"Used" English Books?

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Oct 31, 2016 02:06
Books written in English are not very popular in China, not only because many people’s English is not good enough to read them, but also because English books are expensive. The Chinese versions of these books are cheaper, so some of them sell very well.

There is a section on Amazon China that exclusively sells imported English books. I sometimes visit it to check if there are any new recommended best-sellers, and I always see furious customers leaving complaints in the comment sections. They usually write something like: “Is Amazon selling pirated books? The book I’ve received is so terrible. It looks like a used or pirated book!” With that, they tend to rate the order poorly, giving it 1 out of 5.

Whenever I see that, I can’t help but laugh. I know why they are so angry: the pages of imported English books are mostly brownish, and the paper is usually rough. On the contrary, the paper of the Chinese versions is white and smooth. The customers bought English books at twice or three times the price of the Chinese versions, but ended up receiving books that seemed as if they had been purchased from second-hand book stands. Naturally, this makes them pretty upset. I’ve gotten used to those brownish books, because I used to borrow some of them from libraries. Couldn’t it be that they had also purchased recycled books? Not necessarily.

They say every stuck-up person who wants to pass as an an intellectual has shelves full of unread books. In Chinese, there is also a saying, “You won’t read books unless they are borrowed.” So, going to libraries and borrowing some to read is a smart choice. Since people here don’t often read English books, I don't need to worry about competing with others for the latest English best-sellers whenever I borrow them at the library. Few of the spines on those books have ever been cracked. Haha.

(Revised)
在中国,英文原版书不是特别流行。不仅因为人们的英文还不够好,阅读原版书比较困难,而且因为英文版本通常更贵。但是,这些书的中文版本会更便宜,所以其中一些书销量很不错。

在中国亚马逊网站上有一个专门卖英文进口书的专区。我会经常去那里逛逛,看看有没有什么新的畅销书推荐。我经常会看到有些很气愤的顾客在评论区留言,他们一般会这样说,"你亚马逊是不是在卖盗版书?我收到的书怎么看都像二手的或者是盗版的!"然后他们一般会给差评,五星打一星。

看着这一幕,我一般会忍俊不禁。我知道他们为什么这么生气了,因为这些原版书的纸张一般发黄,还很粗糙。而中文版的书,一般纸张白而光滑。顾客花了两三倍于中文版的价格买了英文书,但收到的书却好像是地摊货,难免气不过。我倒是已经习惯了,因为我常常会去图书馆借这些英文书,总不会图书馆也买二手货吧?应该没有必要。

他们说伪君子喜欢用书来撑门面,显摆自己博学,其实一本书也没有读。在中文里面,也有句古话:“书非借不能读也。”所以,去图书馆借书来读,是一个比较明智的选择。由于这里的人们一般不读英文书,所以我每次去图书馆借都不用担心和别人抢着借新书。很多书都没被翻过。哈哈。