Sleeping Beauty


from Press News, posted 05/18/2014 - 16:46

It is often said of social science books that typically their sales go ‘up like a rocket, down like a stick’ because the subject matter quickly gets out of date. In contrast, history titles may have a flatter sales trajectory but a much longer one.

Even so, it is rare that books whose sales are dormant suddenly take off again. Generally, this is because of an event reviving interest in a study (hence, in addition to the splurge of new books on World War I currently being published, there is certainly a revival of interest in some of the classical studies of the war as the 100th anniversary of its outbreak approaches).

Map from "On the Fringes"

So it is with the ongoing unhappy situation in Xinjiang. This has not only increased interest in a recent NIAS Press book exploring the place of Tibet and Xinjiang within China; it has also revived curiosity in a NIAS title published way back in 1999: David Wang’s Clouds over Tianshan, which explores the brief quasi-independence of Xinjiang in the 1940s.

Nor is this the only NIAS book suddenly enjoying new sales.

The trick, of course, is for authors and publishers to point new readers to their books long after they have been published, demonstrating their continued relevance. That is not easy, but it is something we are working on.


 

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