- Language Tips
A reader gazes at a shelf emptied of Mo Yan’s books at Xidan Books Building in Beijing on Friday. Books by Mo Yan, the new Nobel laureate in literature, sold out one day after he was announced the winner.
"Mo has won the Nobel Prize, I know his books are excellent," said the Zhejiang native, who became interested in Mo after the announcement of his award. The woman said she did not expect his books would sell out so fast.
"My husband asked me to buy some of his books the instant we knew he won. But we were still late."
The 57-year-old Mo, who was announced the winner on Thursday evening, rapidly became a buzzword on the Internet and his works are selling like hotcakes.
His fans stormed bookstores across the country and snapped up his most famous works such as Frog and Big Breasts and Wide Hips.
Kou Weidong, a reader from Beijing, found that Wangfujing Bookstore, one of the largest in the capital, has set up an exclusive bookshelf for Mo but his books had already sold out on Thursday night. Many are still coming to inquire about his books, which had lukewarm sales before the announcement.
"As a Chinese, I'm so proud of him," Kou said. He was also told that he had to wait at least a week to get Mo's books from the store as presses are busy reprinting his works.
Moreover, it's not easy to get a hard copy of Mo's works online either, as many of his classic works have also sold out in leading Chinese e-commerce websites.
According to 360buy.com, sales of Mo's books jumped sharply after his win, and demand is exceeding supply although they had stocked up.
For example, orders of Big Breasts and Wide Hips on Thursday night were twice those made in the entire month of September, and new orders are still flooding in. The website is busy preparing stock and plans to sell Mo's e-books online.
According to Ye Xiaozhou, a public relations officer from e-commerce provider China Dangdang, more than 10,000 of Mo's books were sold within 24 hours and they've ordered the last stocks from publishers.
"It's not surprising that one's books sell more when one wins the Nobel Prize. But this time people are more passionate because the winner is a Chinese," Ye said.
The craze for Mo has led to a craze in the publishing field as well.
Beijing Genuine and Profound Culture Development Co will publish a set of Mo's collected works, which consists of 16 novels and four previously unpublished books including plays and prose.
The company signed a contract with the writer in May, with full publishing rights as well as film and play adaptation rights of all his works.
"We achieved an agreement last year. I never expected Mo to win the Nobel Prize at that time," said Chen Liming, president of the company. "Other presses are publishing Mo's works due to their old contracts but we have the latest contract, with a term of at least three years."