Coming to a screen near you

Updated: 2013-07-11 07:11

By Zhang Yuchen (China Daily)

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No quick returns

The branding effect is already evident; best-selling e-books can have a positive influence on sales of the equivalent paper publication. "The digital performance of a book often provides clues to potential sales in brick and mortar stores, but it will be a long-term process, even with clear goals and a good plan of action," said Li. "No one should expect a quick financial return."

Wang Hui, chief editor of the Chinese-language version of Psychology magazine, said: "Traditional publishers enjoy the advantages of being well established and enjoy good reputations in the industry, but those factors can also prove to be shortcomings."

Like Zhonghua, Sanlian Publishing House put a new twist on a traditional industry when it opened a workshop for authors, graphic artists and, crucially, readers, in 2009.

Work and story ideas are submitted online and if the readers judge the material to have potential, the authors and artists are invited to attend the workshop and develop their ideas in collaboration with the readers. Zhang Zhijun, Sanlian's deputy head sees the workshop as a major influence on the publisher's future development.

Sanlian is no stranger to innovation. In 2003, it was the first publishing house on the Chinese mainland to publish graphic novels, such as those by the popular Taiwan-based cartoonist Jimmy.

"The open nature of the workshop offers more opportunities to get to know authors from all walks of life, people with special ideas they would like to share through our platform, " said Zhang.