Steve Jobs' Chinese-version biography pre-orders on the rise

Taipei, Oct. 9 (CNA) Taiwan's Commonwealth Publishing Group, the exclusive publisher of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' biography in traditional Chinese characters, said pre-orders for the Chinese edition had approached 30,000 as of 5 p.m. Sunday. "We estimate that the number could surpass 30,000 by the end of the day," Sherry Lee, marketing director of the publishing group, told CNA. The number set a record for Taiwan when it exceeded the 20,000-mark earlier this week, she added. The publisher began accepting pre-orders at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 6, soon after Jobs died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 56. Lee said that pre-orders for Jobs' biography have not slowed over the weekend, when orders for books are usually slow. She called it a "rare" phenomenon in the publishing industry. One of the factors contributing to high pre-order sales, Lee said, was that only those who pre-order the book will get the hardcover version. When the book hits bookstores, only a paperback version will be sold. On Taiwan's largest online book store, pre-orders for the Jobs biography have surpassed those of previous bestseller "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" by British author J.K. Rowling, according to local media reports on Saturday. The pre-orders priced at NT$599 (US$19.64) per copy on the website were selling at a speed of four copies per minute and pre-orders for the NT$649 English edition were flowing in at a speed of 1.6 copies per minute. The biography, titled "Steve Jobs: A Biography" is written by Walter Isaacson based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs over a period of two years, as well as interviews with his family, friends and colleagues. Lee said the Chinese edition will be launched as scheduled on Oct. 24. (By Christie Chen)