London Book Fair focuses on children's publishing
Updated 22:33, 14-Mar-2019
By Shen Li, Yang Ran

The London Book Fair is one of the biggest events on the international publishing calendar. Held in Spring, it serves as a global marketplace for negotiating publishing rights, and selling and distributing content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. 

This year's Fair has seen publishers from China and the UK working to promote cooperation in the field of children's literature.

The London Book Fair is being held at the Olympia exhibition center. A forum, held on the sidelines of the Fair, brought together British and Chinese children's book publishers, to discuss potential new projects, as well as possible cooperative business models.

China's abolition of the one-child policy in 2015, has brought about a significant increase in the birth rate. Experts estimate the country will see over three million more babies born in 2020, compared to this year.

Among Chinese parents, the demand for bilingual children's books is also on the rise.

Anna Holmwood is a veteran publisher and long-term collaborator with China. Her translations have given English readers access to Jin Yong's world of martial arts and chivalry – a literary phenomenon that has charmed hundreds of millions of Chinese readers worldwide.

People read books in a library. /VCG Photo

People read books in a library. /VCG Photo

Holmwood says that finding cultural common ground is important if publishers from China and the UK are to cooperate in presenting quality materials.

"I think at the moment both UK and Chinese publishers are getting better learning about each other. Both sides are learning to talk to each other and be able to continue partnership not just on one book or one IP, but to maintain collaboration that we can line a list. I think it's a positive sign because the more deeply the two sides connect to each other, the more we can learn from each other and the better content can be adjusted to the market in the need of children and parents," English publisher Anna Holmwood said.

Book sales in China last year were up by 11.3 percent compared to 2017. A third of the increase is ascribed to children's books.

Experts estimate that in any given Chinese household, children account for 20 percent of spending.

“Every year is getting more and more sophisticated, and Chinese people's tastes are developing and becoming more knowledgeable and more and more demanding. Everything in China is changing very quickly…” Holmwood said.

The 2019 edition is the 48th London Book Fair. The three-day event, running from Tuesday to Thursday, brings together 25,000 publishing professionals from all over the world. 

(Cover: The 2019 London Book Fair /VCG Photo)