More Chinese books in West soon

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, October 20, 2009
Adjust font size:

Even as the Chinese publishing industry tries to expand into the world market, international publishers are also trying to enter China.

A number of the world's biggest publishers have established offices in China in recent years, such as Penguin, Springer and Cambridge.

Chinese and foreign publishers are also beginning to establish joint ventures. For example, the Phoenix Publishing and Media Group, China's biggest publishing conglomerate in terms of assets value and annual sales, and Hachette Livre, France's largest publisher, announced their joint venture, after three years of negotiations, at the recently concluded Frankfurt Book Fair.

"We take an interest in partnerships that can help us understand markets that are vastly different from the ones we operate in," says Arnaud Nourry, chairman and chief executive officer of Hachette Livre. "That is the case of China. It is a huge market with a growing middle class hungry for knowledge and entertainment. It is a market far too important to ignore but impossible to approach on our own."

The Phoenix Hachette Beijing Company will have priority over other Chinese companies in acquiring copyrights of books from Hachette Livre, and will export Phoenix's books to the world through Hachette Livre's international channels. The company will also provide world-class training to Chinese publishing professionals.

Penguin has released a number of Chinese novels that have become popular internationally, such as Wolf Totem, which has so far been sold in more than 20 languages around the world. But general manager of the Penguin Group China, Jo Lusby, says it is still very difficult to make a success of Chinese books in the West.

The main challenges, she says, are ensuring good translations and the work involved in taking Chinese authors half way around the world for promotions and to build their reputations in foreign markets, where most people are not familiar with Chinese culture and do not even know how to pronounce a name that starts with an "X."

Penguin China now plans to establish Chinese authors first in the Asia-Pacific region, with a similar culture, before taking them to European and US markets, Lusby says. To overcome problems associated with translations, Penguin has initiated a Chinese-English Literature Translation Program in partnership with the Arts Council England and the General Administration of Press and Publication of China, to help foster high-quality translations.

"The globalization of the economy has brought Chinese and foreign publishers together," says Huang Youyi, editor-in-chief and vice-president of the China International Publishing Group (CIPG). "The impact of China's performance as Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair will further encourage the Chinese publishing industry to go international."

PrintE-mail Bookmark and Share


No comments.

Add your comments...

  • Your Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
Send your storiesGet more from