Titanium Media Note: Recently, App, a Modern Chinese Dictionary released by the Commercial Press, has attracted wide attention.
Fortunately, the heavy “big” reference book has become a small application on the mobile phone, but on the other hand, the App can only find two words free of charge every day. If it needs to find more words and use its main functions, it needs to pay 98 yuan, which is more expensive than the same paper book, causing heated discussion among netizens.
Fees cause controversy
According to the public data, Modern Chinese Dictionary is the first normative Chinese dictionary in New China compiled in accordance with the instructions of the State Council. It is the main reference book for the norms of pronunciation, Chinese characters and vocabulary of modern Chinese Putonghua. Since its publication, it has undergone six revisions, reprinted more than 600 times and distributed more than 7 million copies. App has attracted much attention since its launch.
According to the Commercial Press, the App not only presents Pinyin and first-class paper book retrieval, but also adds digital retrieval methods such as handwritten input query, voice input query, camera phrase query, etc. on the basis of presenting the content of Modern Chinese Dictionary (7th edition), and realizes full-text arbitrary words “i.e. point is the word”. According to Xinhua Synonym Dictionary, Xinhua Writing Dictionary and General Standard Chinese Character Dictionary, we have developed some value-added services such as synonym antonyms (more than 10,000 groups), synonym discrimination (more than 3,000 groups), dynamic standard stroke order (3500 words) and word level.
The App is currently available for free download, with a 4.6 rating in the App Store.
In view of the fact that App version of Modern Chinese Dictionary charges 98 yuan, which is more expensive than the same paper book, there are three main disputes among netizens: opposing fees, supporting fees and supporting fees, but the price may be as close as the people’s point.
The reason against the fee is that “cultural knowledge should be inherited, not used for profit”, “Xinhua Dictionary”, “Modern Chinese Dictionary” and other types of App fees are inappropriate.
But there are also many people who support fees. In the commentary on App of Modern Chinese Dictionary, one netizen’s answer gained more recognition: “There is a cost in developing App, which is not unjustified at all. Respect intellectual property rights and support the genuine version.
In fact, Modern Chinese Dictionary is not the first dictionary to try to make App. Not only the Oxford English Dictionary published by Oxford Publishing House, but also the domestic Xinhua Dictionary, which launched App products in 2017, has been published online since 2000.
When App of Xinhua Dictionary was launched in 2017, there was a similar controversy. The App only has two words a day for free experience, and the full version costs 40 yuan. After the launch of this App product, many netizens questioned, “The paper edition of Xinhua Dictionary published by the Commercial Press is only 24.9 yuan. Is the price of the electronic edition of 40 yuan too expensive?” Some netizens also said, “Xinhua Dictionary, which has gathered the pains of generations, is not worth a cup of Starbucks in its App edition?”
According to Xinhua News Agency at that time, the official in charge of the digital publishing center of the commercial press said that Xinhua Dictionary has gathered the painstaking efforts of several generations. The App version has been developed for three years, invested a lot of manpower and capital, as well as high circulation and operation costs.
Two years later, there is still a lot of controversy about the charging behavior of dictionary App. Especially in the aspect that the App version is more expensive than the paper version, many people are even more unacceptable and think that it exceeds the reasonable price.
App producer’s business press and design producer Shanghai Shangde Digital Publishing Technology Co., Ltd. customer service said that the reference of fees and pricing is the cost of copyright and software development. “We have been doing paid software, basically the software made by the genuine reference book is charged. In terms of pricing, we should also take into account the cost of developing software, design and other factors.
Sun Yuwen, professor of Chinese Department of Peking University, said in an interview, “Reference books refer not only to dictionaries, but also to dictionaries like Modern Chinese Dictionary. Different groups of people may have different opinions on its charge. A more stable approach can be based on a comprehensive consideration of service to readers, research and development costs, and then give the final results.
Digital transformation is an important strategy
In the Internet era, the digitization of paper books seems to have become a trend. The digital travel of dictionaries has also attracted considerable attention. Business Press successively launched two Apps, Xinhua Dictionary and Modern Chinese Dictionary, which are also in keeping with the times.
On the one hand, market demand exists. According to the Annual Report of China’s Digital Publishing Industry 2018-2019 issued by China Press and Publishing Research Institute, the overall revenue of the domestic digital publishing industry in 2018 was 833.078 billion yuan, an increase of 17.8% over the previous year. Mobile publishing and other fields are important pillars of the revenue of digital publishing industry.
On the other hand, with the emergence of mobile electronic products such as smartphones, many pirates have also aimed at introducing various pirated software for reference books, which also forces the online layout of reference books. In an interview with the media, the head of Shanghai Translation Publishing House said, “Before the smartphone era, the annual sales of New French-Chinese Dictionary was 13,000 copies. However, with the gradual popularization of smartphones, many developers have used grabbing, piracy and other ways to patch together the “dictionary application” to occupy the market, which has also led to the annual sales of the New French-Chinese Dictionary to 3000 copies.
In addition, digital transformation is also an important strategy of A-share listed companies in China publishing behind the commercial press. In its 2018 annual report, the company said that as a large domestic publishing group, the company has been actively seeking digital transformation. However, if the company can not continue to absorb and apply advanced digital technology, and vigorously develop new media characterized by digital content production and digital communication channels, in the future, The market competition will be more and more impacted by the digital publishing media.
Sun Yuwen, in an interview with CNN, said that science and authority are issues that should be paid attention to when traditional dictionaries go to the Internet. Because of the particularity of reference books in use, developers are required to establish a set of procedures for careful verification of digital dictionaries to ensure their authority and accuracy, avoid unnecessary mistakes and mislead readers.
“At the same time, digitization also needs to add new content related to the original knowledge and new forms matching the content to provide matching knowledge services.” Sun Yuwen mentioned that it is inevitable for traditional dictionaries to turn to Internet applications, which will be more convenient to use. “But the ultimate goal is not to simply transplant the contents of paper books to the internet, and bring better services to readers.”
(Titanium media synthesized from Beijing News, Beijing Youth Daily, Xinhua News Agency, Daily Economic News, China News Network)