China's copyright trading booms

Updated: 2013-09-04 13:54


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BEIJING -- For Liu Bogen, vice president of China Publishing Group Corp, the just-concluded 20th Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) was a positive signal for the nation's copyright trading.

For the past 17 years, Liu has courted publishers, book dealers and the press to promote Chinese books. But this time around he and his colleagues were frequently wooed by a swarm of reporters, book traders and readers at the fair, especially after Chinese writer Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for Literature on Oct 11.

Liu, also deputy president of the BIBF committee, said this fair has attracted 8 percent more foreign book publishers than it did last year, and a total of 2,276 booths were set for more than 2,000 participants from 76 countries and regions.

China's copyright trading booms
Mo Yan (L), winner of Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012, autograghs on a book while surrounded by crowds during the 20th Beijing International Book Fair in Beijing, capital of China, Aug 31, 2013. Over 2,000 publishers from 76 countries and regions took part in the fair. [Zou Hong / Asianewsphoto]

The BIBF, initiated in 1986, and held from Aug 28 to Sept 1 this year, has evolved into an important showcase for China's cultural appeal and connections to the world in copyright trade, book trade and cultural activities, according to Liu.

He said this year's fair saw the inking of 3,667 copyright deals, 11 percent more than last year. The 2013 deals included 2,091 cases of export and partnership contracts, and the ratio of volumes exported and imported stood at 1:1.33.

"China has witnessed booming copyright trading in recent years, which indicates that China's publication industry has been gradually integrating into the world," Liu added.

Statistics from China's General Administration of Press and Publication supported his view, showing that the country exported 7,831 categories of publications in 2012, a 13-percent increase year on year, while importing 17,193 categories, a 6-percent increase year on year.

Drawn by the robust copyright trade in China, international publishers have shown great interest in the fair.

Jinwen Gim, chief of the Republic of Korea's (ROK) culture association, said a total of 39 publishers from the ROK have gathered at the fair.

"China's economy is the hottest topic for publishing houses in my country, because its economic development has now become a global issue," he said, adding that South Korean readers have become very interested in Chinese literature since Mo Yan's honor.

Furthermore, Chinese publishing enterprises have taken an active role in entering the world stage.

For example, according to Liu Zhong, director of the international cooperation department of China Publishing Group Corp, more than 360,000 copies of "Confucius from the Heart" by Yu Dan have been issued overseas in eight languages, with its French edition ranking among that country's top 10 bestsellers for 25 weeks.

According to a chart released on June 24 by industry magazine The Bookseller, two Chinese players -- China Publishing Group Corp and Phoenix Publishing & Media Group -- have been listed for the first time among the top 50 such groups worldwide.

Despite the blossoming of China's copyright trade, some industry insiders have warned of the gap between Chinese publishers and world's leading publishing firms.

"We should put much more effort into keeping up with them," said industry insider Huang Hongjie, adding that the nation lacks books with unique characteristics, blunting its appeal in the international book market.

"Copyright trade is not the ultimate goal," Huang said. "The vital point is to drive up the whole culture industry in order to better serve the nation's development."