Lee Foster with Chinese-translation print book edition of his Northern California Travel: The Best Options
Lee Foster with Chinese-translation print book edition of his Northern California Travel: The Best Options

(My California travel guide book/ebook Northern California Travel: The Best Options, translated into Chinese, has recently been released as a printed book in China.)

By Lee Foster

The Chinese book distributor Dangdang sells the print book online.

Your expert advice requested: How soon will this recently-released California travel guide, translated into Chinese, move from “armchair travel” to “practical travel guide” in China? Time frame estimates welcome.

My publisher in China, Fiberead, released the book earlier as an ebook in Chinese. The link shows how my ebook version looks on Amazon.cn, which also populates to my USA Amazon Author Page, scroll right.

I realize that launching a new project about California travel during the present coronavirus pandemic may not be the best timing. However, with the world on lockdown, it may be a great time to unveil an armchair travel book. With such an offering, the would-be Chinese traveler can vicariously visit Northern California without leaving home or needing to don a mask.

Complexity of the Backstory

As might be expected, the backstory on this publishing venture is somewhat complicated.

Three years ago some talented young people from Beijing came to San Francisco and licensed two of my books for translation and publishing in Chinese. They called themselves Fiberead. I liked the rationale of their company title. They felt that fiber optic cable would allow all people in the world to acquire reading and knowledge at minimum cost.

The other book they licensed was my travel literary volume, Travels in an American Imagination: The Spiritual Geography of Our Time. This book consists of 25 of my essays, each with one of my most iconic photos from my worldwide travels. My theme is: We live in both the most wondrous and the most horrific time ever to be alive. For example, I was ecstatic about going to the Florida Kennedy Space Center from where we sent humans to the moon. I was saddened walking through an Atlantic rainforest outside of Rio, observing how the destruction of habitat resulted in an irreversible loss of species.


That book was already out in English as a print book, ebook, and audiobook. The Chinese ebook was a helpful addition to the forms. Again, the link is to the book in China on Amazon.cn, which populates also to my USA Amazon Author Page, scroll right.

My California Travel Guide Print Book Delayed by the Censors

However, there was a delay in publishing the print version of Northern California Travel: The Best Options. My young Chinese publishers said it was due to “the censors.” Fiberead was impatient with the slow pace of the censors. It’s not that my book on California travel was particularly “subversive.” It’s just that the censors act very slowly in China. Apparently, ebooks go through the system more easily than print books. I gathered that my young Chinese publishers were not happy with the tardiness of their elders.

My Books’ Future in China

Long term, I feel positive about selling my books in China.

We forget how many people in the world speak Chinese. The answer is about 1.2 billion. By comparison, how many people speak English? That answer is about 1.5 billion, if you accept the first answer coming up in a Google Search.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, I saw lots of Chinese visitors in California. Many were off the beaten path. For example, I saw large tour groups of Chinese last year in Bishop, Eastern Sierra. They were looking at the beautiful fall color of the aspen trees in October.

Another reality is the growing affluence of China, at least until the recent period. I have written about my experience of going to Wuhan and am so thankful that the Chinese had enough wealth to combat the COVID-19. We will wait to see where both the U.S. and the China economies stand as this coronavirus crisis proceeds.

Rationale of Northern California Travel: The Best Options

This California travel guide book aims to answer a simple question: What are the best travel experiences to explore when contemplating Northern California? I define that territory as from Death Valley and Monterey/Big Sur north to the Oregon border.

I have spent more than 40 years refining the answers, looking at both nature/outdoors and cultural/historical subjects.

My 30 chapters in this book guide consumers to use wisely their most precious commodity—their time.

All of the major travel regions in Northern California are described in detail. My goal for this book is to provide an enjoyable and insightful read. Certainly, I have in mind the needs of  the armchair traveler and a practical plan for actual trips.

I have personally visited each of the places and lived out the experiences that I recommend. I enjoy becoming the reader’s “personal travel concierge.” To sum up, it’s rewarding to guide people to the essence of each destination.

Note that all my books can be acquired both on Amazon and in bookstores. Because I publish my printed books also through Ingram, bookstores can get them. In addition, Smashwords handles distribution of my ebooks to all outlets beyond Amazon.

Chinese translation print book version of Lee Foster's travel guidebook Northern California Travel: The Best Options
Chinese translation print book version of Lee Foster’s travel guidebook Northern California Travel: The Best Options

Table of Contents for My California Travel Guide: Northern California Travel: The Best Options

The 30 chapters for the book are as follows:


San Francisco Bay Area

1. San Francisco’s Main Tourist Attractions

2. San Francisco Through the Lens: Tips on Viewing/Photographing the City

3. San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge Beyond 75 Years

4. San Francisco’s Neighbor: The Oakland-Berkeley East Bay

5. Five Good Day Trips from San Francisco

6. Five Good Overnight Trips from San Francisco

7. California’s Best Beaches North of San Francisco

8. California’s Best Beaches South of San Francisco

9. California’s San Mateo Coast, South of San Francisco

10. Spring Wildflowers in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area

11. California’s Stanford University: A World-Class Legacy

California Travel South from San Francisco

12. California’s Santa Cruz, Epitome of Beach Culture

13. California’s Monterey-Carmel-Big Sur

14. California’s Big Sur Coast: A Scenic Drive

California Travel North from San Francisco

15. California’s Napa Wine Country

16. California’s Sonoma Wine Country

17. California’s Sonoma-Mendocino Coast

18. California’s Redwood Country

19. Redding and the Shasta Cascade Area of Northern California

20. California’s Lassen National Park

California Travel East from San Francisco

21. California’s State Capital, Sacramento, and the Delta

22. California’s Gold Rush Country

23. California’s Lake Tahoe

24. Skiing, Snow Sports, and Winter Adventures at Lake Tahoe, California

25. California’s Yosemite National Park

26. California’s Mammoth Lakes in Summer

27. A Drive Through Death Valley National Park

Only in California

28. Northern California Travel Itineraries

29. Northern California’s Top Museums

30. California’s Three Superlative Trees

USA print edition of Lee Foster's travel guidebook Northern California Travel: The Best Options
USA print edition of Lee Foster’s travel guidebook Northern California Travel: The Best Options


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