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Angelina

Online Bookstore

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Angelina

I had a business idea today. Looking for suggestions. 

 

 

1. Would you be interested to cooperate if I start this?

2. Would you buy books from this bookstore?

3. How to start a business? I am already in touch with the local government when it comes to getting a work visa, I think that would not be a problem, but if you have some experience with getting a business up and running, I would appreciate it. What restrictions are there for people who are not citizens of China? I think I will make it a WOFE. 

4. Other suggestions to improve my initial plan. 

 

 

 

Introduction 

 

What would make this online bookstore unique would be that it would specialize in selling English-language books. Apart from importing books published abroad, it would also sell books published in China and try to support local writers, especially Chinese fiction and books written in languages other than Mandarin, both in China and abroad. 

It would be based in Hangzhou, because the infrastructure is perfect for online shopping. For example, if we look at electronic payment it is probably the most developed anywhere in the world. 

I will not self-censor and will not comprise. I am thinking to have a special shelf promoting banned books. Both, books previously banned in China, and books burned throughout history. If asked by the authorities here, I will resist all forms of censorship. I am actually thinking to name the bookstore Apostol, after an ancestor of mine who was a Communist and sacrificed his life fighting for cultural diversity in Greece. In fact, Marx envisioned Communism as world literature

I would start by contacting publishers abroad, including those who have had difficulties to sell in China. I would also try to get in touch with local talent. For this purpose, I would need to have a physical space to hold workshops and other events. It would not really be online-to-offine, more like an online bookstore, plus a physical space where related events are held, for example, if I do manage to sign a contact with a major publisher and we decide to launch some masterpiece. 

 

 

Angelina

 

 

 

 

 

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歐博思

I think you could do really well with this... 

 

...in Taiwan.

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Tomsima

In the last year I have worked a few times as an interpreter for a bookstore based in hubei province that does what you've described above, selling across all mainland through jingdong. The manager is extremely successful, business is very good. The meetings I have been at have informed me that you will have very little chance of success as soon as you start importing banned books. You may get blacklisted. Your idea is definitely good, and your outside connections are what the market needs, but the banned books part is something which will definitely be a problem. Selling to a censored market requires censorship, and if you don't self-censor you'll be censored in the end anyway. I can only say I support your principle, but it might not be successful business wise

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anonymoose
1 hour ago, Angelina said:

1. Would you be interested to cooperate if I start this?

 

1 hour ago, Angelina said:

I will not self-censor and will not comprise. I am thinking to have a special shelf promoting banned books.

 

Your business will be out of business before it even gets started.

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Angelina
1 hour ago, Tomsima said:

The manager is extremely successful, business is very good.

 

Yes, the market is great. There are many people in China who want to buy books written in English. Combine this with supporting local writers and you have both a) a business successful financially and b) you will contribute to society. 

 

 

1 hour ago, Tomsima said:

but the banned books part is something which will definitely be a problem

 

but if you name the bookstore after a Communist hero, they might reconsider censorship ... 

 

 

2 hours ago, 歐博思 said:

I think you could do really well with this... 

 

...in Taiwan.

 

I love Hangzhou though. 

 

 

1 hour ago, anonymoose said:

Your business will be out of business before it even gets started.

 

I was thinking to do a PhD in literature in the US. If this business in Hangzhou stays small, I can use whatever profit I make as pocket money, to supplement my studies. 

If my business is successful, I can forgo PhD plans altogether. 

If nothing happens, goodbye China. Which would be sad. 

 

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anonymoose

I'm not sure if China allows you to pursue academic studies while you are in the 劳改所, but that is another option to consider.

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Angelina
5 minutes ago, anonymoose said:

while you are in the 劳改所, but that is another option to consider

 

 

Yes, this is what happened to the Communists in Greece. If I manage to somehow flip the narrative, no one will be angry. 

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Publius
14 minutes ago, Angelina said:

but if you name the bookstore after a Communist hero, they might reconsider censorship

What are you, 12?

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Angelina
1 hour ago, Publius said:

What are you, 12?

 

If the branding is based on Communists in Greece, some of whom were not allowed to speak their language (Slavic), perhaps giving a platform to minority voices in China will not be censored. 

 

 

I was thinking, can good literature ever be aggressive? 

Perhaps having good taste is enough.

 

I have this feeling when reading the news these days, whether pro-Trump or anti-Trump, a lot of it feels like the articles are yelling at you. I don't have to be yelling that I won't be self-censoring myself. 

 

 

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Jim
7 hours ago, Angelina said:

If the branding is based on Communists in Greece, some of whom were not allowed to speak their language (Slavic), perhaps giving a platform to minority voices in China will not be censored. 

That's really not how it works. The current regime is not short of critics from the left, many of whom see themselves as carrying on native communist/anarchist/trade unionist traditions but that identification doesn't work like some magic talisman against the realities of politics and power. A good materialist ought to know that!

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imron
11 hours ago, Angelina said:

I will resist all forms of censorship

Then your bookstore will fail.  If you are doing something the government doesn't like (e.g. selling banned books) and you insist on keeping on doing it, the government will crush you.  Doubly so because you are a foreigner.

 

China's house, China's rules.  If you try to fight against that, it looks a whole lot like rebellion and sedition to the state, and it reacts accordingly.  There are copious examples of this in recent Chinese history.

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陳德聰

I think you might be better off having just an online store that sells digital versions of books. You can be based in China but have your servers hosted elsewhere and perhaps do your scanning and uploading in China. Of course you may not be able to get access to banned books as easily based in China, but nothing would stop you from compartmentalising your business into China-version and non-China-version, so that successful VPN users could know that all they need to do to get access to your banned books is find your sister site.

 

Your sister site can be run by someone named “Angelino” and have a different domain name like Apostal so that they may be fooled into thinking Apostal is the 盜版 Apostol haha.

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Hofmann

First, I'm happy that you've got a business idea. Let's see what can become of it. Whatever I tell you will probably not convince you either way, so I'll give you some suggestions on what to research.

  • Is anyone else successfully doing something similar? How have avoided the obvious risks you've already identified? Have they also encountered any problems you didn't foresee?
  • How easy is it to start such a business? What sort of fixed costs (one-time expenditures) prevent anyone from becoming your competitor?
  • You aim to solve a problem for a certain group of people. Can this problem be solved in some other, cheaper, or more convenient way?
  • How big is your market? How price-sensitive are they? Can they somehow work together to minimize your profits?
  • How varied and abundant are your resources? Can anyone else access them?
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Angelina
3 hours ago, Jim said:

The current regime is not short of critics from the left, many of whom see themselves as carrying on native communist/anarchist/trade unionist traditions but that identification doesn't work like some magic talisman against the realities of politics and power.

 

We all know that, but they can't use the excuse of censoring in the name of "core socialist values" (as they have been doing for some time now), if they are censoring a socialist project. 

 

 

2 hours ago, imron said:

it looks a whole lot like rebellion and sedition

 

 

Not really rebellion, I won't be doing any violence, maybe civil disobedience, with a lake too, with more history than Walden :) 

 

 

2 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

You can be based in China but have your servers hosted

 

but I want to make everything legit, Angelino was funny though lol 

 

 

10 minutes ago, Hofmann said:
  • Is anyone else successfully doing something similar? How have avoided the obvious risks you've already identified? Have they also encountered any problems you didn't foresee?
  • How easy is it to start such a business? What sort of fixed costs (one-time expenditures) prevent anyone from becoming your competitor?
  • You aim to solve a problem for a certain group of people. Can this problem be solved in some other, cheaper, or more convenient way?
  • How big is your market? How price-sensitive are they? Can they somehow work together to minimize your profits?
  • How varied and abundant are your resources? Can anyone else access them?

 

 

That's the point, there is absolutely no competition right now. I would love to see Chinese people competing with me over this. 

  • No, no one has done it. They have encountered, well, censorship. 
  • This is what I am thinking, costs, all the practicalities. I can't wait to actually see competitors. To be honest, I would not care if competitors win. It would only spread the idea. 
  • The more convenient way for Chinese people to solve this problem now is to go abroad. It has not been done in China. Perhaps getting the (English) books printed in China is cheaper than importing them. 
  • Focusing on urban China, a lot of disposable income. The only way for them to minimize my profit is to steal this idea, but stealing the idea would still spread the idea, so I am not that worried about losing money. 
  • Well, my resources are my ideas, so not that worried. 

In short, I am not concerned about competitors stealing my idea, but I still wonder how to set everything up. 

Another idea for naming my project is Walden. Can I find office space near West Lake? Like Zen Walden.  

 

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roddy
34 minutes ago, Angelina said:

they can't use the excuse

They won't need one. They'll just do it, and if you complain they'll shrug. Your visa will not be renewed. You may warrant a short article in the Guardian (online only, this won't make print) and the comments will all be from sad and lonely people telling you it's your own fault for not respecting Chinese laws.

 

Honestly, it's such a bad idea it's hard to know what would even happen. It won't involve selling books, though.

 

Here's what you should do, if you want to open a business: open a cafe. Sell a few books that way. Have talks and discussions and the like. Pass out naughty books to people you trust and who are interested.

 

15 hours ago, Angelina said:

I will not self-censor and will not comprise.

Yeah. Had noticed that, over the years. 

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Angelina
7 minutes ago, roddy said:

Here's what you should do, if you want to open a business: open a cafe.

 

Yes!

This is a great idea. 

 

I can have it near West Lake lake and call it Walden. For the people who read, they will think civil disobedience hehe.

The rest will only think 美国. There is a book in 美国 about someone living near a lake and this is a lake, they won't think further. 

 

13 minutes ago, roddy said:

Sell a few books that way. Have talks and discussions and the like.

 

This is good. 

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roddy

"I will not compromise, I will not back down, I will merely completely change my plans in the face of opposition!"

 

Good luck.

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Angelina
15 hours ago, Angelina said:

4. Other suggestions to improve my initial plan. 

 

@roddy

 

4 minutes ago, roddy said:

"I will not compromise, I will not back down,

 

When it comes to censorship. 

 

 

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Angelina

I tried looking up Zen Walden and found this:

 

https://tricycle.org/magazine/rain-law/

 

Quote

Thoreau’s translation—the first known published translation in America from a Buddhist scripture—was from one of these articles.

 

 

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imron
1 hour ago, Angelina said:

but they can't use the excuse of censoring in the name of "core socialist values" (as they have been doing for some time now), if they are censoring a socialist project. 

They can use 'socialism with chinese characteristics' to sell capitalism to the entire chinese nation, they're not going to care whether a project is socialist or not they are going to care if a project goes against their interests and/or orders.

 

1 hour ago, Angelina said:

I won't be doing any violence, maybe civil disobedience,

The state won't distinguish and won't care.

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