For readers in Taiwan, literature from the Chinese mainland are not as novel as they were before 1987, the period when the Martial Law was in effect. The Martial Law period, ruled by the Kuomintang, lasted from May 19, 1949 to July 15, 1987. During this time, book or magazine publications from the Chinese mainland were banned.
Now over two decades later, Chinese mainland writers enjoy increasing popularity in Taiwan. Late last year, Guo Jingming, a popular Chinese mainland writer, announced plans to set up a branch of Zuibook Company in Taiwan in 2012, to connect the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.
Duzhe was the first magazine from the Chinese mainland to gain permission to publish in Taiwan in January 2011. Duzhe recently revealed to the public that it was planning to provide a digital service for readers, in light of their encouraging circulation of 20,000 issues per month in Taiwan.
"The version issued in Taiwan is a monthly magazine printed in traditional Chinese characters," said Fu Kangnian, president of Duzhe Publishing and Media Corporation. "We are planning on issuing the same version in Hong Kong this October. Literature connects people. People can find commonalities in it," Fu told the Global Times.
With the local government lifting the restriction on mainland publications, Taiwan publishers are eager to explore this new sector.
"During the early days, when the ban was removed, popular books included The Chess Master, The King of Children and The King of Trees by mainland author A. Cheng, as well as the poetry of Wang Zengqi," said Wu.
Writers like Su Tong, Mo Yan, Wang Anyi and Han Shaogong were then familiar writers, according to Wu.
Best-selling books from the mainland are rising quickly in Taiwan. In June this year, Night Stalker, a historic novel by mainland Web writer Yue Guan, topped the best-selling historic and wuxia book list at KingStone Bookstore, a large-scale chain bookstore in Taiwan.
Yue Guan, a writer for qidian.com, one of China's leading literature writing online platforms, has experienced tremendous success in Taiwan.
According to a report on reading habits in Taiwan in 2011, Yue Guan's three books, Return to the Ming Dynasty to be a Prince, Bubu Shenglian and Dazheng Zhishi were among the top 20 most borrowed books at local public libraries.
This is a mutually beneficial situation. Taiwan's market also benefits, said Tu Yu-yun, general manager of Rye Field Publishing Co. in Taiwan.
"The popularity of those books brought publicity to a few local bookstores that used to be obscure, like Babylon Books Company. Through publishing The Emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), a series written by mainland writer Er Yuehe, the company earned both recognition and money," Tu said.
Popular mainland writers like Han Han, Guo Jingming and Rao Xueman have fans in Taiwan. But some of their books are not as popular as they are in the mainland. For example, Cite Publishing Ltd. (parent company of Rye Field Publishing Co.) released figures for Han Han's Triple Door, which sold no more than 10,000 copies.
"His other books like Youth, sell well," said Tu.
There are still many obstacles that publishers on both sides need to overcome, especially when it comes to dealing with sensitive topics, such as politics.
"Taiwan residents, especially intellectuals, enjoy reading material from the mainland. But publishing these books is still very difficult today due to the restrictions and copyright issues," said Taiwan publisher Wu Xin-jian, in a recent interview with People's Daily overseas edition.
As a general interest magazine that covers literature essays and various inspirational stories and anecdotes, Duzhe caters to local people's taste.
"But the biggest problem is locating distribution channels; the cost is very high," said Fu.
"For mainland writers who have the intention of promoting their works in Taiwan, I suggest they turn to established local publishers," said Wu.