Since the London Book Fair welcomed China as its Market Focus country in 2012, we have continued to build our relationship with international publishers eeking to do business with China, and with Chinese
publishers looking to extend their international reach.
Indeed Chinese publishers’ involvement in LBF has grown
enormously in terms of rights sales, profile, and events.
Although language is still one major challenge facing the outbound growth of China’s publishing industry, the LBF team
has worked extensively with Chinese publishers such as the
China Publishing Group to help them overcome challenges by
providing a platform to showcase their titles to international
publishers. At this year’s LBF, 2,000 anthologies showcasing
top Chinese writers in English translation were distributed.
This year, LBF is increasing our joint education initiatives
with key publishing groups like CPG and also with key Chi-
nese publishing events like the Beijing International Book
Fair. LBF has also started a monthly
e-newsletter in Chinese to all the pub-
lishers in China, and an official
It was fantastic to see five Chinese
companies shortlisted for the indepen-
dently judged LBF International
Excellence Awards 2015 in April. We
are delighted to be able to showcase
the best that is going on within Chi-
nese publishing at the moment, from
translation to adult publishing to pio-
neering technology, to an international audience. On the sub-
ject of translation, we were really pleased to collaborate with
China Translation & Publishing Corp. (CTPC), a subsidiary of
CPG that provided simultaneous translations for our confer-
ences at LBF 2015.
In November 2014, LBF cohosted a transmedia forum at
the China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair, bringing in leading international experts from Walker Books and
Penguin Random House, alongside key Chinese publishers.
We found many Chinese children’s publishers who are pioneering new ways to get book content to children—on the
cutting edge across all media they work with.
With the LBF having launched its first Creative Industries
—Jacks Thomas, director of the
Day in April, we are looking forward to collaborating with
On a personal note, I find working with our Chinese pub-
lishing colleagues—particularly CPG—fascinating, reward-
ing, and fun. We wish all the Chinese publishers taking part
in BEA the best of luck.
London Book Fair
To understand China’s perspec- tive in publishing, it is helpful to take a closer look at some of its leading companies. From
the outside, it might not be easy to
grasp how many houses and initia-
tives are gathered under one roof, as
the country has approximately 580 publishing conglomerates.
Take China Publishing Group: from an international point
of view, it comes up as one of the leading actors in the “going
out” strategy, as a partner to many leading international publishers.
With its China National Publications Import & Export
Corp. (CNPIEC), CPG is also the most important gateway for
houses that want to bring their books to the attention of Chinese readers and researchers. In return, many Chinese books
exported overseas are, at first, handled through partnership
programs between CPG and international distributors such as
Baker & Taylor, Gardners, Ingram, and OverDrive. And now
this exchange has been extended to digital as well, with the
CNP eReading platform.
Only a few observers, however, know that the Beijing
International Book Fair, which has become a fixture on the
international calendar of book business events, is also a part of
In terms of publishing, I am always amazed by the amount
of diversity and experience gathered under the CPG umbrella.
For instance, you find Commercial Press, originally from
Shanghai, which goes back over 100 years. The People’s Literature Publishing House, meanwhile, as the name hints, was
created together with the New China of 1949. At book fairs
in London, Frankfurt, and New York, rights directors and
acquiring editors may have no idea that the Chinese publishers they are buying from and selling to are working within
such a wide context.
They would probably be even more surprised to learn that
the automated translation engine used by several of the largest Chinese Internet platforms, including Alibaba and Baidu,
comes from one of the most innovative divisions of CPG.
But in today’s world of immensely complex actors in publishing, driven by globalization, digitalization, and strong
forces of consolidation, it will be key for Chinese publishing
groups to present themselves as just as versatile partners as
their international counterparts.
—Ruediger Wischenbart, a consultant
and writer specializing in the publishing