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Online literature and audiobooks shine at Shanghai Book Fair

Zhu Shenshen
One company plans to launch titles in bookstores that gained their popularity on the Internet while another aims to be 'Netflix' of the audio market.
Zhu Shenshen
Online literature and audiobooks shine at Shanghai Book Fair
Zhu Shenshen / SHINE

Visitors to the Shanghai Book Fair listen to audiobooks. 

Online literature and audiobooks attracted attention at the ongoing Shanghai Book Fair on Friday.

China Literature, the country’s biggest online literature firm, announced that it is to publish two popular online titles, on railway staff and Shanghai residents’ daily lives, for bookstores. It has also organized a competition to encourage authors to create more works about people's real lives.

Online literature is more linked to real life, instead of focusing on fantasy and love stories of emperors' families, bringing fresh air to cyberspace, Wang Yayuan, vice director of the CPC Shanghai Committee's publicity department, said on Friday during a book fair event. 

In 2018, Shanghai’s online literature industry revenue reached 4.7 billion yuan (US$671 million), a 17.5-percent growth from the previous year, Wang added.

More authors are coming from various industries to create online content, which makes online literature close to daily life, said Wu Wenhui, CEO of Shanghai-based China Literature. 

The company also announced plans to find partners to produce films based on online literature.

Ximalaya, a Shanghai-based online radio firm, is displaying audiobooks at its booth at the book fair in five major categories — science, literature, history, children's education and business management — to attract readers of all ages. Titles on Buddhism, philosophy, national treasures and sci-fi from authors Qian Wenzhong, Ma Weidu and Liu Cixin were particularly welcomed by visitors.

In 2018, more than 661 million Chinese people listened to online audio programs for entertainment and learning, accounting for 82 percent of Internet users, according to research firm Nielsen-CCData.

Ximalaya has more than 4 million paid users and is aiming to be a “Netflix in the online audio market.”

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