Beijing International Book Fair: A Four-Day Run This Week

In News by Porter Anderson

Running four days starting June 15, the 29th Beijing International Book Fair is to be staged at the National Convention Center.

At a previous edition of the Beijing International Book Fair. Image: BIBF

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

‘Innovation and AI’ in Programming
True to the short-lead timing that seems to be preferred by the Beijing International Book Fair, the program has told members of the media officially over the weekend that it will open its four-day 2023 iteration on Thursday (June 15) to run through Monday (June 18). You may recall that the company last August (2022) notified the press that it was delaying its show from August to November, that alert arriving just two days before the show was to have opened on August 24. This time, the announcements have arrived four days ahead.

Certainly, it’s good news that the late bouts of soaring COVID-19 cases last year in China have eased, but as the Associated Press is reporting overnight (June 12), the Chinese economy is still awaiting the post-coronavirus recovery it needs.

As the AP’s report puts it, “The end of restrictions that isolated cities for weeks at a time and blocked most international travel prompted hopes for a consumer boom. But retail sales are weak. Shoppers are uneasy about the economic outlook and possible job losses and are reluctant to commit to big purchases.”

Hopefully, the fact that books are relatively small purchases will mean that the fast-approaching public-facing Beijing fair will see good footfall and book sales for its exhibitor-publishers.

Some of the features being put into place to attract attendees are a picture book exhibition; an art book fair; a cookbook exhibition; the Ananas International Illustration Exhibition; and something called “Gifts From the World.” Internet publishing companies expected to be at the show this year include NetEase Games; Tencent Games; China Literature; and Bilibili.

Lin: ‘We Look Forward to Seeing Busy Halls’

A children’s area in a previous edition of the Beijing International Book Fair. Image: BIBF

The information provided to us today is brief but points to an “PubTech Conference” on Thursday themed, perhaps on the fly, as addressing “innovation and AI in publishing.” Presented by China National Publications Import and Export Group, the event features speakers including:

  • Michael Bhaskar, who co-founded the digital publishing firm Canelo in London and is the author with Mustafa Suleyman of the forthcoming The Coming Wave: Technology, Power, and the 21st Century’s Greatest Dilemma from Penguin UK’s Bodley Head
  • Mr Du Xian of People’s Medical Publishing House
  • Niels Peter Thomas of Springer Nature’s book division
  • Xu Lifang of Wuhan University Digital Publishing Institute
  • Guido Herrmann of Wiley
  • Henning Schoenberger of Springer Nature

On Friday, a forum program is expected to have as many as 100 publishers and academics in attendance from more than 20 countries. Among the speakers at that one:

  • Youngsuk “YS” Chi of Elsevier
  • Jeremy North of Taylor & Francis
  • Brigitta Charlotte van Rheinberg of Princeton University Press
  • Ben Ashcroft, De Gruyter

In a prepared comment, the show’s director Liying Lin, president of the China National Publications Import and Export Group, says, “We are excited to be in our new home at the China National Convention Center. It will be great to be right in the center of Beijing.

“Of course, it’s a crucial time for publishing with the industry adapting to innovation and AI and our conferences and fair events will hear from experts across the world about what this means for the industry. We look forward to seeing busy halls for the 29th BIBF and the opportunity for lots of business to be done.”

At a previous edition of the Beijing International Book Fair. Image: BIBF

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Beijing International Book Fair is here. Our China Bestsellers series of reports is here. And more from us on China and its market in general is hereMore from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic–which has influenced the Beijing fair’s scheduling and staging as recently as November–is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson 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 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.