Sunday, February 07, 2016
Publishers of tabloid books in Hong Kong seem to be kidnapped by Chinese authorities; business model used to be common in the US
The New York Times, in a detailed “Sunday Business” article by Michael Forsythe and Andrew Jacobs, “The Disappearing Publishers” (online, “In China, Books that Make Money, and Enemies”) explains the business of several publishers who seem to have been kidnapped from Hong Kong, Thailand, and possibly Vietnam. Their operation was to hire writers to mass produce articles ad narratives that sound comparable to US supermarket tabloids, many of them ridiculing Chinese political or corporate leadershhip. They would be sold mainly in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, and then often physically carried back to mainland China by consumers.
What caught my eye was that in the US, in the past, “pornography” novels were often mass produced in “shops” of hired writers, especially in New York and LA, in the days that print pornography on some newsstands was popular, before the Internet. The companies tended to hire people in the cities struggling to meet ends meet (especially in the Village, in the early days after Stonewall as gay rights still had a long way to go).