The launch of the Steve Jobs biography in China drew thousands of shoppers, emptying most of Chinese book shops’ inventory and guess what, all 250,000 Chinese edition copies of Jobs’ authorized biography are sold within a day of its release. This is phenomenal.
First, we found lots of photos and videos posted online showing crowds waiting outside bookstores in much the same way they do for new product releases outside Apple’s official stores in Shanghai and Beijing.
At this point you might be sick of reading about Walter Isaacson’s new mega-seller, but the biography seems to be a great hit in China as dozens of people were seen lined outside book stores even before they were opened. It’s unbelievable, many eager Apple fans went to the bookstores early in the morning and queued up in front the bookstores to get a copy of the book detailing the life of the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The Chinese version of the official biography of Steve Jobs went on sale in over 20 cities nationwide on Monday, coinciding with the book’s global debut. You may not know, Steve Jobs is widely respected and admired in China for his innovations, while his products are considered fashion symbols by the locals.
The Steve Jobs Bio Launch in China
Yeah, now it’s time to read the whole thing cover to cover. Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography is available in China on October 24th and Chinese readers were snapping up Jobs biography from the Chinese bookshelves. The biography’s release attracted early-morning crowds at bookstores in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and other provinces in the country.
According to Citic Press, the publisher of the book’s Chinese version, there’s also a flood of pre-orders on online bookstores. There is a listing for the book on top Chinese online shopping site Taobao Mall showing that 6,000 copies of the book, priced at 53 yuan ($8.30), were ordered over the past week. Here’s what the director of marketing for Citic Press in Beijing said,
“It sold extremely well. We sold the book in 21 cities with 30 stores and most of them sold out yesterday,”
That’s really amazing. At Shanghai’s largest bookstore, we see people stood in line for hours to get their hands on a copy with the entire stock of 1,000 books, priced at 68 yuan ($11) each, selling out by midday, according to the China Daily newspaper. Here’s what a manager of a branch of Shanghai Book mall said,
“We started to sell the book from 10:05 this morning, and there were already more than 100 Jobs fans lining up outside the store from about 8 a.m.”
Man, this is similar to the launch of new iPhone and iPad. Shortly after the book went on sale, the store had given away all 200 sets of Jobs T-shirts and cards they saved for the first batch of buyers.
By afternoon, the book sold more than 300 copies. At another book shop in Shanghai, 512 copies were sold there within an hour. Bookstores in the capital Beijing and the southern city of Guangzhou also reported brisk sales. Perhaps the most interesting thing we are seeing in China is that sections of the Chinese book shops have been specifically allocated for the book’s debut. It’s definitely for publicizing purposes, as well as to honor Jobs. The books had been stacked at the most eye-catching corners of bookstores throughout China, and with the books piled high and a few standing vertically, Jobs’ portrait would appear to be staring out at those passing by, which “creeped people out,” quoting a netizen who had commented online. Below are some awesome scenes from the Chinese book shops.
Chinese Reactions to Steve Jobs Bio
Cheng Ji, the first in the line at the Shanghai Book City, said:
“I bought five copies for my son in college and friends.”
Liu Jianle, who stood in line for 40 minutes to buy the book, said:
“I think Jobs is a talent. He made profound changes to the world, as well as tremendous contributions to the electronics industry. It is definitely rare to see such a long line of readers of different ages queuing up for a book. It shows how influential Jobs was and still is,”
Wang Xiaochuan, CTO of Sohu, a major web portal in China, said:
“I purchased 500 copies of the book for my colleagues, I hope they can learn from it.”
Cheng, Shanghai resident, said:
“I am buying Jobs’ biography for my son and I want him to learn about the spirit of the great man.”
Jin Zhao, a Chinese reader, said:
“I am curious about Jobs’ entrepreneurship. I want to figure out exactly how Jobs established Apple and made it a business miracle. I think I can learn a lot,”
Ms. Pan, who took part in an online discussion with users of Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo, said:
“We hope reading about his experiences will inject vitality into our hidebound culture, lead young people to dare to seek out change, dare to be themselves, dare to push the limits and pursue creativity.”
Douma Zouzou, who wrote in response to a passage from the book in which Mr. Jobs rejects the idea that companies should give consumers what they want, instead of what they need, said:
“Reading this, I’m incredibly moved. It’s people who think like this who are the real elites pushing society forward.”
The way I see it, Chinese readers fancy Steve Jobs’ authorized biography. Interestingly, most Chinese readers want to know how Jobs regained his control over Apple and how he lived during his last days, according to a poll on Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging service in China. And you would not believe this, “Steve Jobs” was the No. 3 most-discussed topic on Weibo Monday evening (the launch day for Jobs bio). And after buying the book, many Chinese Jobs’ fans posted victorious messages on Weibo, just as they would after buying a new iPhone. Here’s what a Chinese reader tweeted on Weibo,
“I felt like he was talking to me face-to-face, I’ve been touched by his astonishing honesty and absorbed in meditation over his ideas.”
What’s so special with the Chinese version of Steve Jobs Biography?
The Chinese version of the Book of Jobs is a cover-to-cover translation of the authorized biography “Steve Jobs” written by Walter Isaacson. Citic Press is the publisher of the book’s Chinese version, and the translation of the biography began in August after the publisher launched a worldwide recruitment drive for translators. According to Citic Press, four translators were asigned to the biography. One of the translators, Wei Qun, spent a whole month translating the biography with three other translators. Here’s what she thinks of the biography,
” I chose to translate the biography of Steve Jobs, rather than other well-known people, because he was an esteemed genius who made products that touched people’s souls, and the book faithfully recorded the life of Steve Jobs and will enchant readers with its plain style.”
So, we got a copy of the Chinese version, and here’s what we like: It costs 3 times cheaper than the English version, just 68 yuan ($10). It weighs lighter (less pages). And here’s what we don’t like. It is not hardcover. It feels cheapo. The photos in it are not printed on gloss paper. And we found translation mistakes!
And perhaps the question we are concerning is whether the Chinese version had any parts omitted, well, it seems not, according to the Citic Press deputy editor Yan Xiangdong. Here’s what he replied to us,
“The content of the Chinese edition and English edition are entirely the same.”
What’s more, Citic Press says it plans to release a deluxe version of the book for 105 yuan ($17) in November. Umm… Maybe it’s a hardcover edition? And there’s one more thing, the publishing company promised the e-book version to be released early next year.
China Pirates Steve Jobs Bio?
According to a report on Chinese tech blog TechWeb, Chinese pirates are starting selling fake versions of the Steve Jobs bio in bookstores. Their covers look similar to the original, resemble the official text, but the content of the book is different. What’s more, an illegal download of the authentic book has appeared, according to a report on WantChinaTimes. It appears to be the fake one that TechWeb reported, and the fake has appeared in an electronic version being downloaded from the internet. According to Citic Press, the publisher of the Chinese version of the biography, the only similarity between the pirated version and the authorized biography is the cover design — the fake version consists of a collection of other articles about Jobs. Here’s what the Deputy Chief Editor of Citic Press said,
“The Chinese version, before the official publishing date, has been kept under wraps and all the translators had to sign contracts of confidentiality. But maybe in the future there will be pirated versions, for the piracy speed in China is ‘amazing’,”
So, while we are looking for this Steve Jobs Bio knockoff, anyone of you here got a copy of it?
One More Thing
Last but not least, the Steve Jobs biography gets animated!
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