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Pornography, violence, plagiarism: low quality e-books irk Chinese readers

(People's Daily Online)    16:39, May 11, 2017
Pornography, violence, plagiarism: low quality e-books irk Chinese readers
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As China embraces an increasingly expanding e-reading market valued at more than 12 billion RMB in 2016, the quality of e-books has become a major concern for many Chinese.

According to the 2016 white paper on digital reading, more than 300 million Chinese read digital books and the market growth rate was 25 percent. The national reading survey also showed that 68.2 percent of surveyed readers have tried e-reading, up 4.2 percentage points from 2015.

However, pornography and violence are still prevalent on many online e-reading sites, which use breaks in certain words to avoid automatic detection. From January to June 2016, some 20 pornographic reading sites were shut down and over 30,000 links were removed as part of a national crackdown on online pornography. More than 1,400 novels were also removed from online for the same reason.

Some e-reading sites ask writers to add 10,000 words to their novels every day in order to attract more readers. This has forced many writers to expand their stories with little thought, resulting in lower quality work, one online writer revealed.

There is also special “writing software” for sale online, which allegedly helps writers “compose” novels for a price of up to several hundred RMB. The novels, however, are mostly “composed” by using the words of other publications.

Apart from plagiarism, some e-reading sites also provide unauthorized publications. In April, an e-reading website was punished after making over 270,000 RMB in illegal gains for offering more than 2,200 novels without author consent.

“China’s e-reading industry remains at a stage of extensive and low efficiency development. The market greatly lacks innovation in writing and customer service awareness. The overall quality remains low,” said Yang Qingxiang, an associate professor at Renmin University of China.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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