Not only do the Chinese get to read Haruki Murakami’s new novel 1Q84 in their own language long before English-language readers do, they’re also only paying 36 yuan ($5.27) per copy.
Good thing there are lots of Chinese, as they’ll have to sell quite a few copies to make back their investment:
Shanghai Translation Publishing House made a bid for the sum of $500,000, but that was apparently not high enough. Thinkingdom Media Group won the publishing rights, securing a final deal for a reported $1 million. If that is true, this novel has broken the record of the price for publishing rights of foreign literature in China.
Looks like they’ll stand a good shot of doing that, if other Asian nations are any indication:
In Japan, a total of 650,000 copies of 1Q84 were sold in the first week after its arrival in bookstores. In the month of June last year it sold a record 2 million copies in the country. In South Korea, it topped the bestseller list for nine weeks after its publication in August last year, and became the first Japanese novel to do so. By the end of 2009, 1.4 million copies were sold in South Korea. In Taiwan and Hong Kong, the traditional Chinese version of the book was also a bestseller and had sold over 100 million Taiwan Dollars (about $3.15 million).
And lastly, they’re going with a new translator:
The book’s translator has been revealed as Shi Xiaowei, which could come as a surprise for fans who are used to reading Murakami’s works translated by Lin Shaohua, a researcher of Japanese literature who has translated 33 of the 34 published Murakami novels in simplified Chinese.
Lin previously expressed his interest in translating 1Q84. He was quoted as telling the Shanghai Morning Post that he is the only one who has the necessary familiarity with Murakami’s style, and he expected that 1Q84 would be his last translation of the author’s works.