Beijing’s 2024 Book Fair Closes, Some 300,000 Attending

In News by Porter Anderson

The Beijing International Book Fair reports finishing its 2024 run with a gain in public attendance and some 1,600 exhibitors.

At the 2024 Beijing International Book Fair this month. Image: BIBF, Singing Grass

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

See also:
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IPA’s Pansa: ‘A Vital Responsibility’
Having moved past its heaviest pandemic restrictions later than many other markets, China’s Beijing International Book Fair saw its first physical staging of its show last year, and on Sunday (June 23) closed its 2024 edition with a gain of almost 100,000 attendees more than were counted last year.

During its five-day run which closed on Sunday (June 23), this public-facing fair’s administration says it saw almost 300,000 visitors, as compared to 200,000 in 2023.

By contrast, it’s worth noting that the program reported having more than 2,500 exhibitors last year in what was a four-day run, and as many as 700 fewer this year, its number being some 1,600. The show’s post-event media messaging reiterates the 1,600 figure, and Saudi Arabia was this year’s guest of honor market.

Nevertheless, the program continues to report 1,050 of its current-year exhibitors being international, representing 71 markets. This group of offshore exhibitors, organizers say, was up by 150 exhibitors last year, the fair interpreting this as signaling a return to the show by non-Chinese interests. Other numbers, such as the 15 countries engaged for the first time, remain as reported in our preview stories here and here.

Rights Deals Reported by Organizers

At the 2024 Beijing International Book Fair this month. Image: BIBF, Singing Grass

This is one of the fairs that traditionally likes to announce deals made among rights traders in attendance, although few such agreements are actually announced in normal fair settings by rights professionals, not least because many such deals are not consummated during a fair, but are parts of conversations in the important one-on-one meetings held at these shows.

Poster art for the 2024 Netflix adaptation of Liu Cixin’s ‘Three-Body Problem’

Here is a list of deals offered today (June 24) by the Beijing team, and we are quoting the material handed to us since it’s impossible to provide independent verification. We note that most of these agreements are for reference works in the academic and scholarly sectors.

  • “CNPIEC Digital Technology (which organizes the Beijing fair) and Princeton University Press signed a strategic cooperation agreement on ‘new retail,’ marking the beginning of a close collaboration to jointly develop the ‘new retail’ market for original academic books in China.
  • “Phoenix Publishing and Media signed co-publishing agreements with Springer Nature Group to publish the English editions of the national culture parks series as major reference works.
  • “Huazhong University of Science and Technology Press and Springer Nature held an international cooperation signing for a ‘medical robotics technology series.’
  • “Jilin Science and Technology Publishing House signed Portuguese copyright deals for The Magnificent Changbai Mountains with Grupo Editorial in Brazil
  • China Renmin University Press (CRUP) and Taylor & Francis Group signed an agreement for the English-language rights to The Study of the Modernization of China’s Financial Supervision: An Analysis from the Perspective of Globalization: The Rise of the Theoretical Discipline of Modern Chinese Literature; and Guo Xiang’s Notes on Zhuangzi and The Aesthetic Trend of the Wei and Jin Dynasties
  • Yilin Press, an imprint of Phoenix Publishing and Media, announced a deal to publish the first graphic-novel edition of “Remembrance of Earth’s Past,” the series normally referred to by its first novel’s title, The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin, which in the past year has been given multiple adaptations and treatments, including the David Benioff series for Netflix; that series has been green-lighted for a second and third season.
  • Jiangsu Phoenix Fine Art Press signed a deal with Al Bousalah Publishing and Distribution FZE (UAE) to publish The Dao of Chinese Calligraphy in an Arabic edition.
Lin: ‘Bidding Goodbye to the End of the Pandemic’

At the 2024 Beijing International Book Fair this month. Image: BIBF, Singing Grass

Not least because China experienced late-pandemic flare-ups of the coronavirus COVID-19, the Beijing show is at a stage that some other markets’ key fairs will have reached somewhat earlier, and this is something you hear in the comments of the president of CNPIEC Digital Technology, which organizes the Beijing International Book Fair.

Lin Liying

Lin Liying is quoted, saying, “It’s exciting to see a big comeback of international professional exhibitors and visitors to BIBF this year. In addition to the busy professional programs, we are delighted to be the platform for international cultural exchange with a series of themed exhibitions and forums, such as the BIBF Art Book Fair and the BIBF International Illustration Forum.

“Hosting BIBF in June at our new venue is our way of bidding goodbye to the end of the pandemic while signaling the start of a new chapter for the fair.

“The pandemic has brought many challenges to the publishing industry. But with challenges come opportunities. One thing is for certain: change is the status quo, and we need to see both sides and look forward to the possibilities. BIBF is forging ahead with hope and embracing the changes.”

Karine Pansa

Speaking at the event this year was Karine Pansa, president of the International Publishers Association (IPA) and a children’s book publisher, herself, is quoted, saying, “Children’s book publishers have a vital responsibility to create books that children return to, fostering lifelong reading habits.

“Despite the rise of digital entertainment, it’s crucial to develop initiatives that encourage reading for pleasure, ensuring that children become the critical and analytical readers of the future.”

Jiang Yanping

And Jiang Yanping, president of Beijing OpenBook—with which Publishing Perspectives provides its monthly China Bestsellers reports—reported that while the children’s book retail market has declined year-on-year, it still holds the largest market share in Chinese trade publishing. The sector holds a retail value share of 26.98 percent, she said.

This was followed, per OpenBook’s research, by educational supplementary books and literature, with retail value shares of 20.77 percent and 11.71 percent, respectively.

Educational supplementary books saw the largest increase, Jiang reported, with an increase of 2.27 percent.

Awards Notes

At the 2024 Beijing International Book Fair this month. Image: BIBF, Singing Grass

The 17th edition of the Special Book Award of China since 2005 is reported to have honored 203 translators, publishers, and writers from 63 countries, a program organized by the National Press and Publication Administration.

This year’s recognitions went to:

  • Translators Abdel Aziz Hamdy Abdelaziz Ahmed Elnaggar (Egypt); Karin Betz (Germany); Ragnar Baldursson (Iceland); Silvia Pozzi (Italy); Sookyung Oh (South Korea); Olga Migunova (Russia)
  • Publishers Petrit Ymeri (Albania); Sonia Jeanne Bressler (France); Magaki Uchiyama (Japan); Dejan PapiC´(Serbia)
  • Writers José Luis Centella Gomez (Spain); Pierre Picquart (France); Karl-Heinz Pohl (Germany); Roger Thomas Ames (USA); Stephen Owen (USA)

The show’s illustrators’ exhibition drew some 12,000 entries from 46 markets, and 120 works were chosen for display at the show.

The winners announced are: Amanda Itzel Mijangos Quiles (Mexico); Margaux Romano (Italy); Jean Mallard (France); Anne Crausaz (Switzerland); Gaby Bazin (France); and Mattia Riami (Italy).

At the Guest of Honor Saudi Arabian pavilion during the 2024 Beijing International Book Fair. Image: BIBF, Singing Grass

More from Publishing Perspectives about the Beijing International Book Fair is here, more on the Chinese book and publishing market is here, our popular China Bestsellers research is here, more on the international rights business is here, and more from us on Asia 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.