Randy Wang, the director of the Shanghai Children’s Book Fair (CCBF), is expecting more than 10,000 trade visitors at this year’s event, which is taking place later this month.
Wang told The Bookseller that the fair has grown 30% in size compared to last year, reflecting the growth in children’s book sales in China. “Last year the children’s book market volume grew by 15.6%, which represents a much higher growth rate compared to the average growth of the publishing market,” he said.
Publishers from more than 30 countries are exhibiting, including collective “pavilions” from France and Singapore. The UK stand, run by the Publishers Association, is the fair’s biggest and “keeps growing”, said Wang.
New developments at the fair will include a digital area, with more non-book related products, such as My Little Pony items from Hasbro, and an online matchmaking service, allowing exhibitors and trade visitors to set up meetings. However, books remain the key focus for Chinese publishers who want to acquire rights. According to Wang, Chinese publishers mostly work with their counterparts in the UK, US, France, Germany and Japan, but are increasingly turning to smaller publishers from further afield.
“As the copyright from large publishing groups has been sold, Chinese publishers are increasingly turning to publishers from other countries, like Brazil,” he said. “Chinese publishers represent a fast growing market, and most of them are open to new ideas. So all good content will be appreciated.”
Currently the biggest areas of the children’s market are fiction, comic books and books about science, although Wang said parents are now paying more attention to children reading before the age of six so “this offers another niche area with great potential”.
CCBF takes place this year 18-20th November at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition Centre. The Chen Bochui Children’s Literature Awards, which are open to international publishers, will take place on 17th November on the eve of the fair.
Several international publishers are taking part in this year’s Fellowship programme, which gives overseas publishers a five-day introduction to the industry in China, including Harry Gwinner, c.o.o. of Nowbrow/Flying Eye in the UK.