By Edward Nawotka
The keynote speech of the Beijing International Publishing Forum (discussed in our lead article) was delivered by Wu Shulin, vice-minister for the General Administration for Press and Publications (GAPP).
He cited numerous figures — as documented by Emma House, the UK Publishing Association’s International Director — which give a picture of the current state of Chinese publishing. House writes on The Bookseller blog, “Statistics in China show that in 2008 exports dropped by over one fifth, and a decline was seen in both the number of publishers and printing houses. On a positive note, however, Minister Wu noted that in 2008, 270,000 titles were published with a total of 7bn copies worth RMB 79.1bn, up 11.03%, 10.21% and 16.95% respectively over the previous year.”
She continues, “Digital publishing also performed strongly in 2008 with an operating income of RMB53bn, up 46.42% from 2007. 90% of China’s publishers are now engaged in e-publishing and 2008 saw 500,000 e-book titles published, with distribution exceeding 30m copies.”
House adds that the vice-minister also remarked that “A key aim of GAPP is “to have six or seven large publishing and media houses which are known both at home and abroad, with brand value, propriety assets and annual sales exceeding RMB 10bn respectively”. To this end, we’ve been told China Publishing Group, the country’s largest conglomerate, is preparing to have an initial public offering on the stock market in the near future.
In June, I had the opportunity to be part of a group interview of Wu Shulin. Here he is addressing the question of whether books are censored in China (check our YouTube page throughout the day where additional videos from the BIBF will be uploaded):
And, for the curious, here is the second set of images from our Flickr photostream of this year’s BIBF. Looks busy…[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157622229724528″]