Chil­dren’s Book Expo: Au­thors and read­ers hurt by pi­rated work

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - IP SPECIAL - By CHEN MEILING chen­meil­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Par­ents should stress copyright when se­lect­ing books for their kids be­cause pi­rated books may harm their phys­i­cal and men­tal health, ex­perts said.

Dur­ing a pro­mo­tional event called Buy­ing Li­censed Chil­dren’s Books Only at the third China Chil­dren’s Book Expo, held from July 7 through Sun­day in Bei­jing , pub­lish­ers, kids and par­ents dis­cussed the im­por­tance of copyright in kids’ books.

“Pi­rated books tend to use cheap and in­fe­rior print­ing inks and pa­per, which may con­tain heavy met­als,” said Yan Xiaoli, ed­i­tor-in-chief of Dan­de­lion Chil­dren’s Book House. “Flaws in words and color are also com­monly seen.”

The con­tent of lead in some pi­rated books was 100 times higher than in gen­uine ones, ac­cord­ing to a test re­port con­ducted by the Cen­ter for En­vi­ron­men­tal Qual­ity Test of Ts­inghua Univer­sity.

Hex­ava­lent chromium, a chem­i­cal that can be eas­ily ab­sorbed by hu­man bod­ies through breath­ing and touch­ing, was de­tected in many of the faked books, and long­time ex­po­sure may cause cancer, it said.

Some peo­ple print il­licit copies by scan­ning and pho­to­copy­ing pages of gen­uine books di­rectly, which may eas­ily cause er­ror in con­tents.

Zhang Hongbo, sec­re­taryg e n e r a l o f C h i n a Wr i tt e n Works Copyright So­ci­ety, said buy­ing gen­uine books not only shows re­spect for the au­thors, but also makes sure their kids wouldn’t be mis­led by mis­takes in knowl­edge.

The an­nual expo at­tracted about 60,000 at­ten­dees with its more than 10,000 kinds of chil­dren’s books on dis­play.

Though the cat­e­gory of chil­dren’s books pub­lished in China reached more than 40,000 ev­ery year, rank­ing No 1 in the world, most of the ones sell­ing best were in­tro­duced from for­eign coun­tries.

C hi­nese il­lus­tra­tors and au­thors need to im­prove their imag­i­na­tion, and their abil­ity to tell sto­ries in pic­tures, Yan said.

“Many for­eign books suc-

Pi­rated books tend to use cheap and in­fe­rior print­ing inks and pa­per, which may con­tain heavy met­als.” Yan Xiaoli, ed­i­tor-in-chief of Dan­de­lion Chil­dren’s Book House

ceeded be­cause they con­formed to the feel­ings and thoughts of chil­dren, fo­cus­ing on the sto­ries of grow­ing up, in­stead of teach­ing lessons,” she said.

Xia Han has brought his child to the expo for three con­sec­u­tive years.

He said some ver y good sto­ries were told in a di­dac­tic tone, which was unacceptable for them.

A pic­ture book telling the story of a girl with big feet won the top award at the first orig­i­nal pic­ture books con­test in China held at the expo last year.

“Kids may lack con­fi­dence some­times. When I was young, I was afraid of talk­ing in front of many peo­ple. And my kid has con­gen­i­tal am­bly­opia. But we of­ten make jokes about those things to help child be­come pos­i­tive and con­fi­dent,” said Wan Wan, il­lus­tra­tor of the book.

She said her 4-year-old son of­ten burst into laugh­ter when reading the story.

Yan said the fu­ture of Chi­nese chil­dren’s books pub­lish­ing mar­ket is in orig­i­nal works.

“The copyright roy­alty for a for­eign chil­dren’s book may cost $30,000, which means you have to sell more than 50,000 books to break even,” she said.

Yan said her com­pany has signed con­tracts with three il­lus­tra­tors, ex­pect­ing to re­lease a new se­ries of orig­i­nal pic­ture books and nov­els by Zhu Dake this year.

“Some for­eign copyright agen­cies al­ready showed will­ing­ness to pur­chase copyright of the se­ries,” she said.

GUO JUNFENG / FOR CHINA DAILY

A mother reads a book for her daugh­ter at the third China Chil­dren’s Book Expo on July 10.

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