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Tech-driven digital reading gains more momentum in China

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-04-22 17:23
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Customers read e-books at a cafe in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province. [Photo by Wang Luxian / For China Daily]

BEIJING -- Boosted by high-tech and promotion of e-commerce giants, digital reading has gained increasing momentum as mainstream among Chinese people, according to a national reading report revealed ahead of the 25th World Book and Copyright Day which falls on Thursday.

The 17th national reading survey conducted by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication shows Chinese adults per-capita read on average 4.65 physical books in 2019, slightly lower than 4.67 in 2018. Among China's adult citizens, 11.1 percent read 10 or more physical books a year.

Meanwhile, 79.3 of Chinese adults read digitally either online or via apps on smart mobile devices, up 3.1 percentage points from that in 2018.

"As more and more content is obtained digitally, 'digital publishing' represents the process of publishing content to digital media in a wider sense," said Luo Zhenyu, founder of the online learning app iGet.

He said digital "content" represents all information that can be digitized, not only text but also design, content distribution platforms and technologies used in the publishing process.

Luo said iGet, launched in 2016, offers not only e-books but also online courses, audiobooks, users' notes and knowledge products from institutions and universities.

Chinese e-commerce giant has developed a comprehensive digital reading "eco-system" including its reading app, electronic reading gadgets and audio e-books.

The company has issued a list of classified readers groups based on customers' online purchase behaviors. Readers groups contain titles such as elite moms, gourmets, queens, elderly youth, photographers and sophisticated uncles.

"Digital media can promote sales based on analysis of audience behaviors and interests," said Shen Hao, a researcher with the State Key Laboratory of Media Convergence and Communication and professor of the School of Journalism of the Communication University of China.

He said unlike publishers of physical books, digital media use big data technology in managing customers' registration, log-in, reading, content sharing and commenting. All of the data records can be tracked and analyzed.

He said blockchain technology will soon be applied in the digital content publishing industry. Many jobs of traditional publishing organizations, such as copyright management and content production process, will be replaced by artificial intelligent technology, which helps check fraud and reduce intermediary links.

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