Hooked on books

Printed pub­li­ca­tions, cul­tural prod­ucts from lo­cal mu­se­ums, and AR and VR tech­nol­ogy take cen­ter stage at re­cent fair

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - FRONT PAGE - Page Editor: lilin@glob­al­times.com.cn

Over 300,000 newly pub­lished books from around the world, in­clud­ing 28 coun­tries and re­gions along the Belt and Road route were on dis­play at the 24th Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Book Fair (BIBF), which was held at the China In­ter­na­tional Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­ter in Shunyi dis­trict from Au­gust 23 to 27. There fair was spread across eight booths

and hosted thou­sands of exhibitors and book lovers. BIBF is ac­tu­ally a copy­right fair for in­ter­na­tional books. Pub­lish­ing in­sti­tutes and presses from all over the world show­case their books and trade copy­right at the event. More than 2,500 exhibitors from 89 coun­tries and re­gions took part in the fair, with over­seas exhibitors ac­count­ing for 58 per­cent. Oman, Azer­bai­jan and Ukraine sent rep­re­sen­ta­tives to the BIBF for the first time this year. The Aus­tralian Pub­lish­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and more than 100 pub­lish­ers from Den­mark, Swe­den, Nor­way and Spain also attended the event for the first time. Both the ex­hi­bi­tion and the scale of coun­tries along the Belt and Road route have been in­creas­ing. A to­tal of 28 Belt and Road coun­tries, in­clud­ing Poland, In­done­sia, Hun­gary, the Czech Repub­lic and Croa­tia attended the BIBF.

Around 40,000 books from over 300 ma­jor Chi­nese pub­lish­ers were on dis­play for over­seas pub­lish­ers and li­braries. The num­ber of copy­right trade agree­ments signed be­tween Chi­nese and for­eign com­pa­nies ex­ceeded 4,000 each year in 2015 and 2016.

Since 2014, copy­right trade be­tween China and coun­tries along the Belt and Road routes has main­tained a high av­er­age an­nual growth of 20 per­cent, ac­count­ing for 15 per­cent of China’s to­tal copy­right trade in 2016, up from 5 per­cent in 2014.

Iran through books

Iran was the guest of honor at this year’s fair. More than 100 Ira­nian pub­lish­ers, writ­ers, il­lus­tra­tors and artists attended the book fair, bring­ing over 2,000 books to Chi­nese read­ers. Dur­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion, an event themed Col­or­ful dreams on the Silk Road was launched. A se­ries of sum­mits, fo­rums, book talks, il­lus­tra­tor and folk cul­ture per­for­mances took place at the Ira­nian booth, which was dec­o­rated with tra­di­tional Ira­nian el­e­ments and col­ored glaze tiles, and cov­ered about 500 square me­ters. Two curved walls shaped like a silk ribbon sym­bol­ized the Silk Road theme.

In ad­di­tion to Ira­nian books, Ira­nian car­toons and art­works were also pre­sented. Some cal- lig­ra­phers, sculp­tors and car­pet mak­ers gave live per­for­mances. Mus­lim Chi­nese crafts­men also per­formed in the Ira­nian booth. Their works were also for sale.

A new book launch of the Chi­nese trans­lated ver­sion of Book of Kings was held at the Ira­nian booth. Ac­cord­ing to an Ira­nian at the booth, the book was writ­ten by Per­sian poet Fer­dowsi (9401020) and is the ori­gin of Iran’s mother tongue -- Per­sian.

“I hope every Chi­nese reader vis­it­ing our booth can spend some time to get to know this book,” she said.

The Ira­nian ex­hi­bi­tion zone also fea­tured mu­si­cal per­for­mances and recita­tion of clas­sic Ira­nian and Chi­nese lit­er­a­ture in Per­sian, English and Chi­nese. Well-known Chi­nese writ­ers, in­clud­ing No­bel lau­re­ate Mo Yan, also in­ter­acted with read­ers at the event.

Iran has in­vited China to be the guest of honor at the 2019 Tehran In­ter­na­tional Book Fair in Iran.

Rus­sia an im­por­tant part

The Rus­sian booth also at­tracted many vis­i­tors. The Rus­sian book ex­hibits mainly in­cluded nov­els, books from the hu­man­i­ties and so­cial sci­ences, works from the Rus­sian In­sti­tute of Trans­la­tion, and books pub­lished by Eksmo Press and the Moscow mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment. There was also a trans­la­tion and pub­li­ca­tion project in­volv­ing Chi­nese and Rus­sian

clas­si­cal lit­er­a­ture. The Analects of Con­fu­cius,

The Trav­els of Lao Ts’an and Ba Jin’s Trilogy were trans­lated into Rus­sian and pub­lished in Rus­sia.

Natalya Mikhailova, an academic at the Rus­sian Academy of Sci­ences and senoir con­sul­tant of Pushkin Mu­seum, gave a de­tailed in­tro­duc­tion to books re­lated to Rus­sian poet Alek­sandr Sergeye­vich Pushkin, in­clud­ing Pushkin and Moscow, Pushkin from Moscow to Erzu­rum and Pushkin’s din­ner with his pro­tag­o­nists.

The head of the Rus­sian del­e­ga­tion said she hoped the event would deepen the cul­tural com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween China and Rus­sia and thati the two sides could co­op­er­ate to pub­lish more trans­lated works in the fu­ture

Ac­cord­ing to the Rus­sian work­ers at the fair, Chi­nese pub­lish­ers are most in­ter­ested in Rus­sia’s chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture, books on Rus­sian art, his­tory and pol­i­tics.

A num­ber of Rus­sian books were launched dur­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion, in­clud­ing books on zool­ogy, a dic­tio­nary of rail­way terms, books com­mem­o­rat­ing the 100th an Fe­bru­ary Rev­o­lu­tion and Oc­to­ber Rev­o­lu­tion. Round tables on Chi­nese and Rus­sian an­cient clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary lit­er­a­ture trans­la­tion projects and a sem­i­nar on the book of Changes and Tao Teh King were also held.

An in­ter­na­tional book f

Other for­eign booths books brought many orig­i­nal to Chi­nese read­ers. Pen­guin Ran­dom House, HarperCollins Pub­lish­ers, Cam­bridge University Press and Ox­ford University Press all attended

the book fair. Ja­panese pub­lish­ers were also present, and there was a special area for an ex­hi­bi­tion of the drafts of Osamu Tezuka, the fa­mous comics artist. South Korean pub­lish­ers show­cased many pop­u­lar comics and nov­els.

In­ter­na­tional pic­ture books were also on ex­hi­bi­tion. Pic­ture books from many for­eign coun­tries in­clud­ing France, Italy, Rus­sia, Ja­pan and Ara­bian coun­tries were also on dis­play. Many of them are awarded works with many hon­ors in­clud­ing the US Calde­cott Medal, the Deutscher Bilder­buch­preis from Ger­many, the Kate Green­away Medal from the UK, and Italy’s Bologna Ragazzi Award. This year’s pic­ture book theme was the cas­tle of the princess. Many clas­sic fairy tale princesses were made into posters, like Princess Sofia, Snow White and Ra­pun­zel and show­cased at the event. Chil­dren took pho­tos with the princesses.

There were also many toy books. The pub­lish­ers made books in the shape of a doll and used lu­mi­nes­cent ma­te­ri­als to make books. Par­ents and kids could ex­pe­ri­ence a three-di­men­sional book at the fair. Many chil­dren, both Chi­nese and for­eign, were at­tracted to the pic­ture books ex­hi­bi­tion. Many of them sat up or lay on their stom­ach to read the books.

There were also par­ent­ing lec­tures on chil­dren lan­guage learn­ing, and many par­ents took part in the activities.

Cre­ative prod­ucts avail­able

A special ex­hi­bi­tion hall was set up to show­case cul­tural and cre­ative prod­ucts. This year 40 exhibitors brought their unique prod­ucts to the fair, in­clud­ing many lo­cal mu­se­ums from all over the coun­try.

Among the mu­seum stalls, the Palace Mu­seum’s booth was the most pop­u­lar, many at­ten­dees gath­ered there to buy prod­ucts like pa­per fans and em­broi­dered bags.

It was the first time that Jiangxi Prov­ince Mu­seum’s cre­ative prod­ucts themed Hai­hun­hou Tomb in Han Dy­nasty (206BC-AD220) were ex­hib­ited in Bei­jing. The mu­seum sold many du­pli­cates of the creep­ing di­chon­dra un­earthed in the tomb. Another hot sale prod­uct were jade pen­dants, which were made after the jade an­i­mal ex­ca­vated from the tomb. Ac­cord­ing to Jiangxi booth work­ers, about 20,000 to 30,000 prod­ucts sold daily in their mu­seum.

This year’s book fair also adopted aug­mented re­al­ity (AR) and vir­tual re­al­ity (VR) tech­nol­ogy. At­ten­dees could watch a play on the stage with VR glasses. The VR tech­nol­ogy repli­cated the ac­tors’ im­ages and had var­i­ous vis­ual ef­fects. Guests could also wear VR glasses to play a game of “go­ing back to the Qin Dy­nasty (221BC-206BC).”

Chi­nese books “go­ing out”

To fur­ther boost the gov­ern­ment’s Go Out pol­icy, the fair dis­played over 15,000 kinds of books from more than 300 pub­lish­ers in China. Many of the books had de­tailed English in­tro­duc­tions on the cover so that over­seas pub­lish­ers and li­braries could choose the books they liked best to buy their copy­right and in­tro­duce them in their coun­tries. Over the past two years, there have been more than 4,000 copy­right deals done at the fair.

Many large pub­lish­ers in China have cre­ated a special sec­tion for Road and Belt books, which is a shin­ing point of China’s pub­lish­ing in­dus­try. Ac­cord­ing to the fair’s staff, since 2014, the trade vol­ume of copy­rights be­tween China and Belt and Road coun­tries have in­creased with a rise of about 20 per­cent per year. The trade vol­ume made up 15 per­cent of China-for­eign copy­right trade, ris­ing from 5 per­cent in 2014. In 2016, there were about 5,000 copy­right trades be­tween China and the Belt and Road coun­tries.

Photo: IC

A worker at the Rus­sian booth shows off one of his coun­try's of­fer­ings dur­ing the re­cent 24th Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Book Fair.

Pho­tos: IC

Chi­nese women and kids read books at one of the booths at the book fair; Inset: A woman ex­pe­ri­ence VR equip­ment.

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