Many people are surprised to know that that there are numerous Christian books that have been published in China and as a result can be legally sold and distributed within China. This is something that has been going on for the past ten years.
The Chinese government maintains strict control over what is published in China. One way they do this is through the ISBN system. Only government publishing companies can issue Chinese ISBN's and only books with Chinese ISBNs can be legally published and sold in China. In other words, China does not allow for the importation of books. From the government's point of view, trying to ship in and distribute 10,000 copies of the latest Harry Potter novel would be just as illegal as trying to ship in and distribute 10,000 Bibles.
In the past ten years, because of more autonomy given to publishing companies and what they can publish, a small Christian publishing industry has spring up. Content providers find publishing companies willing to issue ISBNs for their books. Basically, a publisher will be willing to issue an ISBN for a religious book if they believe that the profit potential outweighs the risk of getting into trouble.
I thought it would be interesting to take a look at what Christians in China are reading these days by looking at the top selling books on three different distributors of Christian content in China.
One of the biggest producers of Christian books in China is ZDL Books. Here is a list of their current best sellers:
- Praying for Your Family, by Sammy Tippit
- Instructing a Child's Heart, by Tedd and Margy Tripp
- Escaping the Misunderstanding of Marriage, by Andrew Yuan (a Chinese author)
- The Juggling Act: Balancing Your Family, Faith, and Work, by Pat Gelsinger
- Spiritual Leadership, by John Oswald Sanders
- Finding Your Better Half, by Andrew Yuan
- Shepherding a Child's Heart, by Tedd Tripp
- The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, by Paul White
- Wemmicks, by Max Lucado
- The ABC's of Wisdom, by Ray Pritchard
Another excellent source of Christian content is Baojayin; they sell pretty much everything that is available legally in China. Their English site is called Good News in China. Here is a list of their current bestselling books.
- The Action Bible (New Testament): God's Redemptive Story, by Doug Mauss
- The Action Bible (Old Testament, Volume 2): God's Redemptive Story, by Doug Mauss
- The Action Bible (Old Testament, Volume 1): God's Redemptive Story, by Doug Mauss
- Faith, Hope, Love Series: Is There Really a God?, by Zhang Yulan
- The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren
- Manga Old Testament Series (1): Manga Mutiny
- Manga Old Testament Series (2): Manga Melech
- Manga Old Testament Series (3): Manga Messengers
- Victory Over Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ, by Neil Anderson
- Walking Daily with the Lord, by Su Yingzhi
Another producer of legal Christian content in China is Enoch. Some of their popular titles include:
- Crazy Love, by Francis Chan
- The Call, by Oz Guiness
- The Friendship Factor, by Alan Loy McGinnis
- The Hidden Value of a Man, by Gary Smalley and John Trent)
- Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, by John Piper
Joann Pittman is senior vice president of ChinaSource and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University... View Full Bio