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Publisher Sara Bershtel of Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, talked with China.org.cn about how to successfully publish and sell books on China to the American market during her visit to China International Publishing Group (CIPG) in Beijing on September 7.
Bershtel says that China is now of tremendous interest to Americans because of its growing global economic and political power. US newspapers like The New York Times feature China-related stories on their front pages every day. The internet features numerous American blogs devoted to translating Chinese media and publications into English and there has also been an upsurge in the number of books published about China.
Though American readers are eager to read books from and about China and many Chinese publishers are participating in international events such as the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Beijing International Book Fair, Bershtel says that there is still a gap in communication. Further mutual understanding is needed for China to successfully publish books internationally.
To bridge this gap, Bershtel suggests Chinese publishers strengthen their ties with international publishers, who are keen to know more about what kinds of books Chinese publishers are producing and what interesting research and writing is being done in China on a number of topics, including the environment, history, culture, to name just a few. One effective way is for both sides to increase their contacts and conversations, either over the Internet or through person-to-person meetings. Chinese publishers can also learn from their German and French counterparts who have opened bureaus in America and regularly publicize information on a select number of books they think will interest American readers. Displays such as those at Frankfurt in which publishers bring hundreds of books at a time are just too difficult for international publishers to focus on. It's much more effective to identify the specific books that are most suitable for international markets.