China Bestsellers September: Author-Buddies Yu and Mo

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Old friends: Ten of the books on China’s September Top 30 in fiction had each been on the list more than 20 times in the past.

A September afternoon in Tianjin Water Park, a 72-year-old recreational park project in the coastal northern Chinese city. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Wirestock

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

Books for ‘Young People With Colorful Hair’
At times, we’ve observed along with our readers that China’s bestseller lists are among the slowest-changing  in world markets. The month of September demonstrates the point that this isn’t just a matter of books staying on the lists for long periods but also of a remarkable churn, books returning repeatedly, for new rounds of attention.

Yu Hua’s ‘To Live’ in a 2021 edition

The September fiction list from our research associates at Beijing OpenBook includes 10 books among the Top 30 each of which has previously charted more than 20 times.

Particularly dominant in September, the broadly popular author Yu Hua–a Colleen Hoover of China’s bestseller lists—held six spots of 30 with:

  • To Live (2021 edition)
  • The Seventh Day
  • Cries in the Drizzle
  • Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (2017 edition)
  • Wencheng
  • Brothers (2022 edition)

Yu Hua

Three of those titles also point to how compelling many readers in China seem to find new editions of previously published works. The arrival of a new edition frequently can trigger new sales for a popular book.

Yu has built his popularity on two things, drawing what’s described as “many young people with colorful hair” to his signings to meet the celebrity author.

First, Yu has a career in place as a comedian, doing standup acts that tend to challenge the traditional idea of authors as aloof and mysterious figures fixated solely on serious issues. Second, his material resonates with young readers, some of whom call him “the scribble puppy” at book signings, one of his suggestions being that “the best offense is humor.”

Mo Yan

The Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Mo Yan is another stalwart of the lists, many readers of whom had wanted to see make appearances with his friend–the “scribble puppy” Yu Hua. In the second season of a popular “cultural reading variety show” called I Read on the Island, fans of both authors got their wish, with the permanent guest Yu welcoming his buddy Mo to entertain viewers with their banter and fondness for teasing each other.

Mo Yan’s ‘A Late Bloomer’

A lot of the support for these two writers, OpenBook’s team tells us, is found in short-video social media channels that are keeping the two friends in the public eye even when they’re not making appearances.

By contrast with fiction, the nonfiction list in September showed 15 of 30 titles being new to the rankings.

Walter Isaacson’s recently released Elon Musk entered the list at No. 3, with Me and the Temple of Earth on top and Be a Calm Mom in second place.

While the Musk book is at No. 3 on the overall nonfiction list, when it comes to foreign nonfiction, it’s on the top of that chart.

“On one hand,” an OpenBook associate tells us, the Musk book “capitalized on the popularity of the Tesla founder.”

Walter Isaacson’s ‘Elon Musk’

But just as important, apparently, to Chinese readers is Isaacson’s fame as a leading biographer. The book, having been published in September, almost immediately captured its leadership on the nonfiction lists.

Another newcomer to the list, Waiting for a Full Moon by Zhang Houchen, who is in his 30s and brings what fans say is a healing, inspirational tone to issues including love, family, and friendship.

In children’s books, we see another slow-moving chart, and this in September when Chinese students go back to school.

With primary and secondary schools reopening, sales picked up for all four volumes of the “Mi Xiaoquan School Experience” series, even as popular summer reads including Mi Xiaoquan’s Brain-Teaser immediately lost altitude and failed to make it into the Top 30.

‘Winter of Three Hairs’

This indicates that sales performance varies among different sub-series within the “Mi Xiaoquan” collection according to students’ schooling schedules and holidays, highlighting a rather remarkable short line between the educational calendar and market performance.

Nevertheless, these sub-series can complement each other by catering to students’ reading needs at different times throughout the year.

A relatively impressive jump from No. 27 in August to No. 19 in September was performed by “Winter of Three Hairs” from Juvenile & Children’s Publishing House, a book by Zhang Leping.

Below, then, are OpenBook’s overall lists from September 2023 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, September 2023
August 2023 Ranking September 2023 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
3 2 9787530221532 2021-10 To Live (2021 Edition) Yu hua Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
20 3 9787513348744 2022-11 The Seventh Day Yu hua New Star Press Co., Ltd.
2 4 9787572608582 2022-10 The Litchi Road Ma Boyong Hunan Literature & Art Press
5 5 9787544291170 2017-08 One Hundred Years of Solitude (50th Anniversary Edition) Gabriel García Márquez Nan Hai Publishing Co.
7 6 9787540487645 2018-06 Moments We Shared Zhang Jiajia Hunan Literature & Art Press
10 7 9787536692930 2008-01 The Three-Body Problem Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
12 8 9787536693968 2008-05 The Dark Forest Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
24 9 9787536097261 2022-07 Someone to Talk To Liu Zhenyun Flower City Press
13 10 9787229030933 2010-11 Death’s End Liu Cixin Chongqing Publishing House
4 11 9787020002207 1998-07 Dream of the Red Chamber Cao Xueqin People’s Literature Publishing House
11 12 9787020008735 1998-07 Journey to the West Wu Cheng’en People’s Literature Publishing House
21 13 9787201141527 2018-10 Strait is the Gate Andre Gide Tianjin People’s Publishing House
15 14 9787530221396 2021-06 Ordinary Word (3 Volumes) (2021 Edition) Lu Yao Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
8 15 9787500601593 2005-08 Red Crag Luo Guangbin, Yang Yiyan China Youth Press
9 16 9787572610912 2023-05 The Annoyance of the Gods Ma Boyong Hunan Literature & Art Press
Not Ranked 17 9787530222454 2023-06 Cries in the drizzle Yu hua Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 18 9787530216033 2017-09 Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (2017 Edition) Yu hua Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
16 19 9787506331746 2005-05 Distant Savior Dou Dou The Writer’s Publishing House
19 20 9787020127894 2017-07 Fortress Besieged Qian Zhongshu People’s Literature Publishing House
27 21 9787533966102 2021-12 Life and Death are Wearing Me Out Mo Yan Zhejiang Literature & Art Press
Not Ranked 22 9787530221099 2021-02 Wencheng Yu hua Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
22 23 9787208061644 2006-04 The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini Shanghai People’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 24 9787530222324 2021-11 Brothers (2022 Edition) Yu hua Beijing October Art & Literature Publishing House
18 25 9787572602825 2021-08 Always Have, Always Will Zhang Jiajia Hunan Literature & Art Press
26 26 9787559478153 2023-07 Voice of the dead Qin Ming Jiangsu Literature & Art Press
Not Ranked 27 9787544766500 2017-01 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee Yilin Press
28 28 9787020008742 1998-07 Water Margin Shi Nai’an, Luo Guanzhong People’s Literature Publishing House
29 29 9787020164776 2020-07 A Late Bloomer Mo Yan People’s Literature Publishing House
17 30 9787544291163 2017-08 Journey Under the Midnight Sun (2017 Edition) Keigo Higashino Nan Hai Publishing Co.

OpenBook’s Nonfiction Bestsellers, September 2023
August 2023 Ranking September 2023 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Chinese Publisher
9 1 9787020084357 2011-04 I and the Temple of Earth Shi Tiesheng People’s Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 2 9787557669720 2019-11 Be a Calm Mom Zhou Yunwei Tianjin Science & Technology Press
Not Ranked 3 9787521758399 2023-09 Elon Musk Walter Isaacson CITIC Publishing House Co., Ltd.
10 4 9787559656995 2021-12 Winning The Three-year High School Critical Period Zhang Xuefeng Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
13 5 9787559669131 2023-07 Cognitive Breakthrough Zhang Qi Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
29 6 9787557019167 2019-10 Classic Quotes From Zeng Shiqiang Luo Fu Shan Guo Xue Yuan Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
16 7 9787505747098 2019-05 A Sideline to Make Money Angie China Friendship Publishing Company
8 8 9787521754803 2023-03 Believe Cai Lei CITIC Publishing House Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 9 9787208171336 2021-08 In the Affair: Chinese Government and Economic Development Lan Xiaohuan Shanghai People’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 10 9787557634261 2018-03 Collection Of Old Folk Remedies Li Chunshen Tianjin Science & Technology Press
6 11 9787511386335 2023-08 Game Thinking Dong Yun China Overseas Chinese Press
12 12 9787111495482 2015-04 The Courage to Be Disliked Ichiro Kishimi China Machine Press
Not Ranked 13 9787559635525 2019-10 The Order Boom: 40 Sales Tips To Get Customers To Volunteer To Pay Zhou Shenghui Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 14 9787214114075 2014-04 More Than Just Pleasantry: Reveal The Most Connotation Of China As A State Of Etiquette Li Zonghou Jiangsu People’s Publishing House
15 15 9787557030162 2023-05 If History were a Group of Cats: Late Yuan and Early Ming Dynasty Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House
14 16 9787222204331 2021-11 Details of Law Luo Xiang Yunnan People’s Publishing House
11 17 9787201161693 2020-08 Counselling for Toads: A Psychological Adventure Robert de Board Tianjin People’s Publishing House
22 18 9787571315252 2021-01 Take Care of Children’s Spleen and Stomach Li Aike Jiangsu Science & Technology Press
Not Ranked 19 9787511065315 2023-09 Parents’ Language Guide (2 volumes) Shiguangxue Educational Research Center Dolphin Press
Not Ranked 20 9787572613722 2023-09 Waiting For A Full Moon Zhang Haochen Hunan Literature & Art Press
Not Ranked 21 9787020135639 2018-03 I and the Temple of Earth Shi Tiesheng People’s Literature Publishing House
Not Ranked 22 9787513934053 2021-04 Financial freedom Grant Sabatier Democracy and Construction Press
Not Ranked 23 9787540484880 2018-01 The Gay Genius: The Life and Times of Su Tungpo Lin Yutang Hunan Literature & Art Press
18 24 9787512622456 2013-12 Nothing In Life Can Not Be Put Down – Hongyi Wisdom Of Life Song Mo Tuanjie Press
Not Ranked 25 9787572608377 2022-09 It’s A Long Journey Lu Sihao Hunan Literature & Art Press
7 26 9787554617922 2023-05 Allow Everything To Happen: Live A Relaxed Life Li Mengji Guwuxuan Publishing House
17 27 9787561346259 2009-05 Yi Ching is Really to Understand Zeng Shiqiang Shaanxi Normal University Press
Not Ranked 28 9787101127867 2017-09 Translation and Annotation of the Analects of Confucius Yang Bojun Zhonghua Book Company
Not Ranked 29 9787569922400 2018-06 Management Is Top EQ: Art Of Good Cop And Bad Cop Management Zhang Yan Bejing Times Chinese Press
Not Ranked 30 9787557028657 2022-10 If History were a Group of Cats: Southern Song, Jin and Yuan Dynasty Fei Zhi Guangdong Tourism Publishing House

OpenBook’s Children’s Bestsellers, September 2023
August 2023 Ranking September 2023 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Chinese Publisher
1 1 9787558336942 2023-05 Knowledge Has A Picture: Manga Chinese and Foreign History Chen Lei · Hun Zhi Team Guangdong New Century Press
12 2 9787533274269 2013-08 Guess How Much I Love You Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram Tomorrow Publishing House
Not Ranked 3 9787218169095 2023-09 Su Shu (2 volumes) Han Tu Guangdong People’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 4 9787549288861 2023-08 Good Night Baby: Classic Early Childhood Reading (40 volumes) Wen Zhi Chang Jiang Press
29 5 9787544288590 2018-06 Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window (2018 Edition) Tetsuko Kuroyanagi Nan Hai Publishing Co.
4 6 9787110105764 2023-05 Science Comics Loved by Pupils Sunbook Popular Science Press
Not Ranked 7 9787521758719 2023-09 Donut Touch Seb Davey, Alex Willmore CITIC Publishing House Co., Ltd.
9 8 9787521739077 2022-07 The Grolltroll (4 volumes) Barbara van den Speulhof CITIC Publishing House Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 9 9787532767373 2014-08 Charlotte’s Web Elwyn Brooks White Shanghai Translation Publishing House
Not Ranked 10 9787115545824 2020-10 Lamb Going Up the Mountain: Chinese Graded Reader (Lv.1)(10 volumes) Sun Bei Posts & Telecommunications Publishing House
14 11 9787533299224 2018-10 Fantastic Mr. Fox Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake Tomorrow Publishing House
Not Ranked 12 9787559015266 2017-06 Friendship, to be Rented (with Chinese Pinyin) Fang Suzhen, Hao Luowen Xinjiang Children and Youth Publishing House
Not Ranked 13 9787516835708 2023-08 This Is The Psychological Self-Help Book That Children Love Li Shaocong Taihai Publishing House
Not Ranked 14 9787533273460 2013-05 Something from Nothing Phoebe Gilman Tomorrow Publishing House
15 15 9787552707397 2023-06 DU ZHE School Edition 10th Anniversary Essence Volume (4 volumes) DUZHE Duzhe Press Co., Ltd.
10 16 9787570818648 2023-06 The Diary of Smiling Cat: Smiling Cat in the Forbidden City Yang Hongying Tomorrow Publishing House
Not Ranked 17 9787533273477 2013-05 Diary of a Worm Doreen Cronin, Harry Bliss Tomorrow Publishing House
Not Ranked 18 9787512677586 2020-04 The Runaway Bunny Margaret Wise Brown Tuanjie Press
27 19 9787558900648 2017-07 Winter of Three Hairs (With Chinese Pinyin) Zhang Leping Juvenile & Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 20 9787536587694 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: I am a Pupil Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
11 21 9787550051942 2023-08 Children’s Manga Psychology (4 volumes) Shiguangxue Educational Research Center Baihuazhou Literature & Art Publishing House
Not Ranked 22 9787559706522 2018-05 The Foolish and the Unhappy (With Chinese Pinyin) Ren Rongrong Zhejiang Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 23 9787536587717 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: A Dog Called Rat Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 24 9787115545831 2020-10 Lamb Going Up the Mountain: Chinese Graded Reader (Lv.2) (10 volumes) Sun Bei Posts & Telecommunications Publishing House
Not Ranked 25 9787536587724 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: Look at This Family Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 26 9787536587700 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: My Good Friend Tie Tou Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 27 9787201077642 2013-01 The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Tianjin People’s Publishing House
17 28 9787559621337 2019-04 Butt Detective: Detective and the Fraud Troll Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 29 9787558575280 2023-06 Manga Child Psychology Bookworm Culture, Liu He The North China Women&Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 30 9787531332091 2008-05 Xili Hulu The Little Pig (Zhuyin Version) (Vol.1) Sun You Jun Chunfeng Art & Literature Publishing House

Foreign Author Fiction Bestsellers, September 2023
August 2023 Ranking September 2023 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Author nationality Chinese Publisher
1 1 9787558336942 2023-05 Knowledge Has A Picture: Manga Chinese and Foreign History Chen Lei, Hun Zhi Team Guangdong New Century Press
12 2 9787533274269 2013-08 Guess How Much I Love You Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram Tomorrow Publishing House
Not Ranked 3 9787218169095 2023-09 Su Shu (2 volumes) Han Tu Guangdong People’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 4 9787549288861 2023-08 Good Night Baby: Classic Early Childhood Reading (40 volumes) Wen Zhi Chang Jiang Press
29 5 9787544288590 2018-06 Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window (2018 Edition) Tetsuko Kuroyanagi Nan Hai Publishing Co.
4 6 9787110105764 2023-05 Science Comics Loved by Pupils Sunbook Popular Science Press
Not Ranked 7 9787521758719 2023-09 Donut Touch Seb Davey, Alex Willmore CITIC Publishing House Co., Ltd.
9 8 9787521739077 2022-07 The Grolltroll (4 volumes) Barbara van den Speulhof CITIC Publishing House Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 9 9787532767373 2014-08 Charlotte’s Web Elwyn Brooks White Shanghai Translation Publishing House
Not Ranked 10 9787115545824 2020-10 Lamb Going Up the Mountain: Chinese Graded Reader (Lv.1)(10 volumes) Sun Bei Posts & Telecommunications Publishing House
14 11 9787533299224 2018-10 Fantastic Mr. Fox Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake Tomorrow Publishing House
Not Ranked 12 9787559015266 2017-06 Friendship, to be Rented (with Chinese Pinyin) Fang Suzhen, Hao Luowen Xinjiang Children and Youth Publishing House
Not Ranked 13 9787516835708 2023-08 This Is The Psychological Self-Help Book That Children Love Li Shaocong Taihai Publishing House
Not Ranked 14 9787533273460 2013-05 Something from Nothing Phoebe Gilman Tomorrow Publishing House
15 15 9787552707397 2023-06 DU ZHE School Edition 10th Anniversary Essence Volume (4 volumes) DUZHE Duzhe Press Co., Ltd.
10 16 9787570818648 2023-06 The Diary of Smiling Cat: Smiling Cat in the Forbidden City Yang Hongying Tomorrow Publishing House
Not Ranked 17 9787533273477 2013-05 Diary of a Worm Doreen Cronin, Harry Bliss Tomorrow Publishing House
Not Ranked 18 9787512677586 2020-04 The Runaway Bunny Margaret Wise Brown Tuanjie Press
27 19 9787558900648 2017-07 Winter of Three Hairs (With Chinese Pinyin) Zhang Leping Juvenile & Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 20 9787536587694 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: I am a Pupil Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
11 21 9787550051942 2023-08 Children’s Manga Psychology (4 volumes) Shiguangxue Educational Research Center Baihuazhou Literature & Art Publishing House
Not Ranked 22 9787559706522 2018-05 The Foolish and the Unhappy (With Chinese Pinyin) Ren Rongrong Zhejiang Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 23 9787536587717 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: A Dog Called Rat Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 24 9787115545831 2020-10 Lamb Going Up the Mountain: Chinese Graded Reader (Lv.2)(10 volumes) Sun Bei Posts & Telecommunications Publishing House
Not Ranked 25 9787536587724 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: Look at This Family Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 26 9787536587700 2018-04 Mi Xiaoquan School Experience: My Good Friend Tie Tou Bei Mao Sichuan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 27 9787201077642 2013-01 The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Tianjin People’s Publishing House
17 28 9787559621337 2019-04 Butt Detective: Detective and the Fraud Troll Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 29 9787558575280 2023-06 Manga Child Psychology Bookworm Culture,Liu He The North China Women&Children’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 30 9787531332091 2008-05 Xili Hulu The Little Pig (Zhuyin Version) (Vol.1) Sun You Jun Chunfeng Art & Literature Publishing House

Foreign Author Nonfiction Bestsellers, September 2023
August 2023 Ranking September 2023 Ranking ISBN Release Date Title (Translated) Author Author nationality Chinese Publisher
Not Ranked 1 9787521758399 2023-09 Elon Musk Walter Isaacson United States of America CITIC Publishing House Co., Ltd.
2 2 9787111495482 2015-04 The Courage to Be Disliked Ichiro Kishimi Japan China Machine Press
1 3 9787201161693 2020-08 Counselling for Toads: A Psychological Adventure Robert de Board Britain Tianjin People’s Publishing House
5 4 9787513934053 2021-04 Financial freedom Grant Sabatier United States of America Democracy and Construction Press
4 5 9787544276986 2019-10 Educated: A Memoir Tara Westover United States of America Nan Hai Publishing Co.
3 6 9787555262800 2017-12 The Power of Insensitivity Junichi Watanabe Japan Qingdao Publishing House
6 7 9787020116133 2016-06 Red Star Over China Edgar Snow United States of America People’s Literature Publishing House
12 8 9787801445445 2003-04 You Can Heal Your Life Louise L.Hay United States of America China Astronautic Publishing House
8 9 9787550268517 2016-07 Positive Discipline (Revised Edition) Jane Nelsen United States of America Beijing Union Publishing Co., Ltd.
11 10 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.
Not Ranked 11 9787111551287 2016-10 Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool United States of America China Machine Press
13 12 9787522200514 2021-05 Nonviolent Communication Marshall B. Rosenberg United States of America Huaxia Publishing House
14 13 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.
15 14 9787521753059 2023-04 The next days Kevin Kelly United States of America CITIC Publishing House Co., Ltd.
Not Ranked 15 9787521733679 2021-09 The Most Tender Upbringing: Be a Gentle but Steadfast Parent Oh Eun-young Korea CITIC Publishing House Co., Ltd.
19 16 9787520711531 2019-11 A Compass to Fulfillment Kazuo Inamori Japan Orient Press
10 17 9787542669018 2020-06 The Memoir of Literature (1989-1994) Mu Xin, Chen Danqing United States of America Shanghai Joint Publishing Company
17 18 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.
Not Ranked 19 9787210096528 2017-09 Mindset: The New Psychology of Success Carol S. Dweck United States of America Jiangxi People’s Publishing House
Not Ranked 20 9787111703631 2022-04 The Effective Executive Peter F. Drucker United States of America China Machine Press

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.

At last report, OpenBook monitored more than 18,000 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 more than 4,800 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 2022, OpenBook tracked around 76.21 billion RMB in sales (US$10.62 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 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 registered through government channels. The government approves each book published in China.


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

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