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Western books sell well in China

March 25, 2006 at 11:54 PM

BEIJING, March 25 (UPI) -- The best-seller list in China looks a lot like the one that appears in the Sunday New York Times, China Daily reported.

Current or recent best-sellers include Bill Clinton's autobiography, "My Life"; "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"; and "The Da Vinci Code." That last one was something of a surprise to publishers, who did not expect a Christian-themed thriller to be a big hit, China Daily said, but its success has made other works by Dan Brown big sellers.

The foreign book phenomenon started in 1990 with "The Bridges of Madison County," which was popular in China even before Clint Eastwood's film adaptation was released.

"The book was published at a time when the country had undergone a lot of changes -- a confrontation of traditional value and liberalization ideas brought by the opening policies," Chen Min of the People's Literature Publishing House said. "People wondered what Westerners would do when facing such choices."

Some western authors -- including Stephen King -- do not do well in China. King is apparently at a disadvantage because most Chinese prefer ghost stories to King's psychological and environmental horror tales.

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