Publishing focuses on Chinese market for BIBF

skills for publishing

The Chinese book market continues to generate much interest amongst IPR members and with the Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) only weeks away these conversation are inevitably becoming more and more frequent.

Even with economic changes, it remains a huge marketplace and continues to court attention from a raft of international publishers. While the publishing industry has become stagnant in established western markets such as the US, UK and Germany, according to data collected by industry consultant Ruediger Wischenbart, the Chinese market grew 9 per cent in 2013 year-on-year. With more than 444,000 titles in 2013, publishing become a $12.4bn industry in China which, according to the China Publisher’s Yearbook, was the largest in the world after the US.

It was also interesting to read in a recent article on the FT website ‘Chinese publishers seek global expansion’ that whilst the Chinese government appears keen to export Chinese works the industry was still reported to be one of the country’s most tightly regulated industries. This is underlined by the fact that although a number of quasi-private publishers calling themselves “cultural agencies” have launched in recent years, all of the 582 official publishers are state-run, with private publishers officially banned.

Inevitably, dealing in this kind of business environment creates its own set of challenges and highlights the need for not only specialist help and support but also for a strong level of patience. The sheer size and potential of the marketplace can also result in a lack of focus. Such is the obsession with generating business within China, that some international publishers could be missing a trick in trying to focus too much on breaking into the country, rather than utilising the vast amount resources within its borders.

Aided by a push by the government for increased publication of Chinese content globally, Chinese publishers are constantly looking for new routes to have their works translated into different languages overseas. From conversations I’ve had, many are aware of the challenges in building up this area of their business but also of the huge potential that exists. And this is where IPR’s fully transactional rights and licensing platform TradeRights can help as it allows international publishing houses of all sizes to search, offer, negotiate and complete on subsidiary rights business 24/7, 365 days a year.

Of course such a platform doesn’t mean the end for book fairs. As the largest publishing event in the Asian market BIBF provides a great opportunity to network and meet face-to-face with a range of publishers, exchange ideas and develop exciting new partnerships. After all there’s no better way to learn about a market than being in the centre of it, meaning it will remain an important date in the diary for years to come and continue to form an important component in the global rights and licensing picture.

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