After a successful run as the co-organizer of the Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair (CCBF) last year, BolognaFiere is now back for its second outing and poised to launch a more ambitious event. This year’s fair, running from November 15 to 17, will cover 25,000 square meters, which is an increase of 38% in floor space over the previous year. The number of exhibitors, mostly of publishers and children’s content players, is expected to hit 400, of which 30% are CCBF first-timers, while more than 40,000 visitors will throng its halls this time. (Last year, there were 367 exhibitors with 194 coming from overseas, and about 33,796 visitors.)
The successful lounges and zones that BolognaFiere introduced last year—including the BOP-Bologna Prize Lounge, Strega Prize Lounge, Asia Pacific New Entry Lounge, Illustrators Survival Corner, Literary Agents Centre, Licensing Lounge, and Digital Hub, for instance—will return.
BolognaFiere will introduce two special exhibitions for this seventh edition of CCBF. One is the “ABCD Books” exhibition—with “A” referring to “Art and Architecture”, “B” for “Beauty”, “C” for “Culture”, and “D” for “Design”—that will showcase 80 original children’s books from around the world to celebrate the importance of artistic education for children. The other is the “Pop-up Show: The Magic Inside Books”, which will display about 120 titles selected from Massimo Missiroli’s 4,000-volume collection, and will showcase the history of pop-ups from around the world, including Harold Lentz’s Pinocchio (published in 1932 in the U.S.; regarded as the first-ever pop-up book in the world) to contemporary works by paper engineers such as Robert Sabuda, David Carter, and Ron Van der Meer.
For the conference program, 10 seminars will be on offer to bring about a mix of academic expertise, business know-how, and innovative thinking in the world of children’s publishing and licensing. Representatives from Nielsen Book and Beijing-based OpenBook will share market data and analysis, while audiobook market trends and figures will come from experts at Storytel and Qingting FM. Industry professionals including Roger Throp (from Thames & Hudson), Claire de Cointet (Editions du Centre Pompidou), Maria Russo (the New York Times) and Julia Eccleshare (Hay Festival) will also be involved in the program as speakers or panelists. As for perspectives on licensing and audiovisual rights, attendees will hear from experts such as Dion Vlachos (of Viacom Nickelodeon), Andrea Ryder (Lego Publishing), and Susan Bolsover (Penguin Ventures).
Then there is the Shanghai Visiting International Publishers Program (SHVIP), which has its highest ever number of applications with 165 requests from 56 countries and territories. The 2019 fellowship group will include representatives from Alboroto (Mexico), Levine Querido (U.S.), Scribble (Australia), Tuti Books (Iran), and The Old Lion (Ukraine).
With China’s children’s book segment continuing on its double-digit annual growth in recent years, CCBF is tapping into a big market, not least because this segment now accounts for more than 25% of the country’s total retail book market. With nearly 600 children’s book publishers in China and 227,000 titles in circulation, attendees can expect to see most of the leading domestic publishers at the fair, showcasing their titles and looking to export more rights to overseas partners.
The Chinese children’s book market, propelled by 370 million children under the age of 18 and an additional 17.5 million babies born annually, is set to grow even further. And this means that CCBF’s expansion—in terms of floor space, exhibitors, and visitors—is par for the course.