China Bestsellers in November: Screening ‘The Three-Body Problem’

In News by Porter Anderson

Anticipation of a new animated adaptation of Liu Cixin’s trilogy drove ‘The Three-Body Problem’ back to the top of China’s charts.

Zine Tseng, right, in a production still from the forthcoming Netflix adaptation of Liu Cixin’s ‘The Three-Body Problem.’ Image: Netflix, Bighead Littlehead

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

Animated and Live-Action Adaptations
Just when we thought that Liu Cixin’s Hugo Award-winning The Three-Body Problem (Chongqing Publishing House) couldn’t possibly rule China’s bestseller lists yet again, we were proved wrong in November.

The Macmillan/Tor Books cover

Not only did that first book in the three-volume series bounce to No. 1 in OpenBook’s Top 30, but its sister books from Chongqing Publishing, The Dark Forest and Death’s End, went to No. 3 and 4, respectively. Those who follow our regular China bestseller-list reports created in association with Beijing OpenBook are familiar with Liu’s 2008 work, which appeared originally in 2006 as a serialized tale in Science Fiction World. The three volumes form a trilogy with a Proustian title, “Remembrance of Earth’s Past,” but “The Three-Body Problem” has long been used by many to refer to the whole trio of books.

Ken Liu’s English translation appeared in 2016 (Macmillan/Tor Books). And you’ll notice that the eponymous first book is liveried with a design that looks a lot like a film poster.

Liu Cixin

Do you feel a tie-in coming on? Good instincts. Netflix’s live-action adaptation reportedly is in post-production to debut this year, a David Benioff (Bighead Littlehead) production with direction by Minkie Spiro and Derek Tsang and a cast that includes Jonathan Pryce, Jovan Adepo, Liam Cunningham, and Russell Yuen.

So is that what’s driving the return for the Liu books to the top of the Chinese charts? No, but another adaptation is. In that case, it’s the first television adaptation to be released, an animated production from the Shanghai-based Bilibili (sometimes called “B Site”).

The show was released in China in early December, and our associates at OpenBook say that it was the anticipation of that series that boosted sales of the three books right up the November fiction bestseller list in China.

A poster for the Chinese animated adaptation of ‘The Dark Forest,’ the second book in the Liu Cixin trilogy

A trailer for the animated production—in which have producers placed some of their focus on the trilogy’s fast-paced second—was released on November 20 and is said to have drawn more than 64 million views.

Meanwhile, our OpenBook colleagues also point to four other books, these having charted for the first time in China in November, thanks to some very specific media exposure, often on smaller screens:

  • Destiny by Cai Chongda at No. 5 (Zhejiang Literature & Art Press)
  • Red poppies by A Lai at No. 7 (Zhejiang Literature & Art Press)
  • Lychee in Chang’an by Ma Boyong at No. 9 (Hunan Literature & Art Press)
  • Cao Cao (3 volumes) by Yi Zhongtian at No. 13 (Shandong Literature & Art Press)

Yi Zhongtian, the author of the three-volume Cao Cao, leveraged an appearance on a popular Internet show we’ve encountered here before. His commentary on the live-streamed Oriental Selection Live Broadcast Room was obviously a savvy marketing move, but he’s also tapping into the Chinese readership’s love of historical pieces. The actual Cao Cao was chancellor of the Eastern Han dynasty, paving the way for the state of Cao Wei and becoming known popularly, if not quite accurately, as the “Emperor Wu of Wei.” Viewers of the Oriental Selection show enjoyed hearing Zhongtian’s lecture-like commentary enough to head right out and buy the book.

And there’s more. Those other three books we’ve just listed also used Oriental Selection as a springboard.

Zhongtian’s November 8 appearance on the show was followed by Cai Chongda on November 10 with a presentation of his Destiny, already an 8-year-old release. Oriental Selection lightning struck twice, judging from his debut on the charts at No. 5, right behind those “Three-Body Problem” books.

Next, a Tibetan writer known as A Lai then appeared on Oriental Selection on November 26 to plug his Red Poppies, which has been known for some time as a kind of Chinese edition of One Hundred Years of Solitude. Observers were able to watch his sales surge in real-time, OpenBook’s team tells us, as he talked on the show about the book’s evocation of Tibetan life. He cinched the No. 7 spot.

And then, on November 27, Ma Boyang, an author described as “talkative and humorous,” managed to interest his host Dong Yuhui and the audience in Lychee in Chang’an, prompting the sales that put his book into the No. 9 spot on the bestseller list.

Four books boosted in November by the show ‘Oriental Selection Live Broadcast Room.’ From left are ‘Destiny’; Red Poppies’; ‘Lychee in Chang’an’; and the three-volume ‘Cao Cao’

November Nonfiction Newcomers

‘If History were a Group of Cats: Southern Song, Jin and Yuan Dynasty’

In nonfiction, new entries on the list in November were:

  • Impromptu speech by Du Ying at No.6 (China Business Publishing House)
  • If History were a Group of Cats: Southern Song, Jin and Yuan Dynasty, yet another comedy-history riff by the popular Fei Zhi at No. 7 (Guangdong Tourism Publishing House)
  • You Can Heal Your Life by the late American motivational speaker Louise L.Hay (1926-2017) at No. 8 (China Astronautic Publishing House)
  • Chinese Communication Wisdom by Sun Yuzhong at No. 14 (China Industry and Commerce Joint Publishing)

We’re told that the annual “Double 11” promotions (for November 11) were especially effective with those historical catty books by Fei Zhi. And another newcomer to the charts, Accompany Children Through the Six Years of Primary School by Zhu Xiuting, arrived at No. 23 in an illustrated edition (Sichuan Education Press).

Coronavirus Concerns

At press time, international coverage of China’s struggle with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic quotes some experts estimating that the country could see as many as 1 million deaths from the virus in 2023, according a Reuters report by Yew Lun Tian, Farah Master, and Emma Farge.

As Chinese scientists briefed World Health Organization officials on Tuesday, it was unclear how the crisis may be impacting bookselling points of sale, particularly with the approach of the Lunar New Year complicating the outlook for retail.

A Bloomberg News report describes creamtoria being overwhelmed, one facility citing receipt of more than 500 bodies on a single day on which it would normally have received roughly 100. “While nobody knows the true extent of fatalities,” the report reads, “it’s clear [that] funeral homes in major cities are already at capacity–and some experts warn that the worst is yet to come.”

Kathryn Armstrong reports for the BBC, “China’s last daily COVID update, on December 24, reported fewer than 5,000 cases, but some analysts claim the daily caseload is already over 2 million, and could peak at almost 4 million this month.”

Today (January 4), Lily Kuo at the Washington Post reports, “Nearly a dozen countries have imposed entry restrictions on travelers arriving from China as it battles a surge in COVID infections that has raised alarms about the emergence of new variants and concerns about Beijing’s disclosure of information on the outbreak.”

Below, then, are OpenBook’s overall lists from November 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, November 2022
October 2022 Ranking November 2022 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Chinese Publisher
4 1 9787536692930 2008-01 The Three-Body Problem Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
1 2 9787020139590 2019-06 The Last Quarter of the Moon Chi Zijian People’s Literature Publishing House
9 3 9787536693968 2008-05 The Dark Forest Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
7 4 9787229030933 2010-11 Death’s End Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
Not Ranked 5 9787533969608 2022-09 Destiny Cai Chongda Zhejiang Literature & Art Press
2 6 9787530221532 2021-10 To Live (2021 Edition) Yu hua Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 7 9787533960919 2020-09 Red poppies A Lai Zhejiang Literature & Art Press
3 8 9787506331746 2005-05 Distant Savior Dou Dou The Writer’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 9 9787572608582 2022-10 Lychee in Chang’an Ma Boyong Hunan Literature & Art Press
8 10 9787544291170 2017-08 One Hundred Years of Solitude (50th Anniversary Edition) Gabriel García Márquez Nan Hai Publishing Co.
6 11 9787540487645 2018-06 Moments We Shared Zhang Jiajia Hunan Literature & Art Press
14 12 9787530221396 2021-06 Ordinary Word (3 Volumes) (2021 Edition) Lu Yao Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 13 9787532966363 2022-11 Cao Cao (3 volumes) Yi Zhongtian Shandong Literature & Art Press
16 14 9787020167098 2021-07 Annees Anne Ernaux People’s Literature Publishing House
5 15 9787513349437 2022-08 In The Beginning · Year Wang Shuo New Star Press Co.Ltd
11 16 9787530219218 2019-02 A Wavy Life Mai Jia Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
18 17 9787020008735 1998-07 Journey to the West Wu Cheng’en People’s Literature Publishing House
13 18 9787533966102 2021-12 Life and Death are Wearing Me Out Mo Yan Zhejiang Literature & Art Press
17 19 9787020002207 1998-07 Dream of the Red Chamber Cao Xueqin People’s Literature Publishing House
12 20 9787500601593 2005-08 Red Crag Luo Guangbin, Yang Yiyan China Youth Press
10 21 9787544766500 2017-01 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee Yilin Press
Not Ranked 22 9787020008728 1998-07 Romance of the Three Kingdoms Luo Guanzhong People’s Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 23 9787020008742 1998-07 Water Margin Shi Nai’an, Luo Guanzhong People’s Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 24 9787544291163 2017-08 Journey Under the Midnight Sun (2017 Edition) Keigo Higashino Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 25 9787536097261 2022-07 Someone to Talk To Liu Zhenyun Flower City Press
15 26 9787506368698 2013-06 The World Under the Sky Dou Dou The Writer’s Publishing House
21 27 9787530217962 2018-05 Cries in the Drizzle Yu hua Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
24 28 9787513331418 2018-08 The Seventh Day Yu hua New Star Press Co.Ltd
25 29 9787505738478 2016-10 A Madman’s Diary Lu Xun China Friendship Publishing Company
19 30 9787572602825 2021-08 Always Have, Always Will Zhang Jiajia Hunan Literature & Art Press

OpenBook’s Nonfiction Bestsellers, November 2022
October 2022 Ranking November 2022 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Chinese Publisher
1 1 9787559664464 2022-10 Wish You Love Yourself Too Fang Qi Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
14 2 9787547265727 2020-02 Impromptu Speeches He Liu Jilin Literature & History Press
2 3 9787563940615 2014-10 Accompany Children Through The Six Years Of Primary School Chai Yibing Beijing University of Technology Press
4 4 9787111495482 2015-04 The Courage to Be Disliked Ichiro Kishimi China Machine Press
3 5 9787561346259 2009-05 Yi Ching is Really to Understand Zeng Shiqiang Shaanxi Normal University Press
Not Ranked 6 9787520816199 2021-08 Impromptu speech Du Ying China Business Publishing House
Not Ranked 7 9787557028657 2022-10 If History were a Group of Cats: Southern Song, Jin and Yuan Dynasty Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
Not Ranked 8 9787801445445 2003-04 You Can Heal Your Life Louise L.Hay China Astronautic Publishing House
6 9 9787201161693 2020-08 Counselling for Toads: A Psychological Adventure Robert de Board Tianjin People’s Publishing House
10 10 9787571315252 2021-01 Take Care of Children’s Spleen and Stomach Li Aike Jiangsu Science & Technology Press
Not Ranked 11 9787201088945 2014-12 No More Than Skins Cai Chongda Tianjin People’s Publishing House
7 12 9787555262800 2017-12 The Power of Insensitivity Junichi Watanabe Qingdao Publishing House
8 13 9787222204331 2021-11 Details of Law Luo Xiang Yunnan People’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 14 9787515830292 2022-01 Chinese Communication Wisdom Sun Yuzhong China Industry and Commerce Joint Publishing Co. Ltd
19 15 9787521746709 2022-09 Reunion Sun Yue CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
17 16 9787208171336 2021-08 In the Affair: Chinese Government and Economic Development Lan Xiaohuan Shanghai People’s Publishing House
18 17 9787559313652 2017-09 If History were a Group of Cats: Xia, Shang and Western Zhou Dynasty Fei Zhi Heilongjiang Fine Arts Press
21 18 9787559330260 2018-06 If History were a Group of Cats: The Spring-autumn and Warring State Period Fei Zhi Heilongjiang Fine Arts Press
11 19 9787521733679 2021-09 The Most Tender Upbringing: Be a Gentle but Steadfast Parent Oh Eun-young CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
13 20 9787521603774 2019-08 The Faith as Premise of Freedom Luo Xiang China Legal Publishing House
16 21 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
27 22 9787557017477 2019-02 If History were a Group of Cats: Qin, Chu, Western Han and Eastern Han Dynasty Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
Not Ranked 23 9787540883690 2022-11 Accompany Children Through The Six Years Of Primary School Zhu Xiuting Sichuan Education Press
22 24 9787557025847 2021-11 If History were a Group of Cats: Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
Not Ranked 25 9787557020149 2019-09 If History were a Group of Cats: Three Kingdoms Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
29 26 9787557024413 2021-05 If History were a Group of Cats: Prosperity of the Tang Dynasty Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
Not Ranked 27 9787520813624 2021-06 Parents’ Language Li Yun China Business Publishing House
Not Ranked 28 9787557020132 2019-09 If History were a Group of Cats: The End of Eastern Han Dynasty Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
15 29 9787508653389 2015-07 The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War Ⅱ Iris Chang CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
Not Ranked 30 9787557023041 2020-10 If History were a Group of Cats: Sui and Tang Dynasty Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House

OpenBook’s Children’s Bestsellers, November 2022
October 2022 Ranking November 2022 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Chinese Publisher
1 1 9787218146768 2022-09 Manga Elementary School Student Psychology Han Tu Guangdong People’s Publishing House
21 2 9787559621337 2019-04 Butt Detective: Detective and the Fraud Troll Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
24 3 9787550286122 2016-11 Butt Detective: Disappeared Popular Dessert Troll Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
25 4 9787550286214 2016-11 Butt Detective: The Missing Lunch Box Troll Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
28 5 9787550286085 2016-11 Butt Detective: The Big Crisis of Small Director Troll Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
23 6 9787559608390 2018-01 Butt Detective: The Criminal Appears Troll Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
5 7 9787570711888 2021-12 Ultraman Series Photo Book for 55th Anniversary Tsuburaya Productions Anhui Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
26 8 9787550286238 2016-11 Butt Detective: Look for the Rainbow Diamond Troll Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 9 9787511052568 2020-08 Butt Detective: Snow Monster in Deep Mountain Troll Dolphin Press
2 10 9787573110930 2022-04 Psychology in Cartoon for Kids (5 volumes) Bai Mingyan Jilin Publishing Group Co., Ltd.
3 11 9787110103074 2022-02 Science Comics Loved by Pupils (4 volumes) Sunbook Popular Science Press
Not Ranked 12 9787548047698 2016-11 Sun Tzu’s Art of War Sun Wu Jiangxi Fine Arts Press
11 13 9787566714398 2018-09 Chinese Classic Stories (20 volumes) Cai Xiaobai Hunan University Press
10 14 9787566714350 2018-09 World Classic Fairy Tales (20 volumes) Cai Xiaobai Hunan University Press
4 15 9787533274269 2013-08 Guess How Much I Love You Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram Tomorrow Publishing House
9 16 9787536587694 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: I am a Pupil Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
12 17 9787536587724 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: Look at This Family Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
15 18 9787536587717 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: A Dog Called Rat Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
16 19 9787536587700 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: My Good Friend Tie Tou Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 20 9787115545824 2020-10 Lamb Going Up the Mountain: Chinese Graded Reader (Lv.1)(10 volumes) Children’s Fun Publishing Co., Ltd, Sun Bei Posts & Telecommunications Publishing House
Not Ranked 21 9787556864454 2022-04 Treasure Hunting in Inner Mongolia Jingding Comic 21st Century Press Group
Not Ranked 22 9787513936668 2021-11 First Introduction to Law for Children Cao Zhaopeng Democracy and Construction Press
Not Ranked 23 9787536587731 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: Trouble of the New Deskmate Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 24 9787536587762 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: If I Have a Time Machine Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 25 9787536587755 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: Secrets of Nature Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 26 9787536587748 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: A Lot of Fun Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 27 9787556855339 2021-08 Treasure Hunting in Heilongjiang Jingding Comic 21st Century Press Group
22 28 9787533264062 2010-12 Let’s Get Mung Beans, Momma! Zeng Yangqing, Wan Huaguo Tomorrow Publishing House
Not Ranked 29 9787115545831 2020-10 Lamb Going Up the Mountain: Chinese Graded Reader (Lv.2) (10 volumes) Children’s Fun Publishing Co., Ltd, Sun Bei Posts & Telecommunications Publishing House
Not Ranked 30 9787556834549 2018-04 Treasure Hunting in Beijing Sun Jiayu, Wu Chengqi 21st Century Press Group

Foreign Author Fiction Bestsellers, November 2022
October 2022 Ranking November 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.
3 2 9787020167098 2021-07 Annees Anne Ernaux France People’s Literature Publishing House
2 3 9787544766500 2017-01 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee United States of America Yilin Press
6 4 9787544291163 2017-08 Journey Under the Midnight Sun (2017 Edition) Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
5 5 9787208061644 2006-04 The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini United States of America Shanghai People’s Publishing House
4 6 9787530217054 2017-12 The Alchemist Paulo Coelho Brazil Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
9 7 9787544297059 2020-03 Love in the Time of Cholera (3 Million Sold Anniversary Edition) Gabriel García Márquez Colombia Nan Hai Publishing Co.
10 8 9787201112695 2017-03 Siddhartha Hermann Hesse Germany Tianjin People’s Publishing House
8 9 9787532175512 2020-05 13 Steps Kazuaki Takano Japan Shanghai Literature & Art Press
14 10 9787506394864 2017-09 Sophie’s World (New Edition) Jostein Gaarder Norway The Writer’s Publishing House
16 11 9787544269452 2021-11 Malice (2022 Edition) Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 12 9787532761760 2013-08 The Outsider Albert Camus France Shanghai Translation Publishing House
11 13 9787559614711 2018-01 Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Jeanette Winterson Britain Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
12 14 9787544298995 2020-09 Miracles of the Namiya General Store (2020 Edition) Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
7 15 9787540485337 2018-03 Tsubaki Stationery Store Ito Ogawa Japan Hunan Literature & Art Press
Not Ranked 16 9787532776771 2018-03 Norwegian Wood Haruki Murakami Japan Shanghai Translation Publishing House
19 17 9787533936020 2017-02 The Moon and Sixpence William Somerset Maugham Britain Zhejiang Literature & Art Press
15 18 9787559641182 2020-07 Scream Aki Hamanaka Japan Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 19 9787544291224 2017-08 After School (2017 Edition) Keigo Higashino Japan Nan Hai Publishing Co.
Not Ranked 20 9787539983295 2015-10 Foundation (Revised Edition) Isaac Asimov United States of America Jiangsu Literature & Art Press

Foreign Author Nonfiction Bestsellers, November 2022
October 2022 Ranking November 2022 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Author nationality Chinese Publisher
1 1 9787111495482 2015-04 The Courage to Be Disliked Ichiro Kishimi Japan China Machine Press
9 2 9787801445445 2003-04 You Can Heal Your Life Louise L.Hay United States of America China Astronautic Publishing House
2 3 9787201161693 2020-08 Counselling for Toads: A Psychological Adventure Robert de Board Britain Tianjin People’s Publishing House
3 4 9787555262800 2017-12 The Power of Insensitivity Junichi Watanabe Japan Qingdao Publishing House
4 5 9787521733679 2021-09 The Most Tender Upbringing: Be a Gentle but Steadfast Parent Oh Eun-young Korea CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
5 6 9787508653389 2015-07 The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War Ⅱ Iris Chang United States of America CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
14 7 9787515902241 2012-07 Letters to Louise: The Answers are Within You Louise L.Hay United States of America China Astronautic Publishing House
7 8 9787544276986 2019-10 Educated: A Memoir Tara Westover United States of America Nan Hai Publishing Co.
12 9 9787522200514 2021-05 Nonviolent Communication Marshall B.Rosenberg United States of America Huaxia Publishing House
10 10 9787505737488 2016-12 What Life Should Mean to You Alfred Adler Austria China Friendship Publishing Company
8 11 9787550268517 2016-07 Positive Discipline Jane Nelsen United States of America Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 12 9787521736816 2022-01 Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond United States of America CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
18 13 9787505745681 2018-12 The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind Gustave Le Bon France China Friendship Publishing Company
6 14 9787520711531 2019-11 A Compass to Fulfillment Kazuo Inamori Japan Orient Press
13 15 9787521741124 2022-04 The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness Eric Jorgenson United States of America CITIC Publishing House Co.,Ltd
Not Ranked 16 9787108041531 2013-01 Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China Ezra Feivel Vogel United States of America SDX Joint Publishing Company
11 17 9787111551287 2016-10 Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool United States of America China Machine Press
17 18 9787511714152 2012-08 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
Not Ranked 19 9787512714922 2017-09 The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind Gustave Le Bon France China Women’s Publishing House
19 20 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

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 October 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 hereMore from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing, which factors into this coverage, 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 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 (Fellow, 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.