I got a very nice surprise today when I discovered that my book, Bloodlines: Cove Point Manor, had hit the top 100 list in its genre on Amazon.cn (China). The funny thing is, I do not actively advertise this book, or my other English language books, on Amazon in China. Only my Chinese language e-books are actively marketed in China.
My book was sitting at #82, right above Stephen King's novels The Stand and Carrie (two of my favorites, by the way!), and just below Anne Rice's Interview With A Vampire (another favorite). How did this happen? The answer is quite surprising!
I spoke with one of my friends in China and she explained that it is common for Chinese readers to order an English language book so that they can compare the English and Chinese versions. The ebook market is tightly regulated in China, as are print books, but only print books which are sold at retail stores in China. Print books that are available online through Amazon are able to be purchased by Chinese citizens, although the delivery time is quite long (6-8 weeks).
My friend has personally ordered 10 of my print books for her friends that have read the ebooks. She thinks, based on my ranking, that many more of my Chinese language ebook have also ordered the printed copy. Stephen King is very popular in China, and his book The Shining, is currently #1 in this genre. In fact, Stephen King has 10 books in the top 100 so I'm quite thrilled to be in the company of the King of Horror in having one of my books in the same list as his.
Although the royalty per ebook sold in China is quite low, at least compared to North America and Europe, the added benefit of selling printed copies more than offsets the lower initial royalties. As an even bigger bonus, selling enough print books to end up on an Amazon best sellers list, especially one that contains the likes of Stephen King and Anne Rice, is priceless exposure.
With over 300 million active ebook readers, China is definitely a market to consider as an indie author. It is not a quick or easy process being published in China, but then again, nothing worthwhile usually is.