By stephendavis on Dec 05, 2006
Like the release of Hollywood films that all seem to follow the same story line, theme or cinematic style, books covering the same subject often tend to be published around the same time or in quick succession of each other. Maybe it's because publishing houses like film studios separately each recognise a gap in the market or that coverage in other media such as newspapers convinces them that there will be reader interest.
Around six months ago there were several books that attempted to examine the reasons underlying the recent growth in China's economy. In this book, its author James Kynge, former China Bureau Chief of the Financial Times and a fluent Mandarin speaker, extends his analysis to look at the impact of China's economy on the country's political system as well the environmental consequences of its rapid industrialisation on the country's limited natural resources and agricultural land.
Throughout this book, the autror writes from the perspective of China's rise from the inside looking out describing the people and places behind the transformation of the world's most populous nation. In particular, the author describes how the Chinese economy is now impacting the rest of the world, ranging from the price of oil and other commodities, the competition for manufacturing jobs, the extent of inward investment into the US economy and the resulting effect on interest rates to the de-forestation of the Amazon rainforest.
Like international film releases, the same book can often be published under a different title in different geographical markets. In this case, the same book was published in the US under the title 'China Shakes the World: A Titan's Rise and Troubled Future - and the Challenge for America'. As far as I can see, although the cover design is different on the two editions, the actual written content of the book is the same. There are few specific references to the US.
Maybe this simply reflects the American public's national insularity and need to make everything immediately relevant to the US. But it illustrates how in the same way that feature films are even sometimes edited for different national audiences (not taking account of any local film censorship) non-fiction books sometimes need to be marketed using different approaches.