At a recent forum in Shenzhen, pundits zeroed in on 2008's major trends in China's book publishing industry.
1. The global economic chill has made titles in macro-economics hot, hot, hot. Since the stock market is in the doldrums, investment tips have little practical use and have given way to primers on economics. All the fancy financial terms have served as pointers for more systematic knowledge in how to run an economy, or avoid running it into the ground.
2. This year marks the 30th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up policy. Books that recall the old days or sum up the achievements of the past three decades have piled up in bookstores.
3. Academic books published during the Republic of China years are being "re-discovered" en masse, ranging from literature, history and all branches of social sciences. This represents a restoration of the missing link caused by political and cultural schism.
4. The Mao Dun Literature Award, an honor for novels, is showing clout in the market. This year's winners, published in previous years, have all found their way into more conversations and more prominent display shelves. Jia Pingwa's Qin Tune and Mai Jia's Backstabbing are two standouts.
5. The Sichuan earthquake in May caused heartache, and sent professional writers into the disaster zone. They wanted to be part of this collective consciousness, contributing to it with depth and unconventional angles. Investigative reports and poetry are two of the main genres they take an interest in.
6. The election of Barack Obama in the United States has made books about the first African-American president a hot topic. Many of the bestsellers about him - or by him - have been or are being translated into Chinese.
7. Psychological health is a major concern to book readers in 2008. It is a continuation of the health and fitness trend in publishing, which started two years ago.
8. The Beijing Olympics have been a predictable stimulus for book editors. As many as 300 publishers across the nation rolled out various titles covering every nook and cranny of the sporting event.
9. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of China's "online literature". The Internet has put many unknown writers into the spotlight. Its power is undeniable but it's more a popularity contest.
10. Tokugawa Ieyasu, a series of Japanese historical novels, have found a huge audience here in China.