ICLP電子報第43期：第十九屆臺北國際書展 ~ 19th Taipei International Book Exhibition (featured in 43rd ICLP Bulletin)
The 19th Taipei International Book Exhibition took place in the Taipei World Trade Center February 9-14. The Taipei Book Fair Foundation announced that roughly 800 publishers and 300 authors from 59 countries attended this year’s fair, making it the biggest not only in Taiwan but in all of Asia. 590,000 people attended, the most in the history of the exhibition. This year’s book sales, especially manga, also posted significant growth.
Changtan International Culture Company [a publisher] invited six ICLP students to the fair. One of their editors, Huafan University lecturer Rosa Xiao, also gave us a tour. We had a great time. Afterward, two students told me their favorite experiences.
The Taipei International Book Exhibition was awesome! I found a really special picture book, Made in Taiwan by Golo. Although the author is French, because he describes a Frenchman’s experiences here, the work is closely related with Taiwan. This book uses pictures to discuss Taiwan’s history and culture. Also, it uses both French and Chinese! So if you’ve studied French, you can practice French and study Chinese at the same tie! I think this book makes a great souvenir because it captures Taiwan’s environment so well. I recomend everyone read it!
I love reading, and my wife and I had a pleasant time. I only ran into one problem, and it wasn’t related to Chinese but rather to a foreign language. I bought a French book. Afterward, the Taiwanese staffer used French to try to convince me to buy a members’ card. Although I can read French, I can’t speak it. So I asked her to speak to me in French or English. (Her French sounded excellent, but I decided not to buy the card.)
Ms. Xiao also explained to me what her company publishes, how the market is, why they participate in the book fair, and the exhibition’s strong points:
Our company (Changtan International Culture Company) has published children’s magazines, children’s books, and magazine-style encyclopedias for ten years. We have 100 employees, and we do business through direct sales or book fairs. So the annual Taipei International Book Exhibition is very important to us. We rent four booths and advertise in the brochures.
I love this book fair, first of all because I can see many of my friends in the business: I think publishers are endearing, but we usually have very little time to get together and talk. Also, I can observe how the domestic publishing industry has fared over the last year. Because I focus on publishing children’s books, I also go to a children’s book fair in Italy to buy publishing rights for foreign books. That book fair has 6-8 exhibition halls, all devoted to children’s books, so the selection is plentiful, and the decorations are more flashy and colorful than those of Germany’s Frankfurt Book Fair.
In recent years, book fairs, especially the Taipei International Book Exhibition, have emphasized digital production. Since the business model for digital publishing isn’t fully developed, many companies still aren’t willing to invest in it, but the market has continued to develop, so the book fair is a good opportunity to learn what’s going on. In recent years, the TIBE has planned several in-depth discussions and speeches in order to nurture and cultivate domestic companies, and I think this has been very helpful. Foreign book fairs also host discussions and speeches, but because time is short and language is a barrier, I rarely attend them. The TIBE also sets up meetings between publishers and authors in order to facilitate communication and opportunities to work together, which is wonderful; at the foreign book fairs I’ve attended, every company was on its own, and the authors had to bring their works to company stands themselves.