Monday, July 20, 2009

Chinese Amazon -- Writer's Poke #250

Canadian professional wrestler and former World Champion Bret "Hitman" Hart released his autobiography a couple of years ago. The problem was, it was initially only released by his publisher, Random House, in Canada. Fans and readers in the United States would have to wait an additional year for the book to be published south of the border.

I didn't feel like waiting, so I jumped on to the Canadian version of Amazon and placed my international order. In addition to the main amazon.com site, amazon also has international sites for Canada, the UK, China, Japan, Germany, and France.

If you haven't looked at the international amazons, I'd encourage you to do so. It's interesting to see what pops up on the various home pages. Japan's, for example, promotes watches, shoes, and anime, whereas Germany is apparently more interested in DVD's, digital cameras, and electronics.

Although I only speak English, I think I could navigate my way through the non-English European sites. With a little luck, I might even be able to work the Japanese site. But the difference between even the Japanese site and the Chinese site is pretty noticeable. The Chinese site relies much more on characters and text.

Just for fun, I did a search on Chinese amazon for Michael Jackson, and I found 23 items. You can get the Chinese version of Thriller for a very reasonable 42 yuan ($6.15).

What can you learn about a country by looking at its most popular websites?

"China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese." -- Charles de Gaulle

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