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Book market tries to turn a new page (2)

By Zhang Yuchen (China Daily)

09:57, February 17, 2012

A book offering information about China's copyright issues on display at the China hall of the world-famous Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany in 2009. China was guest of honor for the event. (Xinhua / Luo Huanhuan)

He said the government is spending tens of millions of yuan each year to encourage publishing houses - private or State-owned - to broker copyright deals with companies in other countries to boost translation and distribution of Chinese works.

Statistics from the GAPP show that China signed just one copyright export agreement for every 15 imports in 2002. By the end of 2010, however, the ratio was down to 3-to-1.

A major wakeup call came in 2005, when senior officials attending the Beijing International Book Fair said they were shocked to learn that although Germany had sold more than 600 copyright agreements to China the previous year, just one had gone the other way.

"It (the "going out" policy) is not only about promoting the development of China's publishing sector in overseas markets," Chen said. "It's also about improving publishers' creativity in the domestic market."

Broader horizons

Many Chinese publishing houses have already opened branches abroad, with a view to selling more books in mass markets, and are investing more energy into boosting online sales.

"Yet, we have to face the reality that non-English-language books still account for only 2 percent of the total imported by all nations," Juergen Boos, director of Frankfurt Books Fair, told China Daily on Feb 4 during his visit to Beijing.

According to Jo Lusby, managing director of Penguin China, her company publishes five to eight Chinese novels in English-speaking markets every year, while for other languages "it's very little, probably two or three, and they are (mostly) classics".

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