Books

Big numbers for a book signing

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Yu Dan signing books in Zhongguancun.

· Yu Dan the autograph machine

Yu Dan made an appearance at a book-signing event on Saturday for her new CCTV Lecture Series text. Over the course of nearly ten hours at the Zhongguancun Book Building, Yu signed a record-breaking 15,060 copies of Things I Learned from Zhuangzi (于丹《庄子》心得).

At a similar booksigning activity last November for her previous volume on The Analects, Yu signed 10,600 copies in eight-and-one-half hours. Commenting on that record-setting performance, Fang Zhouzi noted that Yu would have less than three seconds to sign each book. He concluded,

I've gained nothing from The Analects so naturally I'm no good for it - not only is my name one character longer than the professor's, but I haven't trained myself to become an impenetrable autograph machine, either. I spent two hours today signing books, and I only managed to sign fewer than 1000 copies of my new book Science & Health.

Perhaps some of those books were pre-signed, although Yu implied in a December interview her entire arm was sore because she did in fact sign all ten-thousand copies that day. Here's the process as described in Beijing Daily Messenger:

Having the experience of the first book signing, yesterday's signing procedure went quite smoothly. Two people sat to the left of Yu Dan and three to her right. One of the five helped readers open their books to an appropriate page for an autograph, and another took charge of moving the books along. After Yu Dan had signed the books, someone passed them to another person who stamped Yu Dan's seal on them....there was one person who exclusively looked after Yu Dan. Because of the pace involved, Yu Dan had no time to wipe away her sweat; she could only turn her head to the side, at which point someone would wipe her off.

In other CCTV Lecture Room-related news, bootlegs and counterfeits continue to flourish. There are at least six different pirate editions of her Zhuangzi text, Yu Dan said. And the Xiaoxiang Morning Post reports that Yi Zhongtian, known for his Savoring the Three Kingdoms books, is now credited with the counterfeit editions Savoring the Red Mansions, Savoring Jin Ping Mei, and Savoring Sexy Lingerie.

· Typos for Wang Xiaobo

As Danwei noted in January, the new Yunnan People's Publishing House edition of the complete works of Wang Xiaobo is chock full of typographical errors.

A report in Sunday evening's Mirror summarized the initial blog post that exposed seventeen errors in the 2280-character foreword, an error rate 74 times the national limit for quality books (i.e. one in 10,000; in theory, a rate of three in 10,000 results in a recall). The report also tracked down the edition's publisher and editor for comments.

GAPP is conducting a campaign to raise the quality of published materials in 2007, so naturally no one wants to accept responsibility for such a terrible mistake. A source with the publisher said that YPPH did not actually have anything to do with the books beyond providing a registration number. It's interesting that a major publisher would choose to essentially confess to illicit dealing in book numbers rather than admit to lazy editing. And the Beijing cultural company that actually put the books together said it accepted no blame, either - the copy-editing was farmed out to a number of outside editors.

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Comments on Big numbers for a book signing

And now it seems people are calling for her head, or at least for her resignation: link

Hmm...ten PhD students get together to rail ineffectually against a major cultural phenomenon - where have I heard this before?

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