The latest book by popular Chinese author, blogger and racecar driver Han Han ─ titled Disconnected Country — sold out in just three days after its release at the 18th Hong Kong Book Fair on July 18, leaving one sample copy on display at the venue.
Most buyers were from mainland China: the book was a collection of Han Han's blog posts that had been "harmonized" — the commonly used euphemism for something removed from the internet by China's censors — last year, reported Want Daily, our Chinese-language sister newspaper.
It was announced on the afternoon of July 20 that Han Han's book was out of stock at the fair, leaving only one sample copy on the shelf. Many fans refused to give up, intending to buy the remaining sample copy, but the publishing house refused to sell it. Fans had to wait until next day when more copies were put on sale.
Disconnected Country, published by Hong Kong's Oxford Press, includes a piece lamenting over the high-speed rail accident that occurred near Wenzhou in eastern China last summer, killing 40. According to staff at the book fair, many readers from the mainland bought five to 10 copies at a time, presumably to sell them or bring them to friends back home.
On netizen sighed: "I though it was luxury goods that we had to buy in Hong Kong, but now the same is true for books! This situation has justified the book's title!"
Some readers are worried that the books may be seized by customs officers when they return to the mainland.
"Books published by Oxford will not be banned, we must have faith in our government and customs," said Lin Daoqing, editor-in-chief of the publishing house.
Now if someone can just translate it hohoho....