5 Things we can learn from China About Book Marketing

Namrata analyses book marketing ideas adapted by China Publishing to drive book sales after the pandemic.

Earlier this month, I came across an article on Bookbrunch that spoke about book marketing ideas adapted by China Publishing.

Book Marketing

As we know, after the pandemic, publishing across the globe has been struggling to become profitable. The reason this article caught my attention was that China Publishing had managed to turn it profitable again with staggering numbers being reported as book sales.

I went ahead and analyzed the article to understand four things about book marketing.

Sharing my learnings with you in this blog post.

What did they do differently in book marketing to achieve this?

  • In the last few years, publishing has undergone major changes. China Publishing accepted these changes and tried to create a direct-to-consumer channel which helped them push book sales.

The changes in the book industry have been dramatic. Online sales now account for 84% of all book sales and social media bookselling in the form of short videos has revolutionised publishing in China, up 42.86% year-on-year. Chinese publishers have embraced this change by building direct-to-consumer channels via social commerce platforms.

Alicia lue for Bookbrunch

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) is when a brand sells its product to the end user. (Source)

So, by extensive use of social media platforms, publishing houses in China aimed to reach the readers directly. There are many benefits of D2C marketing that include new opportunities, expanding reach to newer audiences, and also a chance to test new ideas/projects to get first-hand feedback from the audiences.

One can always argue that publishers in India already do this, with their social media. But if you observe closely, they do not sell the books from their own website. They rather ask the viewer to either buy it from Amazon (or any other online store) or share details about the bookshops where that particular book is available. In many ways, Indian publishers are yet to do this.

  • Publishing houses in China also used influencers for book marketing.

Online influencer Wang Fang and her team of 35 people broke another record of bookselling in a six-hour live stream from the fair, selling 1,780,000 books in two days.

Source: Alicia Liu for Bookbrunch
  • Children’s Literature was the only sector to grow substantially.

Children’s was the only sector in publishing in China to grow in 2022. Children’s titles sell increasingly through short-form video channels, with 54.7% of children’s books – the highest ratio of all categories -sold in this way.

Source: Alicia Liu for Bookbrunch

It is highly possible that due to the pandemic, a lot of parents got to spend time with their children. Moreover with schools and educational institutions closed for longer periods, they had to take on the role of educating their kids. That is what explains this jump.

A similar jump was also seen during the pandemic in the Nielsen Bestsellers List I worked on in India for the Himalayan Writing Retreat. A lot of children’s books especially for young children (below 8 years of age) were topping the charts.

What can we learn from this?

  1. The D2C approach with books works especially when readers are able to see the WHY behind buying a book.
  2. Influencers can help in book promotions.
  3. Children’s books have a huge scope if marketed well.
  4. Innovative marketing ideas (especially ones that keep the changing trends in mind) are the need of the hour. Like the live streaming rooms at book fairs set by online influencers and publishers.
  5. Going forward, visual mediums are an imperative part of any marketing strategy. Seeing is believing. Book trailers, short videos on book reviews, and other bookish content is what will help the readers decide which book they want to read next.

Can these strategies be adapted to the Indian market? If yes, will they work?

Yes, these strategies can be adapted to the Indian market. And they will definitely work for very simple reasons.

  1. Though TikTok is banned in India (Douyin (the Chinese counterpart to TikTok) is a major book marketing platform in China. BookTok is also huge in the UK and the US for book promotions), we do have viewers who enjoy IG reels and YouTube shorts that are similar in nature. The popularity of reels and YouTube shorts are proof enough of how much the audiences love them.
  2. Communicating WHY one should pick that book rather than telling them what is the book about always helps in clearing an audience’s mindset. Answering this why shifts them into a buyer’s mentality quicker than explaining the what to them.
  3. As a diverse country, there are so many influencers who create content in local languages making them extremely popular with people from the same geographical area. If these people start talking about books and authors, the same love will be extended to them as well resulting in book sales.

How can we implement these strategies in the Indian market?

We can implement these strategies in the Indian market in the following ways:

  1. Leverage other short video platforms: While TikTok may not be available in India, there are other short video platforms gaining popularity, such as Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. Utilize these platforms to create engaging and visually appealing book-related content, such as book recommendations, author interviews, book excerpts, or behind-the-scenes glimpses.
  2. Collaborate with popular YouTubers: Identify popular YouTubers in India who have a significant subscriber base and specialize in book-related content. Collaborate with them to create video reviews, book discussions, or even virtual book clubs. Engage their audience by offering special discounts or giveaways tied to their channels.
  3. Harness the power of book blogging: Engage with book bloggers in India who have a dedicated following. Offer them review copies of books in exchange for honest reviews and promote their content on social media. Encourage bloggers to create engaging content such as book hauls, reading challenges, or interactive discussions that encourage their followers to participate. Currently, a lot of book bloggers already do this, but without any backing from any publisher.
  4. Host virtual author events: Organize virtual author events, book launches, or panel discussions featuring renowned authors or experts in the literary field. Utilize platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, or Facebook Live to stream these events. Promote them through social media, book clubs, and relevant online communities to generate interest and attendance. The pandemic taught us that virtual is the way ahead. Virtual events also allow us to be inclusive.
  5. Engage with bookstagrammers: Bookstagrammers are individuals who share book-related content on Instagram, including book recommendations, aesthetically pleasing book photos, and reviews. Identify influential bookstagrammers in India and collaborate with them to showcase your books. Provide them with review copies, feature them on your official channels, or sponsor book-related contests on their accounts.

In short, the key to making any marketing plan a success is:

  • Adapt the strategies to your specific target audience
  • Engage with online communities and platforms where book lovers congregate.
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and preferences in India’s digital landscape to effectively reach and engage your audience.

If you are an author looking for customized marketing solutions for your books…

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Book Marketing

About us

We are a team of book marketers who aim to simplify book marketing for you.

What do we do?

  • Offer free advice on Book marketing in South Asia through our Swellcast – The Book Bot Theory
  • We run a course called Goal Setting for Authors where we explore what an author needs to do after writing a book, what goals should be kept in mind and how best can they be achieved.
  • Through Keemiya Creatives, we also offer marketing services for authors.


Empowering authors and demystifying book marketing!


At our company, we’re on a mission to revolutionize the world of publishing by making marketing and publishing services transparent and accessible for authors. Through our innovative podcasts and tailored services, we empower authors to take charge of their careers, gain invaluable insights, and make informed decisions to achieve their goals.

Join us on our journey to transform the publishing industry and bring authors the success they deserve!

With our podcasts and services, we aim to make publishing and marketing transparent and accessible for authors.

Why Us?


Our Founder, Namrata, is a published author and editor with extensive experience working with authors and publishers since 2015. At Keemiya Creatives, our track record of producing bestsellers speaks for itself, while also working on books that had the potential to become bestsellers with the right marketing strategies in place.

With Namrata’s comprehensive understanding of book marketing and publishing, we aim to make these industries transparent and accessible to everyone.

In India, transparency around book marketing is a rare commodity. Most marketing agencies offer a standard list of services without taking into account the unique needs of each book.

However, at Keemiya Creatives, we understand that every book is distinctive and deserves individualized treatment. That’s why we create custom marketing plans that are tailored to each author’s specific requirements. This includes understanding the book’s theme, relevance, target audience, and other key factors.

Every book is unique and needs unique marketing strategy.

We take it one step further by providing specific goal-setting exercises for authors before beginning our marketing strategies. This ensures that the results are precisely in line with what the author envisioned before embarking on the journey.

Our commitment to providing customized marketing plans has made us a leader in the industry, and we look forward to bringing our expertise to even more authors in India and beyond.

Our achievements:

  • 3500+ Book sales
  • Award nominations
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Moreover, our podcast, The Bookbot Theory, provides a platform for open and honest discussions on all aspects of book marketing, featuring literary experts from diverse backgrounds. With our podcasts and services, we aim to equip authors with the knowledge and tools they need to take charge of their careers and achieve their goals.

In short, choosing Keemiya Creatives means partnering with a team that is committed to your success. With our experience, insights, and innovative approach, we’ll work tirelessly to ensure your book gets the attention it deserves.

Write to us at contact@keemiyacreatives.com to know more.

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