The cover of Tu Youyou's book. [File photo]
Tu Youyou's winning the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has triggered a hot rush for traditional Chinese medicine books, although her study on artemisinin is quite an area of expertise.
Tu enjoyed great fame in the medical field, but she has published few books and the only one known by the public is Artemisinin and Artemisinins Drugs, published by China's Chemical Industrial Press in 2009.
This is an academic volume, which normally only research institutes and experts in medical fields will buy. Since Tu won the Nobel Prize, the book has been a bestseller. So far, the giant e-commerce platforms Dangdang.com and JD.com have been out of stock and customers must reserve a copy to get one.
According to Xi'an Evening Paper, many online book stores have branded the book "Nobel Prize winner's masterpiece", which helps them sell out almost overnight. Some bookstores are also introducing the book, as many readers have come in ask about it.
In addition to Artemisinin and Artemisinins Drugs, an ancient medical book, Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergency by medical scientist Ge Hong of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD 317-420) is also selling well. The ancient book was previously little known by most, until Tu said in an interview that the book inspired her during her research on artemisinin.
Not only are the two books related to Tu popular recently, other books about traditional Chinese medicine also are selling better, such as The Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic and Compendium of Materia Medica.
Tu's winning the Nobel Prize has no doubt brought a "spring" for medical books, while some experts say reading should be rational instead of an activity where people follow the crowd.
Chinese Nobel Prize Winner Mo Yan's books were once popular among readers, and many people bought sets of them. Now they are often found on the shelf, covered in dust. Being eager to read is a good thing, but putting it into practice is more important.
Besides, medical books are for professionals and it's quite difficult for common people to understand them. Medical books are not magical medicines, and can't cure all diseases. If readers are too obsessed with medical books in curing disease, it may worsen the disease.