Drooling foreign publishers are trying to enter the Chinese market, like recently on the International Book Fair in Beijing. But author Zhang Lijia warns on her weblog for too high expectation, as the already limited number of books per Chinese is even dropping.

Zhang Lijia:

 Eyeing at China’s massive potential, the publishers all asked me about the reading habit of the Chinese. I felt a little embarrassed to tell them that today’s Chinese don’t read much. And we are reading less and less, though more books than ever, domestically produced, imported and translated, are on offer.

According to one survey, only 5% of the Chinese have the habit of reading. And on average, each Chinese reads 4.5 books a year comparing to 50 books for an American, 55 for a Russian and 65 for a Jew. Those being surveyed blame the lack of time for not reading while others admit that they don’t have the habit of reading.

Of course, the digital world has taken away some readers. But that’s the challenge faced by the world.

And if the Chinese read anything, it’ll be likely practical books that will help them to go far in life, books related to their account degree, MBA, or books such as how to become a millionaire, how to lose weight, how to deal with relationships or how to find a rich husband.

If they read fiction, it’ll be likely cheap thrillers, tomb raiders, predictable romance, strange ghost stories or such.

The Chinese seem to be too restless to read, to restless to read serious books.

More on Zhang Lijia’s weblog

Zhang Lijia is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch.

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