Chinese publishers adapting to American markets

Updated: 2014-06-02 13:45

By Elizabeth Wu(China Daily USA)

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Chinese publishers, similar to American publishers, have suffered from the tech revolution. Almost half of readers in the US, under the age of 30, read an e-book in the past year. In recent years, China has been trying to capture the American publishing market.

According to the Chinese Publisher's Book Catalogue from BookExpo America, in a study from the Open Book Reader Survey in 2013, 62% of all readers preferred to read print books, while 38% of all readers preferred e-books. According to the Pew Center for Research in a survey done in 2013, 69% of adults read a book in print, while 28% read an e-book, and 14% listened to an audio book.

On May 29-31, BookExpo America (BEA) 2014, the largest annual book trade fair in the US was held at the Javits Center in New York, featuring more than a dozen Chinese publishers this year. China Universal Press & Publication Co., based in Beijing; China Press, the umbrella for China Books, Long River Press, and Cypress Books based in San Francisco; and CN Times Books based in New York, exhibited at the trade show.

China Universal Press & Publication Co. exhibitor Lyu An, 26, said of the current market situation for Chinese and American readers in relation to the profit and survival of publishing houses, "China and America suffer from the same problem, both countries are facing younger readers growing up in the tech age who read e-books on their phones, computers, and other mobile devices, print is on the decline." said Lyu .

According to Liu Yajun, Assistant General Manager of China Universal Press & Publication Co., counterfeit e-books have been on the Chinese market as long as counterfeit DVDs. Many of China's younger generation read e-books on their cell phones, many of which are illegally downloaded. Not only are print books declining in popularity, but copyright issues remain a big problem.

"I own a Kindle and I click a button and buy e-books from Amazon," Lyu said, but a lot of younger Chinese people aren't willing to buy books when they can find ways to read them for free.

Liu said, "At the American Expo, compared to books from other countries, I think Chinese books are special because they are local to China, and educate others about China's traditional history which spans 5,000 years." He believes new Chinese contemporary arts and culture, and science still need an opportunity to spread to other countries.

"We need more people with English as their mother tongue who can do translations from Chinese to English, to join in cultural sharing, in accordance with US markets and trends." said Liu. He enthusiastically explained, the US and China are two of the world's largest economic markets, English and Chinese are two of the most widely spoken languages in the world, US and China need to break the peace in the market and share as a whole.