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eBOOK DYNASTY: TOPICS: Book prices in China
Book prices in China

As reported in the article "How much should ebooks cost in China?", the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication (CAPP) recently released findings of its ninth annual survey on the Chinese people's reading habits. According to the findings, there is an evident increase in the popularity of ebooks among Chinese readers between the ages of 18 and 70. However, 75.3 percent of those surveyed said they still like to hold and read paper books.

This prompts one to find out how much paper books cost in China. Specifically, what is the difference between the average price of locally written Chinese books and that of translated Western books? We decided to take a look at the top 100 bestselling list on Amazon.cn, a Chinese shopping website that was taken over by Amazon.com in August 2004.

Here are the top 10 bestselling translated Western books and their prices in RMB on Amazon.cn, and the prices of their English counterparts in USD on Amazon.com, as of May 29, 2012:


Price on Amazon.cn
Price on Amazon.com
What Everybody is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People, by Joe Navarro and Marvin Karlins
32.80 RMB (~5.18 USD)
19.99 USD
Freedom: A Novel, by Jonathan Franzen
49.50 RMB (~7.81 USD)
16.00 USD
The Art and Science of Personal Magnetism: The Secret of Mental Fascination, by Theron Q. Dumont
19.80 RMB (~3.12 USD)
14.99 USD
Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney
32.80 RMB (~5.18 USD)
16.99 USD
The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth, by M. Scott Peck
26.00 RMB (~4.10 USD)
16.00 USD
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
39.50 RMB (~6.23 USD)
14.99 USD
Comic Strip History of the World, by Tracey Turner
25.00 RMB (~3.95 USD)
The Crowd: Study of the Popular Mind, by Gustave Le Bon
24.80 RMB (~3.91 USD)
7.99 USD
Out of the Box: 101 Ideas for Thinking Creatively, by Rob Eastaway
25.00 RMB (~3.95 USD)
9.95 USD
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
25.00 RMB (~3.95 USD)
16.00 USD


From the list above, one can see the average price of these 10 translated Western books in China is 30.02 RMB, or 4.73 USD. This is only 32 percent of the average price of these books in the United States, which is 14.77 USD.

In comparison, the average price of the top 10 locally written Chinese books on Amazon.cn is 27.76 RMB, or 4.37 USD. In other words, there is only a very small difference of 0.36 USD between the average price of translated Western books and that of locally written Chinese books in China.


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