Manusya, Journal of Humanities


Lee Yu-Ching

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In the traditional publishing arena, the publishing fields around the world all operate according to a fixed value chain system, which has been in operation ever since the existence of the publishing industry over 500 years. Now the publishing industry is going through a transition period toward digitization, which has overwhelmed not only the entire system but the entire publishing field. In this digital age, publishing houses in the West have carried on with their conventional model of value chains and have established a comprehensive digital publishing system. But in Chinesespeaking regions, due to factors such as market traits, consumer reading habits, publishing policies and consumption habits which are vastly different from those in the West, the Western system of digital publishing is not applicable. This study analyzes the Chinese language publishing field by interviewing Cross- Straits publishing experts. The aim is to examine the differences between the publishing structure of Chinese-speaking regions (specifically mainland China and Taiwan), the typical publishing field in the West, and the traditional paper-based publishing field which has existed for hundreds of years. The result shows that Taiwan follows the Western e-publishing model. However, because of the differences in market size and reading habits, the e-publishing model is not applicable in Taiwan. China, on the other hand, has developed its own system called "Internet Literature" in accordance with readers' reading preferences and habits. Moreover, this model uses the intellectual property to extend the value of publications by transforming literature texts into other forms of cultural production. This publishing business model is carried out by big Internet companies such as Tencent, Baidu, rather than by publishers. These mutations of Internet literature content have really challenged the Chinese state-regulated publishing system, and have become the foundations of a successful business model. This development in China has challenged the conventional definition of publishing, as literature has been a symbol of highbrow civilization whereas Internet Literature is more a symbol of uncultured entertainment.

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