Popular Science Press
3 3 9787570711888 2021-12 Ultraman Series Photo Book for 55th Anniversary Tsuburaya Productions Anhui Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
4 4 9787513936668 2021-11 First Introduction to Law for Children Cao Zhaopeng Democracy and Construction Press
Not Ranked 5 9787555225560 2015-12 Teenagers Read Historical Records Zheng huihe, Zhang Jiahua Qingdao Publishing House
Not Ranked 6 9787502086855 2021-07 Why shouldn’t I? (10 volumes) Little Red Sail Emergency Management Press
Not Ranked 7 9787568183826 2021-11 Say No Loudly: Children’s Self-Protection Picture Book (8 volumes) Chen Junhong Northeast Normal University Press
Not Ranked 8 9787533264062 2010-12 Let’s Get Mung Beans, Momma! Zeng Yangqing, Wan Huaguo Tomorrow Publishing House
7 9 9787568290685 2020-11 The Classic of Mountains and Rivers for Kids Xu Pingping Beijing Institute of Technology Press
Not Ranked 10 9787566716347 2019-05 Souvenirs entomologiques (2nd Edition) (10 volumes) Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre, Cai Xiaobai Hunan University Press
27 11 9787570222551 2021-08 Tree Boy Zhao Lihong Changjiang Literature & Art Press Co.,Ltd.
12 12 9787556864454 2022-04 Treasure Hunting in Inner Mongolia Jingding Comic 21st Century Press Group
8 13 9787536574366 2016-01 Mi Xiaoquan’s Brain-teaser: Stratego Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
9 14 9787536574397 2016-01 Mi Xiaoquan’s Brain-teaser: Clever Little Prodigy Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
15 15 9787533299224 2018-10 Fantastic Mr. Fox Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake Tomorrow Publishing House
10 16 9787536574380 2016-01 Mi Xiaoquan’s Brain-teaser: Who’s the Smart Guy? Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
23 17 9787201077642 2013-01 The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Tianjin People’s Publishing House
11 18 9787536574373 2016-01 Mi Xiaoquan’s Brain-teaser: The Great Adventure of the Castle Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 19 9787530599679 2021-09 The Art of War in Comics (3 volumes) Sun Wu, Han Jing Tianjin People’s Fine Arts Publishing House
Not Ranked 20 9787576220469 2022-01 World Memory Champion teaches you to memorize ancient poems (extension) Wang Feng, Liu Su juacp Press
Not Ranked 21 9787122398161 2021-12 Kids Riddles Wu Jiping, Zhao Min Chemical Industry Press
Not Ranked 22 9787519013295 2016-07 Dream of the Red Chamber Cao Xueqin The Publishing House of the China Literary Federation
Not Ranked 23 9787576214703 2021-09 World Memory Champion teaches you to memorize ancient poems (Textbook Version) Wang Feng, Liu Su juacp Press
19 24 9787521726473 2020-12 A Dog Named Money Bodo Schafer CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
Not Ranked 25 9787556830411 2017-10 The Cricket in Times Square George Selden, Garth Williams 21st Century Press Group
Not Ranked 26 9787533259617 2009-03 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake Tomorrow Publishing House
30 27 9787536587694 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: I am a Pupil Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 28 9787534256301 2009-09 Dreaming of Being a Wolf King (2018 Edition) Shen Shixi Zhejiang Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
6 29 9787544288590 2018-06 Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window (2018 Edition) Tetsuko Kuroyanagi Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 30 9787534486579 2015-11 Zeng Guang Xian Wen Zhou Xitao Jiangsu Fine Arts Press

Foreign Author Fiction Bestsellers, August 2022
July 2022 Ranking August 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 9787544291163 2017-08 Journey Under the Midnight Sun (2017 Edition) Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 4 9787544786966 2021-06 The Catcher in the Rye Jerome David Salinger United States of America Yilin Press
5 5 9787208061644 2006-04 The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini United States of America Shanghai People’s Publishing House
6 6 9787544298995 2020-09 Miracles of the Namiya General Store (2020 Edition) Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
4 7 9787506394864 2017-09 Sophie’s World (New Edition) Jostein Gaarder Norway The Writer’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 8 9787540485337 2018-03 Tsubaki Stationery Store Ito Ogawa Japan Hunan Literature & Art Press
10 9 9787532175512 2020-05 13 Steps Kazuaki Takano Japan Shanghai Literature & Art Press
12 10 9787521200836 2018-08 Thiaoouba Prophecy Michael Desmarquet Australia The Writer’s Publishing House
7 11 9787573500977 2022-04 Crystal Spiral Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
15 12 9787559614711 2018-01 Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Jeanette Winterson Britain Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
14 13 9787544297059 2020-03 Love in the Time of Cholera (3 Million Sold Anniversary Edition) Gabriel García Márquez Colombia Nan Hai Publishing Co.
9 14 9787544282086 2016-02 The Moon and Sixpence William Somerset Maugham Britain Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 15 9787544291224 2017-08 After School (2017 Edition) Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 16 9787544269452 2022-01 Malice (2022 Edition) Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 17 9787533936020 2017-02 The Moon and Sixpence William Somerset Maugham Britain Zhejiang Literature & Art Press
19 18 9787201112695 2017-03 Siddhartha Hermann Hesse Germany Tianjin People’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 19 9787530217054 2017-12 The Alchemist Paulo Coelho Brazil Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 20 9787544281102 2016-01 Newcomer Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.

Foreign Author Nonfiction Bestsellers, August 2022
July 2022 Ranking August 2022 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Author nationality Chinese Publisher
1 1 9787201161693 2020-08 Counselling for Toads: A Psychological Adventure Robert de Board Britain Nan Hai Publishing Co.
8 2 9787521733679 2021-09 The Most Tender Upbringing: Be a Gentle but Steadfast Parent Oh Eun-young Korea Yilin Press
3 3 9787111495482 2015-04 The Courage to Be Disliked Ichiro Kishimi Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
4 4 9787508653389 2015-07 The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War Ⅱ Iris Chang United States of America Yilin Press
5 5 9787544276986 2019-10 Educated: A Memoir Tara Westover United States of America Shanghai People’s Publishing House
2 6 9787020116133 2016-06 Red Star Over China Edgar Snow United States of America Nan Hai Publishing Co.
11 7 9787555262800 2017-12 The Power of Insensitivity Junichi Watanabe Japan The Writer’s Publishing House
7 8 9787508680965 2017-12 Predictably Irrational (Revised Edition) Dan Ariely United States of America Hunan Literature & Art Press
6 9 9787111551287 2016-10 Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool United States of America Shanghai Literature & Art Press
9 10 9787550268517 2016-07 Positive Discipline Jane Nelsen United States of America The Writer’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 11 9787108009821 1998-07 1587, a Year of No Significance Ray Huang United States of America Nan Hai Publishing Co.
16 12 9787521741124 2022-04 The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness Eric Jorgenson United States of America Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 13 9787801445445 2003-04 You Can Heal Your Life Louise L.Hay United States of America Nan Hai Publishing Co.
19 14 9787522200514 2021-05 Nonviolent Communication Marshall B.Rosenberg United States of America Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 15 9787520711531 2019-11 A Compass to Fulfillment Kazuo Inamori Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
20 16 9787505737488 2016-12 What Life Should Mean to You Alfred Adler Austria Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 17 9787515902241 2012-07 Letters to Louise: The Answers are Within You Louise L.Hay United States of America Zhejiang Literature & Art Press
Not Ranked 18 9787511375278 2018-08 The Advice of Perfect Life for Woman Dale Carnegie United States of America Tianjin People’s Publishing House
15 19 9787511714152 2012-08 How to Talk so Teens will Listen and Listen so Teens will Talk Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish United States of America Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 20 9787210096528 2017-09 Mindset: The New Psychology of Success Carol S.Dweck United States of America Nan Hai Publishing Co.

Notes on the Charts

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.


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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