Is China a Genuine Opportunity for Western Publishers?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s lead story previews the Beijing International Book Fair, which opens Monday. In particular, we focus on the booming digital segment of this already $150bn book market.

Over the past decade, Western publishers have been tentatively courting the Chinese market. Textbook collaborations are numerous, as are publications in the scientific, technical and medical fields. Trade publishers are less in evidence, but we are starting to see an increasing interest in translation. Opinions vary, but some Western publishers look at China and see a huge growth opportunity — particularly among young Chinese eager to learn English. Others see a country surrounded by a cultural and linguistic wall that ultimately prevents outsiders from making much progress into the tightly regulated Chinese publishing sphere. What do you think? Is China a genuine opportunity for Western publishers or are the obstacles too imposing for publishers to make any real progress, particularly when they have so much in their own countries to worry about (the economy, the digital transition).

Tell us what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.