February’s China Bestsellers: A Crime Drama Knockout

From Publishing Perspectives:

In a change to the recent leadership of the key bestseller list in mainland China, the Beijing OpenBook fiction chart is being led by a crime-drama tie-in novel from a trio of authors.

The Knockout (Qingdao Publishing House)—by Zhu Junyi, Xu Jizhou, and Bai Wenjun—has vaulted to the No. 1 spot on the fiction list from no previous ranking, effectively blindsiding consumers and the industry.

The trilogy that The Knockout has shoved down to Nos. 2, 3, and 4 is the mighty “Three-Body Problem” series by Liu Cixin, which, as Publishing Perspectives readers know, has been surging to the tops of the monthly lists on the strength of both an animated and a live-action television adaptation.

True to form for the Chinese readership, The Knockout is—you guessed it—being fueled by the dynamic popularity of a new television series, itself.  Xu Jizhou directs this CCTV-8 and iQIYI series, which premiered on January 14 this year. Xu has written the adaptation along with Junyi Zhu, and Jijun Xue produces with a cast featuring Xi Zhang, Songwen Zhang, Gang Wu, Jianyi Li, and Danping Shen.

The show is about a 20-year struggle by a police officer against an organized crime mob operating in Jinghai, which borders Hebei province and Beijing.

The popularity of the show “has been soaring since its launch,” OpenBook’s Wendy Pan says, having watched it gain traction in social media during the spring festival earlier in the year.

The book, a film tie-in edition, has leapt onto the February chart in the first month of its eligibility, those sales fueled by what’s described as “bizarre plot twists” in the television series. Qingdao Publishing has also used interactive elements to bond viewers and readers to the content, and has produced live events on various platforms, featuring actors from the cast.

Oriental Selection—one of the influential book-friendly shows we hear a lot about—is among shows used to raise the property’s visibility.

No need to cry for Liu Cixin and his “Three Body Problem” success—his work occupied seven slots on the February chart.

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives


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