By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2
‘Ideally Placed’The Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair (CCBF) is the only fair in the Asia-Pacific region devoted exclusively to children’s literature, and the only such event approved by China’s State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
The event has announced ambitious plans for this year’s edition.
Set for November 18 through 20 at the Shanghai World Expo Center, the fair is expected to host to more than 300 exhibitors and 30,000 visitors from more than 30 countries, offering what is being called by organizers “an ambitious visitor experience” with “industry opportunities including awards, networking and showcase events.”
Fair organizers promise to provide a “one-stop shop” for publishers, agents and illustrators wanting to explore China’s children’s publishing industry, including educational elements, “edutainment” products, picture books and digital.
Now in their third year, organizers say they expect major names from the UK, US, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region to be represented among exhibitors, along with a strong lineup of Chinese publishers. And 2016 promises to see an increased emphasis on attracting cross-platform publishers and media companies.
Again this year, according to a statement released to the media, two major international prizes will be given in association with the Fair.
- The Chen Bochui International Children’s Literature Awards, seen by many as the most prestigious children’s publishing prize in China, is accepting entries from international publishers of illustrated books before a deadline of September 20. An international jury will judge the entries, and the winners will be announced on November 17.
- The Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators, which made its debut last year, will culminate in a showcase of the finalists’ work at the Fair.
Other initiatives include the popular Shanghai VIP program – Visiting International Publishers, a series of educational visits and meetings designed to give international publishing professionals an inside look at the market in China. Applications are now being accepted from publishers, editors, academics, and those with a professional interest in children’s publishing before a closing date of June 20. The program runs from November 14 to 19.
New this year: a change to the layout designed to create three distinct areas for exhibitors, each with a different focus: rights, retail, and general interest.
In a prepared statement, CCBF Director Randy Wang notes that the fair is now seen as a highlight of Shanghai’s commercial and cultural calendar: “Shanghai has always had a reputation as the vibrant international commercial and cultural hub of China, we are very much part of that scene,” Wang says. “Our home in Shanghai means that we are ideally placed to attract publishers from all over the world.”
Some facts provided by the CCBF administration about children’s publishing in China:
- In 2015, Dangdang sold 150 million children’s books totaling 2.76 billion RMB. Dangdang is now the biggest retailer of children’s books in China.
- Top-selling English language books are established titles with a long running series such as The Magic School Bus series.
- Picture books with 3D pages and titles with associated digital content such as the Songbirds Phonics are also in great demand by China’s young readers.
- Illustrated books such as the Atlas (262,000 copies) and Under Earth, Under Water, are among the top five bestsellers (2015).
- Science and ‘edutainment’ books are popular amongst China’s parents and young readers. Eleven of the top 20 bestsellers in 2015 are this category, including Play with Science!, My Scientific Laboratory and Horrible Science.