The Beijing International Book Fair, held August 21–25, hosted more than 2,600 exhibitors (of which 1,600 came from overseas) and more than 300,000 attendees. Back in 2009, the fair saw only 1,841 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors. This growth is in tandem with the booming Chinese book market that is propelled by a rapidly expanding middle class, which is expected to number 600 million people (or nearly half of the country’s population) by 2020. As for China’s growing children’s book market, it was thrown into the spotlight by the second edition of the Beijing International Children’s Book Fair, which occupied an entire hall and was packed with local and overseas exhibitors. We’ve selected some photos from the fair to highlight the busy event. All photos by Teri Tan.
Adam Michaels (r.), company president and COO of Bob Books, participated at BIBF for the first time and received the Best New Partner Award from Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. FLTRP is China’s largest foreign-language publisher and has collaborated with more than 500 international publishers. This award was given to FLTRP’s top three bestselling publishing partners for the year.
E-learning platform Jiliguala, which loosely means “babbling” in Chinese, signed a deal with Disney to develop and provide English reading courses based on its cartoons. A new product based on Toy Story attracted some 400,000 users within two weeks of the launch. Jiliguala now has around 25 million registered users in China, with its content drawn from international partners such as The Kiboomers, Highlights for Children, Penguin Random House, Rourke Educational Media, and Teacher Created Materials.
For seasoned BIBF exhibitor Atlantyca, Geronimo Stilton—its best-known IP—rules. To date, the Journey Through Time series has sold upwards of 10 million copies in China. Two animated Geronimo Stilton seasons have already been shown, with the first-day broadcast attracting more than a million viewers.
This year’s Ananas Grand Prix went to Chinese illustrator Liu Jing for her book The Ship, while the Grand Jury prizes were awarded to Dominika Czerniak-Chojnacka (Poland), Victoria Semykina (Russia), and Fan Zhang (China). Five young illustrators won the New Talent award: Sally Deng (U.S.), Suzy Vergez (France), Thanh Vu Nguyen (Vietnam), Wu Huachao (China), and Huang Xinran (China). More than 1,060 works were submitted this year and 60 were chosen for display at the second edition of the BIBF Ananas International Illustration Exhibition.
Beijing-based Chemical Industry Press’s nautical-inspired booth added fun to the children’s hall.
Belgian publisher Clavis, back for its eighth BIBF, has sold more than 600 titles to Chinese publishers, with author-illustrator Guido van Genechten (the Rikki series) as its biggest draw. Clavis also collaborates with Beijing Yutian Hanfeng Books Company to organize workshops to uncover new talent, which culminate in the Key Colours Competition China. The inaugural competition was held in 2017 and takes place every two years.
A playful booth from Hung Hing, one of the world’s biggest exporters, with products ranging from children’s novelty items and board books to corrugated packaging.
Nosy Crow was one of the busiest booths in the U.K. pavilion, and managing director Kate Wilson (third from r.) was exhausted from—and thrilled by—the nonstop meetings at the fair.
The busy Andrew Nurnberg Associates booth is indicative of a thriving rights market.
Dog Man, Dav Pilkey’s latest graphic novel series for children, was prominently featured at the Scholastic booth.
Highlights for Children has a strong brand presence in China, having participated in BIBF for more than a dozen years.
The U.S. pavilion hosted several first-time exhibitors from the children’s book segment at this year’s fair, including Bob Books, Gibbs Smith/BabyLit and Kindermusik.