The inaugural China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair (CCBF), to be held at the Shanghai Mart Exhibition Center, is set for November 7–10, with the first two days dedicated to trade, and the remaining days open to the public. Managed by Reed Exhibitions and supported by the Chinese government’s General Administration of Press and Publications, the fair is dedicated to the publishing, rights acquisition, and distribution of content for those up to the age of 16.
Home to more than 230 million people under the age of 16, China has a bustling children’s publishing sector currently valued at $5 billion, of which $340 million comes from licensing. The children’s book industry in China is growing. Between 2011 and 2012, the number of children’s publications grew by 35%, while 20% of the total rights sales in the book industry came from this segment.
"The purchasing power of young Chinese parents is huge, with more than 52% preferring to buy books than borrowing from libraries.
In fact, 70% of these parents purchase books for their kids every month,” says Reed Exhibitions senior project manager Randy Wang, who points out that 90% of the children’s books in China are imports. “The statistics from China’s biggest online retailer, Dangdang.com, show that 80% and 90% of the top 10 children’s bestsellers in 2012 and 2011, respectively, were imported titles. On the other hand, teachers and educators are in dire need of new educational materials, while parents and their children are looking for imported titles to add variety to their reading list and broadening their understanding of world cultures.”
Adopting “Content Without Borders” as its slogan, “CBFF is focused on facilitating closer interactions between industry players local and international,” adds Wang, “between publishers and the reading public, and between authors and their fans. Exhibitors and attendees will discover a huge range of content—books, e-books, educational software, and other edutainment products—and we hope they will go away wanting more and looking forward to the next CBFF. Having this event in bustling Shanghai makes perfect sense. This is China’s digital publishing hub as well as its innovation and financial center.”
Around 200 exhibitors, with 30% from overseas, are expected to attend CBFF. Jon Malinowski, president of Combined Book Exhibit and founder of Pubmatch.com, will be among them. One aspect of the show, the Shanghai New Title Showcase, is a collaboration between CCBF and Combined Book Exhibit (booth 1247 at BEA). The showcase provides publishers, including self-publishers, with a low-cost way to explore the Chinese children’s market and to have their books “front and center in one of the most active rights-buying markets in the world,” says Malinowski.