The five-day 22nd Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) concluded another successful run on August 30. According to preliminary statistics from BIBF organizers, representatives from 82 countries and regions attended this year’s event, an increase of 5% over 2014. The number of exhibitors rose 6.8%, to 2,302, and 4,721 rights deals were concluded, an increase of 8.6%.
Rights deals and professional exchanges have always been the main attraction of BIBF, and this year, exhibitors from 22 One Belt, One Road countries, including Romania, Serbia, and Sri Lanka, presented new trade opportunities to publishers from China, America, and Europe. In addition, building on good book trade relations between China and other Asian countries, the joint exhibition stands of South Korea and Japan and other countries continued to grow. Exhibitors from Malaysia, Singapore, and other Southeast Asian nations also indicated their deep satisfaction with the event.
In order to promote the trade of physical books, BIBF expanded its library acquisitions zone from 2,000 square meters to 3,000 square meters. During the fair, BIBF organizers hosted more than 100 professional exchange events, including the 2015 Beijing International Publishing Forum, the China Library Summit, the Copyright Trade Advanced Seminar, and the IDPF@BIBF International Digital Publishing Forum, helping Chinese and overseas participants at the fair find business solutions and potential partnerships though a variety of forums, seminars, and dialogues.
The Guest of Honor program is the focal point of the book fair. This year, the United Arab Emirates was the guest of honor, with a 1,000-square-meter stand displaying more than 600 books. Over the course of five days, the U.A.E. stand put on exhibitions of calligraphy, painting, and traditional handicrafts that drew enthusiastic fairgoers. Recent guest of honor nations Turkey (2014) and Saudi Arabia (2013) both expressed their satisfaction with this year’s program; the Saudi Arabian representatives noted that this was the busiest BIBF they’d ever had, reporting “a constant stream of visitors,” while Turkish representatives said that “since being guest of honor at last year’s BIBF, Sino-Turkish publishing trade and cooperation have increased significantly. Following an all-out promotional push, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey has increased by 40%.”
This year, BIBF introduced a 14,350-square-meter International Children’s Book Hall, which was well received by both publishers and regular audience members. Nearly 200 publishers from China and abroad gathered in the hall to conduct rights negotiations, resulting in nearly 1,000 deals signed during the first three professional days of the fair. Publishing dignitaries at the International Children’s Publishing Forum included Patricia Aldana, chairwoman of the Hans Christian Andersen Award judging committee; Bai Bing, head editor of the Jieli Publishing House; Wally de Doncker, IBBY chairman; Junko Yokota, chair of the Caldecott Medal Selection Committee; Li Xueqian, president of the China Children’s Press and Publication Group; Roger Mello, winner of the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award; Wang Yue, vice chairman of Dangdang.com, and many others, who shared their experiences and insights gleaned while working toward greater children’s literature rights trade between China and the rest of the world.
Along with this, the 1,500-square-meter International Picture Book exhibition, arranged by BIBF organizers China National Publications Import & Export (Group) Corp., was very favorably received. The picture book exhibition featured more than 10,000 picture books in 13 languages, coming from countries such as China, England, Germany, and the U.S., and invited renowned children’s literature promoters to participate in more than 50 events based around the exhibition contents. Over the course of five days, which included two days open to the public, the Children’s Book Hall attracted more than 40,000 parents and children to observe events and buy books.
Literary events and readings were another highlight of this year’s BIBF. More than 100 writers and academics from China and abroad, including Wang Meng and Ge Fei, both recent recipients of the Mao Dun Literature Prize; SF author and recent Hugo winner Liu Cixin; and local stars Feng Tang and Jiang Nan, all of whom participated in literary salons with the theme of “Close Reading,” both inside and outside the exhibition center. Fans were particularly excited about events with Alan Lee, illustrator of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as well as art director of the respective films, and with Liu, author of The Three Body Problem.
This August, Beijing, with total BIBF attendance topping 260,000, was talking about books—from the exhibition hall, to cafes, to independent bookstores. The BIBF is a meeting place for the international publishing industry that also offers a feast for Chinese readers.
The article was sponsored and written by China National Publications Import & Export (Group) Corp. For more information about BIBF, contact Jason Yuan at email@example.com.