Secret Garden author highest-earning foreign writer in China

Johanna Basford, author of popular coloring book Secret Garden from the United Kingdom, earned 24 million yuan ($3.67 million) in copyright income from the Chinese market, according to a Foreign Writers Rich List released on Thursday.

Whether Basford would admit the figure as true or not, the list, jointly researched by West China Metropolis Daily and Great Star Media, at least shows her as the most popular foreign author in the country in the year 2015.

Wu Huaiyao, the lead researcher of the list, said the result is calculated out of numbers of copies sold, the set price of each copy, and the royalty ratio. As to how he got the ratio right, Wu replied he has a way of doing months-long investigation to make sure.

There're a total of 30 foreign authors listed, with their income ranging from tens of million yuan to 1 million.

"As our society opens up and keeps on making progress, the taste of Chinese readers is quite internationalized," Wu said. "And I hope the list showcases trends of Chinese book market, and offers references to foreign publishers that are interested in selling books to the country full of zealous readers."

The list shows which TV and film adaptations of titles are liked by Chinese readers, like in the case of Michael Dobbs' House of Cards, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, and Bear Gryll's Born Survivor.

Just like the global book market, thrillers, whodunits, romance, children's books and some of the classical non-fictional titles lead the bestsellers' ranking in China.

Here are the top 10 foreign writers based on their earnings in 2015:

1. Johanna Basford, Secret Garden, 24 million yuan

2. Higashino Keigo, The Miracle in the Grocery Store, 20.25 million yuan

3. Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner, 10 million yuan

4. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter, 7.35 million yuan

5. Joanna Cole, The Magic School Bus, 7.3 million yuan

6. Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, Totto-chan, the Little Girl at the Window, 7.05 million yuan

7. Christian Jolibois and Christian Heinrich, Les P'Tites Poules, 4.75 million yuan

8. Marc Levy, The Shadow Thief, 4.65 million yuan

9. Gabrielle Zevin, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, 4.3 million yuan

10. Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood, 4 million yuan

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