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Serial Pleasure: China’s online reading craze is challenging Kindle

To Yuwei Pan, a regular fix of Chinese novels on her smartphone makes her daily commute a pleasure. But these aren’t just normal stories. Chinese e-books are often serialised; readers wait for the latest chapters of a story, much like viewers catch up with the newest episodes of Game of Thrones.

They also provide an interactive reading experience, where readers and writers can discuss and co-develop the plot. “I turn to Kindle for serious books, but I go to Chinese online literature for imagination, fun and freedom,” Pan says. Continue reading

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Sequoia Capital, Perfect World co-invest in Chinese literature site Zongheng

Sequoia Capital China, and Perfect World co-led a new round of financing in Zongheng, a Chinese literature site that provides vertical and horizontal literature contents.

The site is owned by Beijing-based Network Technology Co Ltd. Sheng King Fund, Guonong brothers, Shegjing360, Share Capital, and several institutions also participated in the strategic investment. The size of the deal was undisclosed.

Founded in 2008, Zongheng is a domestic Chinese original literary professional website. It serves as a cultural platform meant to guide the master writers and epic works.

Source: Dealstreetasia.com


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New Apps Provide a World of Literature, One Chapter at a Time

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This year marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, Apple’s all-purpose gadget that kicked off the smartphone boom and forever changed the way we communicate, collect and consume information. With portability and a knack for relieving boredom, the iPhone and its ilk naturally became ad hoc e-book readers for busy people seeking brief escape to fictional places from nonfiction reality, like being trapped in transit or stuck in a Trader Joe’s line stretching to infinity and beyond.

Serious readers know squinting through a sprawling novel can take some effort on the small screen. But just as websites, videos and games soon adapted themselves for the smartphone experience, a new type of “mobile fiction” has emerged to fit the confines of the device — and today’s on-demand attitude.

Modern mobile fiction typically consists of sections of a novel or story that take just 15 to 20 minutes to absorb. The installments are cleanly formatted for easy reading on a four- or five-inch screen, and delivered at regular intervals by email or app (Android and iOS). Cliffhangers are popular. Read more

Source: The New York Times


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China to guide the development of online literature

By Xinhua

The General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has asked the China Writers Association (CWA) to guide online literature and carry out other reforms.

According to a plan to deepen reform of the CWA issued by the office on Thursday, CWA should establish evaluation and incentive systems that will benefit the development of online literature.

The Party’s role in literature work should also be strengthened. For instance, the Party should guide and support works focusing on juveniles and patriotism, as well as realistic and historical topics.

In the meantime, the CWA should organize literature exchange programs among Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and provide more communication opportunities between Chinese and foreign writers. Read more

Source: China Daily


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Amazon report shows Chinese keen on reading

By Xing Yi

Amazon China, one of the largest online booksellers, released its 2017 Reading Report on April 20, which shows a continued interest in reading and some new trends among Chinese readers.

Based on 14,000 surveys and company data, Amazon reports that 56 percent of those surveyed read more than 10 books last year, continuing a trend found in previous years.

But this year it finds that 78 percent of the readers are sharing reading experiences on social media, such as on instant-messaging app WeChat, micro blog Sina Weibo, review website Douban and question-and-answer website Zhihu.

Reading books on electronic devices is a major factor that fuels the behavior of sharing. The report reveals 71 percent of those born in the 2000s choose to read books on Kindle, the company’s electronic devices, whereas only 25 percent among those born in the 1950s do so. Read more

Source: China Daily


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Readers on rise, mostly in digital

By Mei Jia

Chinese adults read an average of just under eight books in 2016 – a tiny increase of 0.02 percent over 2015 – while a rapid increase of 6.1 percent was seen in the number of people reading digital content.

“We’ve seen fast growth in digital reading for eight consecutive years,” said Wei Yushan, head of the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication, who announced the academy’s major findings from the 14th survey of Chinese reading habits on Tuesday, ahead of World Book Day, which falls on Sunday.

Of the nearly eight books read by an average adult in 2016, about five were in print form and three were digital. Wei said similar surveys of readers from European countries and the United States show that they read 10 titles a year, while Japanese read 12. Read more

Source: The China Daily


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China: Online writers find path to become millionaires

By Li Hongrui

Online writer Tangjiasanshao, or Zhang Wei, took the crown again on the latest income ranking list of Chinese online writers.

Receiving 122 million yuan ($18 million) in royalties, the writer comes in at first place for the fourth time.

Born in 1981, Zhang once worked for a small IT company after graduating from Hebei University. He got fired by the slumping company in 2003.

In 2004, Zhang started writing his first online novel, Guang Zhi Zi, or Son of Light. In 2012, the young writer was crowned on the royalties ranking list for the first time.

Many web writers, such as Tiancantudou (Li Hu) and Wochixihongshi also rose to fame because of their work and enviable royalties.

A series of popular TV series, animations and games have been adapted from their writings, including Nirvana in Fire and The Journey of FlowerRead more

Source: China Daily


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India: Pune to host first Marathi e-authors Sammelan

By Partha Sarathi Biswas

Over the last few years, a large number of bloggers, social media influencers and other authors have emerged who use the Marathi language. Aiming to bridge the gap between the virtual and real world, e-book platform bookhungama.com has organised the first ever literary meet — called Nukkad Sammelan — exclusively for such writers, and it will be held in Pune. Vikram Bhagawat, co-founder of bookhungama.com, said a need was felt for this interaction so as to enable them to chalk out the future course of the genre. “These authors have a cult following and act as agents of change on the various platform they are active on. While these authors do interact among themselves virtually, a real meeting was felt necessary,” he said.

The emergence of social media, Bhagawat said, had given rise to newer forms of writing, which has made its effect felt. Facebook in particular has helped democratise literature while the e-book format has helped many budding authors to publish their own work. “The journey of bookhungama.com had in fact started from a Facebook page. We had started a page about the letters which we never got about writing and asked people to contribute to it. Now, that page has more than 76,000 ‘likes’,” he said. Similarly the Nukkad blog, another initiative of the team, is a platform for people to write short and very short stories. Read more

Source: The Indian Express


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Chinese bookstores adapt to social changes

By Xinhua

For Gao Hengrui, 20, going to a bookstore is no longer only about buying books, rather, it is a “culture hunt.”

Wine tasting, photo exhibitions, themed lectures — cultural events like these have made bookstores a “must-go” for young Chinese.

“Bookstores today are not just stores, but public spaces where people can relax,” Gao said.

As China’s consumer spending on culture grows, the country’s bookstores are reinventing themselves. Redefining themselves as “knowledge centers” or “cultural hubs,” physical bookstores are reviving an industry in a downturn.

CITIC Books, the book chain owned by Chinese conglomerate CITIC Group, for example, offers value-added services to meet the demand of a niche market.

CITIC Books targets a group of customers it calls “the rising class,” offering them new products in its bookstores, such as drones and 3D-enabled phones. Read more

Source: China Daily


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China: Legislation to encourage reading

By Xinhua

The Chinese government has publicized a draft ordinance promoting “reading for all”, to solicit public opinion, a move to create better reading habits among the population.

Realizing the importance of reading in national strength, China has gradually raised “reading for all” as a national strategy.

The call for a love of reading among all the population appeared in an array of important government and Communist Party of China (CPC) documents, including the report at the 18th CPC national congress and the government work reports delivered at the annual parliamentary session over the past four years.

There are still problems, however, which need to be resolved with the legislation, such as a lower reading rate compared with the world’s major countries, inadequate and inequitable public resources, and mixed quality of reading materials.

A national survey by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication showed that Chinese read 3.26 e-books and 4.58 paper books on average in 2015, compared with an average of 16 books in Europe and the United States. Read more

Source: China Daily