Outside the gates to Fudan and SUFE there are a number of vendors that sell different things on mobile bike carts. There are snacks, some bootleg DVDs along with school supplies and books.  Getting school supplies has been frustrating since I can’t find index cards. The pens are really nice though.

More fascinating than any pen set is the selection of books being sold. There are Chinese and English language books but I mainly noticed and looked at the English selection. It’s a mix of best sellers and classics all printed to be the same size and shrink wrapped. While some of the books seemed too small, the Signet Classics were very convincing and I thought for a second they might be legitimate copies.

This is a list of the books I remember seeing on one of the carts last week*:

Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith (I was surprised to see this one)
The Tipping Point and Outliers, Malcom Gladwell
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Dreams of My Father and The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama
Sex in the City, Candace Bushnell
Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey
How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere, Larry King
Who Moved the Cheese, Spencer Johnson
The Bible, King James Version
Animal Farm, George Orwell
The full sets of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Twilight
Various GRE prep books

And I bought a copy of 1984 by George Orwell. All of the books are priced at 10 RMB but I bargained down to 5.  I might have gotten a lower price because this copy wasn’t shrink wrapped but at least I knew the correct book was printed inside the cover.

The first week here one of my roommates bought a two disc “special edition” of Drake’s album featuring a “PERFECT EXPERIENCE ON SUPER HIGH MATERIAL AUDIO CD” which should have been the first sign something was off.  The second sign was the track listing on CD 2 includes “Gangsta Luv” and “Pimpin Ain’t EZ”.  These are not exclusive track releases but Snoop Dog’s Malice in Wonderland.

I’m not sure who’s buying these books.  The majority of the students here speak English but there’s a large presence of English-speaking international students as well.  Regardless of who’s buying what, it’s interesting to see what’s being produced with intent to sell.

* I’m going to edit this post later this week to add a picture.  I’ll also add the names of more of the books being sold.

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