I traveled to Beijing earlier this month as part of a delegation of publishers attending a publishers’ forum held alongside Australian Writers Week. The trip was made possible by the Australian Embassy in Beijing, the Copyright Agency and Chinese publishing conglomerate Anhui Time Publishing Group.
Meeting so many Chinese publishers made us feel even smaller than we normally do – with 1.3 billion customers, China’s publishers have good prospects for growth! From what I saw, there’s a strong emphasis on educational content in Chinese kids books, even in those books bought ostensibly for children’s entertainment by parents. Self improvement appears to be the dominant theme in adult nonfiction too. Their book prices are only about 10-15% of ours in the bookshops, so they have to sell a few more copies to make the same money (which they seem to do, and then some). I was also impressed by their success with multimedia and digital publishing, which is huge there.
We had some good meetings with local publishers and hope some of our books might one day appear on Chinese bookshelves. I’ve picked up a couple of interesting Chinese picture books too, so hopefully we can introduce some Chinese authors and illustrators to readers in our market too. Our sincere thanks to everyone who helped make the trip possible, especially Nikki Anderson.