Statistics From China

These statistics come from The Robert Morrison Project:

  • There are 167,000 bookstores in China of which 43,000 are state owned. The balance are private – about 120,000 bookstores.
  • There are 300 online bookstores.
  • In 2003 there were about 15 private Christian bookstores in China. Today there are approximately 150 with a new store opening every month.
  • Of the 577 publishing houses that have the authority to issue ISBN numbers (a licence given by the central govt):
    • 37 are alligned with various Beijing government administrations
    • 9 are publishing groups
    • 101 are university presses
    • 413 are provincial which are often not known or distributed outside of their province. They represent 60% of the market share of all book publishers in China.
  • There are 10,000+ private book companies that are “allowed” to edit, design, print, market, etc. They do not have the authority to issue ISBN numbers and so they must go through one of the publishing houses.
  • There are approximately 6 to 8 private Christian publishing companies. Many house church members (even in Beijing) are still unaware that it is possible to legally buy a Christian book.
  • In 2002, more than 60,000 titles were published in China, only 36 of them were Christian. In 2002, one Christian bookstore in Shanghai stocked more than 60 titles. Today, they sell about 600.
  • China’s literacy rate is 93%.
  • 50% to 60% of publishing revenues are text book related. Scale and profits are declining due to “free content” and “sharing.”
  • There are 50,000 libraries which are primarily located in colleges and schools. There are only 2,000 public libraries. Consequently, in many locations the private bookstores have become the local libraries with the aisles filled with people reading books.
  • The top publisher is Higher Education Press (or possibly China Machine Press) with 2.56% market share. Higher Education Press (HEP) releases 2,000+ new titles every year. They annually sell over 121 million units and have $343 million in annual revenues. A woman representing HEP said that book publishing in China is a “fast changing world” including “digital” and “customized” publishing. She added that to succeed HEP is pursuing “innovation, globalization, and partnerships.”
  • The top 10 publishers have 25% market share. Compare this to the top 10 trade book publishers in the USA which have 71% market share. It is clear that book publishing is still developing and not concentrated, representing great opportunities.
  • Currently, the total number of Christian books in legal circulation is about 1,400. Reformed books are a very small fraction of that amount.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s