Chinese, Filipino Publishers Seek International Audiences For Their Authors At Frankfurt

In News by Jaroslaw Adamowski

Back in full force in Frankfurt, Chinese and Filipino publishers showcase their top titles to rights buyers during  the 75th Buchmesse.

Wu Shanshan, supervisor of the International Cooperation Department of China’s Zhejiang Publishing United Group. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Jaroslaw Adamowski

By Jarosław Adamowksi | @JaroslawAdamows

Social Media ‘Stealing Some of the Attention’
Chinese and Filipino market representatives and observers point to the rising popularity in their respective countries of education, children’s books, and young adult interests, which include graphic novels and comics.

Zhejiang Publishing United Group is one of the Chinese publishing industry players exhibiting at this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse, bringing a portfolio of about 200 books to the trade show.

Wu Shanshan, supervisor of the group’s international cooperation department, told Publishing Perspectives, “We have eight publishing units, as well as printing and distribution subsidiaries, among others, which contribute to our activities as a comprehensive publishing group.”

The state-owned conglomerate is based in Zhejiang, a coastal province on the East Chinese Sea, and its book catalogue provides the group with strong sales and numerous top spots on the country’s bestsellers lists, she said.

“TikTok and other online forms of entertainment are stealing some of the attention that young people in China pay to books.”Wu Shanshan

“We publish works by Mo Yan,” the Nobel Prize-winning novelist. she said. “Our portfolio covers many genres: social sciences, literature, children’s books, arts, and photography, as well as academic works. We publish both foreign and Chinese authors,” according to the publisher’s representative.

Zhejiang Publishing United Group posts annual revenues in the range of 14 billion yuan (US$1.9 billion) which are generated by book publishing, but also distribution, printing, and other activities, Wu said.

Asked about some of the genres that have become increasingly popular among China’s readers over the past years, she named children’s and young adult books, and education books as some of the most promising market categories.

“TikTok and other online forms of entertainment are stealing some of the attention that young people in China pay to books, but we are also observing solid sales results in the children’s books and young adult books segment. We also turn many such books into audiobooks which are very popular among young readers,” the supervisor said.

The Filipino Book Industry Gears Up for Frankfurt 2025

Maria Carolina Tapia, the industry development officer of the National Book Development Board of the Philippines. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Jaroslaw Adamowski

With the Philippines scheduled to be guest of honor at the 2025 Frankfurter Buchmesse, the country’s National Book Development Board hopes to use the remaining time to ensure that the country’s literary works are translated and promoted in an increasing number of foreign markets.

“Filipino graphic novels and comic books have become very popular among our young readers, but they are also gaining traction abroad.

Maria Carolina Tapia, the industry development officer at the state-run Book Development Board, told Publishing Perspectives that while laying the groundwork for the market’s presence during the 2025 edition, the Philippines is presenting works from four genres this year at the trade show: fiction; nonfiction; children’s books young adult books; graphic novels and comics.

“We’ve curated a selection of books we want to show to an international audience in Frankfurt. Filipino graphic novels and comic books have become very popular among our young readers, but they are also gaining traction abroad. A very popular series from this genre, “Trese,” was picked up by Netflix,” she said.

“In terms of market segments, the education books segment is the biggest in the Philippines, and this includes children’s books that are part of the school curriculum.”

Tapia said that, since the pandemic, book reading in the Philippines has been on the rise, with the latest available data collected by the government showing that one person in every household reads books other than textbooks.

“We want to promote our rich literary life abroad, including in Frankfurt in 2025,” she said. “Our agency has developed various programs to encourage foreign publishing and translations of Filipino books. Grants of between US$1,000 and US$5,000 are available to applicants.

“We want to put emphasis on translations of Filipino works into German, and we believe these grants will become very useful now that we’re preparing to be the book fair’s guest of honor in two years.”

More on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on international trade shows and book fairs is here,  more on guest of honor programs in international publishing’s events is here, more on the Philippines is here, and more on book markets in Asia is here.

Now available here for your free download, our 2023 Publishing Perspectives Frankfurt Book Fair magazine

Our 75th Frankfurt coverage from our Frankfurt Book Fair Magazine, which has been available throughout the trade show in print, is also available for your free download.

The magazine has more interviews with fellows and grant-program recipients from international publishing markets, as well as previews of programming from our Publishing Perspectives Forum at Frankfurt including our Executive Talks with Penguin Random House worldwide CEO Nihar Malaviya and Nanmeebooks’ Kim Chongsatitwana; highlights of key events at the 75th Frankfurter Buchmesse; and coverage of Frankfurt’s upcoming guest of honor programs (Italy, the Philippines, the Czech Republic) and this year’s Guest of Honor Slovenia.

There’s also news of literary agents and agencies; award-winning books from guest of honor markets; focus articles on artificial intelligence, sustainability; and a forthcoming effort to get more Korean literature into world markets; as well as 75th-anniversary “Frankfurt Moments.”

About the Author

Jaroslaw Adamowski

Jaroslaw Adamowski is a freelance writer based in Warsaw, Poland. He has written for the Guardian, the Independent, the Jerusalem Post, and the Prague Post.