Last year, Anhui Children’s Publishing House (ACPH) published 449 new titles, 79% of which (or 355 titles) were original works. Its bestsellers include the big series on Hans Christian Andersen Award winners, the comics edition of Naughty Boy Ma Xiaotiao, Peppa Pig, and Sapling Classic Reading for Child Development. Such was the strength of the ACPH brand and its publications that its sales in 2018 reached CNY 1.48 billion (or approximately 3.4% of the overall children’s book market in China), making it the third-largest children’s publishing house in the country.
More good news is in store for ACPH regarding Peppa Pig, which hit the big screen in China on February 5. “That was the first day of the Chinese New Year festival, which ushered in the Year of the Pig,” says president Xu Fengmei. “So the timing could not have been better.” Xu’s team launched a seven-volume Peppa Pig comic edition several months before the screen debut, and new pop-up titles and an educational jigsaw puzzle featuring Peppa will be out this month. “When all the Peppa Pig books, comics, gift sets, and derivative products, including 3-D charts, stickers, bilingual board books, and jigsaw stories, are counted, we have sold more than 50 million units,” Xu says.
This year ACPH will release several original pop-science series by big names, including Yang Hongying’s Little Frogman’s Travels, Yang Peng’s Animal Transformers, and Zhang Zhilu’s Sci-Fi Planet. “Our proven pop-science editorial team has launched branded publications from National Geographic and Little Fish Big Dream and has translated series such as Hoshi Shinichi’s Science Fiction for Teenagers over the years,” Xu says.
And while its Hans Christian Andersen series continues to increase its circulation beyond the current three million copies, more ACPH originals are entering the market, including Li Donghua’s war-themed novel Ring Castle, Liu Haiqi’s The Great Little Mouse series, and Shi Lei’s Green Hills, on country living. ACPH will continue to publish more comics, which are its forte and biggest segment, as well as children’s literature, preschool titles, and original works, Xu says. “We are totally committed to uncovering new talent in writing and illustration not only for our company but also for China and the rest of the world to read and enjoy.”