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Publishers eye major opportunities at book fair

By Yang Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-20 06:56
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The 30th edition of the Beijing International Book Fair, one of the most influential book fairs in the world, opened on Wednesday at the China National Convention Center.

With the theme of deepening mutual learning among civilizations and cooperating for a win-win future, the five-day book fair features more than 220,000 publications and 1,600 exhibitors from 71 countries and regions. Saudi Arabia is this year's guest of honor.

Fifteen new countries are participating at this year's event, including Bangladesh, the Philippines, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, New Zealand and Nigeria.

At the Nigerian booth, Michael Dare Oluwatuyi, chairman of the Nigerian Book Fair Trust, and Uchenna Cyril Anioke, president of the Nigerian Publishers Association, recommended Nigerian books that they expect Chinese publishers to introduce so that Chinese readers can better understand the African country from different perspectives.

Among their recommendations were Oluwatuyi's The Fine Art of Bookselling, Moonlight Story of Nigeria by Anioke, Women, Law and Human Rights: National and Global Perspectives by Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, and The History of Yorubas by Samuel Johnson.

As a fan of The Art of War, Anioke said that he wants to translate this Chinese classic created by Sun Tzu more than 2,000 years ago into Nigerian languages, including Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo.

At the German pavilion, Alexander Wilhelm, vice-president of Muller &Schindler Publishers, sat before a glass showcase in which fine replicas of ancient books were displayed. In the middle was the book Plants and Animals, a replica of an original copy created about 800 years ago in Northern France or England, telling about how ancient people used plants to heal illnesses, Wilhelm said. The original one is now kept in the British Library.

While showcasing these fine books, the German publisher is also seeking business opportunities in China.

"We're looking for a business partnership, selling those books here in China, and of course we are also looking for institutions like the National Library of China and the Ministry of Culture. We could be interested in the commission work to reproduce Chinese manuscripts as replicas, the main purpose of which is to protect the original," he said.

"We know that China has a very long history. There are many books and manuscripts being created here. It could be interesting for us to make such replicas," he added.

Just across the corridor facing the German Pavilion, three speakers shared their knowledge and experience in an event titled "Artisan Spirit" at the Hong Kong Pavilion. An exquisite replica of Forty Scenes of Yuanmingyuan (the Old Summer Palace) was displayed, which attracted a great deal of attention. The original work, created by Shen Yuan and Tang Dai during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), is now kept in the National Library of France. The event was the first of 12 held by Hong Kong exhibitors at the book fair.

At another event on the first day of the book fair, China International Communications Group held a ceremony for Saudi Arabian publishers joining the China-Arab Culture and Publishing Center of CICG.

Addressing the ceremony, Ashwaq Rasheed, chief executive officer of the Saudi Publishing Association, said, "Through this collaboration, we have the opportunity to introduce the latest publications and literary works from both countries to the public, enriching the cultural and intellectual landscapes of both nations."

A signing ceremony was also held for CICG's Center for Culture and Publishing of China-Latin America and the Caribbean Collaborative Mechanism Membership to expand their publishing partnership around the world.

In the following days, there will be more events for publishing professionals, including the Beijing International Publishing Forum, a publishing and technology innovation conference and the World Children's Book Forum 2024.


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