A page from a 19th century edition of the Analects, with annotations in smaller text.
It might be two millennia old, but Confucius's work is still as popular as ever.
A leading Chinese publishing house released its annual sales figures this week and one of its top bestsellers turns out to have been the legendary thinker's "Analects", a classic text composed over 2,000 years ago.
The "Analects Annotated" sold no less than 450,000 copies over the past year, twice as much as the previous year, the Beijing-based Zhonghua Book Company, which is dedicated to humanities titles, especially classical Chinese works, said.
A collection of Confucius's sayings and ideas, the "Analects" is one of the central texts of Confucianism. As such, it has been one of the most read and studied texts in China over the past 2,000 years, annotated by the most prominent scholars.
Not just the "Analects" but other Chinese classic texts are also doing well on the market. The phenomenon has surprised publishers, who have been impressed by readers' eagerness to read the original texts - composed in an ancient script not easily accessible to modern Chinese speakers - first-hand. Observers believe this reflects a desire to seek new interpretations of time-honored classics, unfettered by the words of authorities from the past.