In with the old, in with the new

China Daily European Weekly - - Front Page - By MEI JIA mei­jia@chi­

Two first-of-its-kind books rep­re­sent­ing two prom­i­nent pub­lish­ing trends rubbed shoul­ders when they were launched at the Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Book Fair, the world’s sec­ond-largest book fair, which ended on Aug 26.

At the fair, vis­i­tors were able to wear vir­tual-re­al­ity equip­ment that took them back to his­toric scenes such as the Red Army’s Long March of 1934-36 and the Wenchuan earth­quake in Sichuan in 2008.

They could also rel­ish the mag­nif­i­cence of the Grand Canal from Bei­jing to Hangzhou dur­ing the Ming Dy­nasty (1368-1644) by in­ter­act­ing with their smart­phones con­nected to a big screen dis­play­ing images of the canal.

An en­cy­clo­pe­dia ro­bot got to show off its skills to en­thralled vis­i­tors, and some stalls pre­sented the beauty of thou­sand-year-old Chi­nese char­ac­ters or pa­per bind­ing tech­niques.

About 300,000 peo­ple vis­ited the fair, or­ga­niz­ers said, and over its five days, more than 1,000 book events were staged through­out Bei­jing.

At the fair, 1,520 pub­lish­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions from 92 coun­tries and re­gions joined an­other 1,000 lo­cal pub­lish­ers and cul­tural-re­lated or­ga­ni­za­tions. What they wit­nessed was a pub­lish­ing world push­ing on with the task of in­te­grat­ing the very lat­est tech­nol­ogy into every­thing it does, even as it proudly em­braces China’s past and holds firm to its cul­tural roots. In do­ing so it is well aware that it has a re­cep­tive au­di­ence not only at home but in­creas­ingly abroad.

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