Star power publishing
Updated: 2014-07-23 07:48
By Liu Zhihua (China Daily)
TV show host Le Jia with his fans after the signing of his book True Color in Jinan, Shandong province.
When singer-actor Jimmy Lin from Taiwan attended a promotional event for his autobiography Have Patience for Time, in June, thousands of people crammed into the bookstore to meet their idol and buy his book. When news broke late last year that the star, widely known as Lin Zhiying on the Chinese mainland, was writing a book about his life, including his 22 years in the entertainment industry, the country's social media went wild with speculation. Fans snapped up 200,000 copies of the book within a week of its release.
Publishers have noticed the power of fans in promoting books by celebrities and are making good use of this to sell the books.
Late last year, when Le Jia, 39, a man who rose to fame as a commentator on a popular TV dating show, was about to launch his new book, his publisher decided to hold a public signing event in Beijing, raising funds for the event through a crowd funding website. The stunt worked to promote Le's book.
People who ordered and paid through the crowd funding website for more than two copies, paying 76 yuan ($12), got a ticket for the signing. The publisher predicted it would take a month to raise 50,000 yuan to run the event－it took less than 20 days.
To the publisher's surprise, the book, Ben Se, or True Color, sold 500,000 copies in a few months, and now is already down nearly 700,000 copies.
"It is a miracle, even though we were always confident in the book's popularity," says Lin Moyan, a marketing executive with Beijing MediaTime Books that published the book.
"Fans are an important buying force for celebrity books, but what they are capable of is far beyond that," Lin says, adding that the book's popularity is partly because it is worth reading－the author spent eight years writing it－but also because Le has many fans.