China Bestsellers in July: Etiquette and Education

From Publishing Perspectives:

In looking at the July bestsellers in the Chinese market, the familiar summertime pattern was clearly in place, as sales of the four key classic novels recognized in educational programming in China was led by a new version from Publishing House of the China Literary Federation of Cao Xuequin’s Dream of the Red Chamber making its move for the first time onto the fiction charts.

This as well as Shi Nai’an and Luo Guanzhong’s Water Margin (People’s Literature Publishing House) and Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West (People’s Literature Publishing House) are often animated by the release of new editions, and this summer, the usual engine of primary and secondary school-reading lists have been revved up by the ministry of education’s addition of a “reading the whole book” requirement.

An outlier in this regard is the first appearance at No. 1 of Think Tank by the 17th-century sage Feng Menglong (Beijing Union Publishing), following its debut on the charts at No. 2 last week. It’s a departure from the contemporary-classics/new-version pattern, in that it’s a book introduced in June this year, quite new, and written by an opera scholar of the Ming Dynasty. It’s a collection of “wisdom stories”—more than 1,000 of them—published in simplified Chinese. And as “classics” go, this is a collection of centuries-old classics, not the decades-old leading titles making such strong summer-reading showings.

The real story in July, it turns out, was in nonfiction, which saw a surprisingly big cohort of new arrivals—14 in the Top 30.

And just what sells to the readership in terms of fast-charting nonfiction? – books that we in the West call “how to” or “self-help.” Among the new arrivals:

  • Five-Minute Comic Worldly Wisdom
  • Sentence Planet
  • Strategy
  • Be a Calm Mom
  • The Art of Dinner
  • Cognition Awakening
  • Emotional Intelligence In Sales That Touch People’s Hearts
  • Chinese Medicine Prescription Collection
  • Winning The Three-year High School Critical Period

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives