June 26th, 2008

gold shells

From the Silk Road to the Entertainment Highway

Of all the places in the world, I would not have thought of China as a place for e-book publishing, but it has happened, in a way. NPR is running a series on various aspects of life in modern China. This morning's installment centered on a new kind of "Cultural Revolution." Writers in China are posting novels to the web on a site that charges readers by the chapter. It's China, so it's only 2 cents a chapter! Still, at least the writer gets a cut.

It doesn't sound like Henry James for the 21st Century, but more like Dickens, serializing popular stories for an avid public. The website featured a snippet by an author who writes under the name Fu Tian. Her books is an historical novel that sounded more like a Chinese The Princess Diaries than anything else. But in China, she's so popular, the website provider actually pays her health benefits—and some of the Internet e-books have been published in print or made into movies.

As China is 1/5 of the world's population, I find this an encouraging sign for the future. Someone is still reading!