Most overseas publishers are familiar with the reputation of Tomorrow Publishing House, which was founded 35 years ago and has translated more than 1,000 titles. Credited for putting several local authors—Yang Hongying, Cao Wenxuan, Wu Meizhen, and Yu Yujun, for instance—on the international map, this is also the publisher that turned Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, Tove Jansson, and Erich Kästner into household names in China.
Tomorrow Publishing House’s biggest title is Yang Hongying’s The Diary of a Smiling Cat, which has consistently ranked among the top 10 bestsellers in the past 10 years. Annual sales of this 24-volume series average five million copies, with a total distribution of 52 million since its 2006 launch. Outside of China, editions are available in English, German, Indonesian, Korean, and Thai. Wu Meizhen’s 22-volume Sister Sunshine Little Study series, Tomorrow’s second strongest publication, has sold 12 million copies.
“Translations-wise, we are fortunate that we started buying rights very early on and obtained classics and great authors like Dahl and Jansson,” president David Fu says, adding that 90% of his sales comes from reprints. “We do not publish that many new titles each year—only 335 in 2017—and those are carefully selected to complement our offerings while providing children with the best and evergreen content from overseas.”
As for long-term sellers, Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, which Fu translated himself, is one good example. “It is on the school reading list, which means that schoolchildren grow up with it,” Fu says. “That relationship is very important; my hope is that when these children become parents themselves, they will remember and introduce it to their own children. I want Tomorrow Publishing House to become their point of reference when it comes to searching for suitable titles for their children. This is how we want to perpetuate our list and build our brand in the market and in the minds of our audience.”
And Fu is not at all fazed by the piracy of his bestsellers. “I would not regard that as a compliment to my taste and selection, but I invariably find our sales going up significantly every time a pirated edition enters the market. But we have zero tolerance when it comes to any pirated editions of our titles and will follow every clue to take legal action.”