E-book deals signed for Chinese fairy tales

Updated: 2013-03-26 10:32

By Caroline Berg in New York (China Daily)

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Any child with access to the Internet will soon be able to download a slew of popular Chinese fairy tales and cartoons translated into English.

Trajectory, Inc, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based digital publishing, distribution and technology developer, signed deals this week at the Bologna Children's Book Fair with The People's Education Press Ltd and Xiamen Bluebird Cartoon Co to develop two popular Chinese children's series in e-book formats.

"We want to find the stories that reflect a culture's fables and reflect the values of that particular culture to promote greater understanding across cultures for children all over the world," said Jim Bryant, Trajectory CEO, about the company's overall mission.

Trajectory will help the government-run PEP convert the Chinese company's award-winning Close to the Great Society Series' into a set of seven e-books of 19 Chinese fairy tales, which will be translated into English, French and Spanish. Simplified and traditional Chinese versions will also be produced.

The popular fairy tale series focuses on children's development through a world of animal characters with individual personalities from simple and honest to clever and cunning. Accompanied by vivid pictures to capture children's interests, the stories convey elements of China's multifaceted contemporary culture.

Trajectory met PEP last year during the company's first participation in the Beijing International Book Fair. Although Trajectory has worked with Chinese companies for more than 20 years, its work has solely been focused on distributing Western stories among Chinese audiences.

"We have found a genuine interest in China's publishing community to export titles," Bryant said.

In its partnership with Xiamen Bluebird Cartoon Co, Trajectory will help develop more than 50 e-books based on Xingxing Fox, a popular Chinese animated TV series about a brave, quick-witted fox that lives in a magical forest.

The Xingxing Fox series will initially be available in English only. Bryant said Trajectory has the capability to translate stories into any language the publisher wants its works distributed.

The US digital publisher also plans to release the One World Kids App to offer all of its titles and content to children around the world. The app is free to download from the Apple App store and allows consumers to make in-app purchases priced from 99 cents to $3.99.

Trajectory is funding these projects and has a team in Shanghai to manage negotiations and establish relationships with Chinese publishers.

"I'm not aware of anyone else pursuing this opportunity," Bryant said. "Historically speaking, it was a complicated process to 'export' works from China where the government had to approve each title and the foreign publisher would have to license the work."

The Chinese government is actively encouraging domestic publishers to distribute their works abroad, as selling books is a part of a larger effort to spread Chinese culture internationally.

Through digital technology, Bryant said Chinese publishers could easily export their entire catalogues of books to a global marketplace.

Although numbers among trade publishers reveal interest from the children's e-book market remains low at about 5 percent, Bryant said the use of mobile devices by children is a growing trend.