ChinaStill don’t want to pay for e-books?

You’re not alone. A recent survey in China shows that many Chinese readers still have not bought e-books.

The survey, which was conducted by OpenBook Co., found that just one in every four Chinese residents have paid for an e-book, the same ratio it found in 2010 when the survey was last conducted, according to Xinhua, an online Chinese news magazine. More than 8,000 people took the survey.

The digital divide may be growing even bigger in China. From the article:

“Of the 3,561 respondents polled at bookstores this year, seven times more people have never paid for an e-book than those who have, a proportion even higher than that in 2010.”

As it happens, though, more Chinese are shopping online today; 21.2 percent of the survey’s respondents said their book purchases are primary completed online, which is up from 10 percent in 2010.

e-booksThe results of this survey may actually change in coming months—or years. Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire HD were launched in China last month, which will likely lead to the sales of more e-books.

“Although a large number of domestic readers are not used to paying for e-books, growing demand and the guidance of relevant policies and regulations will help foster the habit,” said Yu Dianli, general manager of Commercial Press, a major Chinese publishing house, in an interview last month with Xinhua.

As for China’s major e-book roadblock at this point, that would probably involve getting the Kindle into people’s hands. The prices start at 849 yuan (USD $138) for the Kindle Paperwhite, which is just $119 in the United States. The Kindle Fire HD, meanwhile, costs 1,499 yuan ($244) for the 16GB edition and 1,799 yuan ($293) for 32GB edition in China.


  1. As a chinese, i’ve never paid for a single e-book, but have bought over 200 books (hard copies) from Also I don’t like reading ebooks on PC or on an ereader, so even if i have one, i would print it before reading, it’s so much easier on my eyes.

    Also I’ve never paid for a single song from any music store, but have purchased dozens of (legal, non-pirated) music CDs from music stores in Japan and US, and dozens of CDs from

    I just find the idea of paying for anything digital very foreign. To me (and many other chinese), they are just files with data in it. If i like a singer, i feel obligated to pay, but only for a physical CD that i can hold in my hands, not for a 10MB mp3 file.

    Maybe it’s a cultural thing, i dunno.

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