Update From the Beijing International Book Fair’s Professional Programs

In News by Porter Anderson

Lectures, seminars, networking, and training are featured in this week’s professional program at Beijing International Book Fair.

The ‘First Step Into Chinese Publishing’ program at Beijing International Book Fair 2018 included a visit to the 24-hour Page One bookstore. Image: BIBF, Penny Clifton, Singing Grass

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Introduction to a Vast Market
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the Beijing International Book Fair runs this week through Sunday (August 26) and has opened with several elements of its professional program focused on specific areas.

For example, first-time exhibitors and other international trade book professionals have taken part in a two-day training program called “First Step Into Chinese Publishing” program organized by the fair to run on Monday and Tuesday (August 20 and 21).

The first day’s agenda included visits to three of the country’s leading publishing houses, along with briefings on the Chinese market, and a visit to the 24-hour Page One bookshop located in central Beijing.

Participants in that program included trade fairgoers from Australia, Singapore, the UK, and the United States, and included in the group were four masters students from the New York University publishing program.

Children’s Publishing Forum

At the Beijing International Book Fair’s 2018 Children’s Publishing Forum. Image: BIBF, Penny Clifton, Singing Grass

In another such program, the 2018 Children’s Publishing Forum on Tuesday (August 21) featured an overview of the development of the children’s book sector in China’s marketplace, with an emphasis on licensing opportunities developing in cases of picture books that prompted the development and sales of games, puzzles, clothing lines, and branded foods.

This one-day program, like the “First Step” program, has included site visits, seminars, and a conference sequence, often emphasizing a durable demand for high-quality picture books and other products for early-years readers.

Tyrrell Mahoney

Chronicle Books’ Tyrrell Mahoney spoke about the challenges of creating a global bestseller, while Dong Yuan from the Dargaud Group talked about the adaptation of the French children’s book Petit Poilu to animation.

Erika Bradfield from Insight Editions talked about licensed publishing, citing the Chinese launch of the Harry Potter books, including a pop-up guide to Hogwarts and the growing popularity of collectibles in China.

A word of caution came from Ameet Publishing’s Eric Huang, who told the audience that in the West, the biggest competition is now coming from non-traditional publishers such as Apple and Disney.

Other specialty programs for professionals during BIBF’s fair week have included a One Belt, One Road matchmaking session for publishers; a digital publishing forum set for today (August 23) and Friday (August 24); a rights managers’ salon on Wednesday (August 22).

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Beijing International Book Fair is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.