Beijing International Book Fair trends show future direction of Chinese publishing

By Zhang Yuchen Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/25 19:23:39

A woman poses for a photo at the Beijing International Book Fair on Wednesday. Photo: Zhang Yuchen/GT

As Chinese writers continue to capture the attention of readers around the world, Beijing's annual book fair is working to facilitate more transnational cooperation and exchanges.

The 23th Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) kicked off on Wednesday together with the 14th Beijing International Book Festival at the China International Exhibition Center in Beijing.

The exhibition venue this year includes six pavilions - one more than last year - and a total exhibition area of 78,600 square meters, 19 percent more space than last year. Nearly 300,000 of the latest Chinese and foreign publications from 2,407 domestic and overseas exhibitors are on display.

The book fair is scheduled to come to an end on Sunday.

Here are some of the new trends we've seen so far at the fair.

New experiences

On the first day of the fair, the scent of Chinese ink was in the air and handfuls of wood dust could be seen piled on tables as masters of traditional culture, surrounded by children, demonstrated calligraphy and wood carving.

To meet the increased attention lifestyle books have been getting lately, BIBF has dedicated a new pavilion to display the production involved in these books and increase interaction with readers.

Taking the theme "Reading to Living," the pavilion is divided into three areas - exquisite life, cooking and family activities. Other activities such as culinary demonstrations have also been scheduled.

Children's books on the rise

In recent years, an increasing amount of international book fairs have shown growing interest in the children's book market.

In addition to the relaxation of China's one-child policy, Cao Wenxuan's Hans Christian Andersen Award win, a first for a Chinese author, also caused quite a stir in the children's books market in China.

Last year, BIBF established a new pavilion targeting early education. The new area attracted 100 domestic and 200 overseas exhibitors, and more than 40,000 parents and their children. Following the success of last year, children's books are also a major highlight at this year's BIBF.

A total of 100 original Chinese picture books selected by the National Library are on display in the pavilion's international zone.

Transnational cooperation

BIBF has attracted far more international exhibitors than last year.

In addition to long-time returnees such as the US, UK, France and Japan, a number of new countries have joined the fair for a total of 86 countries and regions. Of these, 35 exhibitors are from countries involved in China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative, with Indonesia setting up a stand at BIBF for the first time.

This is also the first year that 16 countries in Central Eastern Europe have been invited as guests of honor.

In addition to more international exhibitors, an increase in overseas cooperation and the number of translated works also hints at continued globalization of the Chinese publishing industry.

At a signing ceremony during BIBF, New World Press, Chinese publisher of the book Keywords to Understand China, sealed a deal that will see the work translated into eight additional languages. With nine language versions already out there, the book is sure to help even more foreign readers understand China.

Famous guests

With this year marking the 10th anniversary of the central government's initiative to promote reading nationwide, the 2016 BIBF has decided to celebrate by arranging more cultural salons this year that will give readers opportunities to meet and interact with literary celebrities from around the world.

More than 30 overseas celebrities including writers, translators and illustrators from more than 10 countries and regions will attend the fair this year.

One of the biggest names being 2015 Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, who is introducing the Chinese version of her latest book Secondhand Time (see page 19).

Famous Chinese writers such as Yu Hua, Cao Wenxuan, Su Tong, Liu Zhenyun are also scheduled to appear at salons.

Newspaper headline: Industry foreshadowing

Posted in: Books

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