Sunday 29th March 2015


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China’s mobile reading phenomenon

Sophie Rochester

The Literary Platform

China’s current publishing landscape is at once exciting and complex, and is in the midst of a significant transformation through its opening up to the world in commerce and culture, and through the impact of technology which is, as elsewhere, radically changing the way its readers consume and share written content.

In December 2014, the number of Internet users in China reached 649 million, of which the number of mobile Internet users had reached 557 million (85.8%), according to the 35th Statistical Report on Internet Development in China [1].  Nielsen data [2] has put the percentage of Chinese consumers aged 16+ with a mobile phone at 89%.

This surge in mobile use has brought with it a surge in mobile reading, defined by China Publishers as ‘the act of reading and consuming digital content on mobile devices’ [3] such as phones, tablets, PCs, e-readers, etc. and which covers e-books, e-newspapers, e-magazines and mobile cartoons. Mobile reading hit its stride in 2012, with total revenues of 6.89 billion Yuan (£656 million), with the number of cumulative users that year surpassing 600 million. [4] Read more »

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Darwin Drawing

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Discovering gems at the Cambridge Digital Library

Huw Jones

Project Manager, Cambridge Digital Library

On mile after mile of shelves in cool, dark stacks at the back of Cambridge University Library sit some of the world’s greatest treasures. From 3,000 year old Chinese oracle bones through to the handwritten notes of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin – from the earliest known copy of the Ten Commandments to the wartime diaries of Siegfried Sassoon, these collections span the ages and the globe. Some of the items are world famous, but large parts of our collections are undiscovered or little known – a recent project to catalogue our Sanskrit manuscripts found 600 more manuscripts than expected, with unique texts among those brought to light. And in our work on the Board of Longitude archive we discovered an astonishing letter from William Bligh apologising somewhat passive-aggressively for the loss of the ship’s timekeeper in the mutiny on the Bounty. One thing all of the collections have in common is that until recently they were only accessible to a small number of academics. This began to change in 2011 with the launch of Cambridge Digital Library, and just over three years later we are turning the old, restricted access model on its head with nearly 25,000 unique or rare items available online, to anyone, anywhere in the world, for free. Read more »

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