Lost for words in Beijing.

So I can’t read a word of Mandarin and my Cantonese is woeful but it hasn’t stopped me from heading into as many bookshops as I could find in Beijing and talking to booksellers, publishers and a writer or two. I’m not sure what I was expecting…but it wasn’t RL Stine.

Admittedly Stine is an old favourite so I was very glad to see his Goosebump stuff in every bookshop. Of course he wasn’t alone - Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series is here too, though shelved with the adult fiction and bestsellers.

Outside of those two though there doesn’t seem to be much available - at least not in Beijing. The bookshops have huge amounts of floor space dedicated to children’s books, all of it given over to prescribed school books. (Some of which was probably fiction and I just couldn’t tell)

Reading for kids is evolving in China - mostly around multi-media - as books are being released in bundles with DVDs or VCDs. It is limited to younger audiences, there has been little or no move yet by Chinese publishers to try them on other markets, though they are watching to see how successful the markets are.

One Chinese author Rao Xueman has been very open about the importance of authors adapting to new media - and says that young readers have become less satisfied with reading word by word. Pictures, music and video are all important parts of the sales package now.

That said, the production values of Rao’s videos are great and they don’t come cheap - Roa has the circulation figures to compensate her publisher (Sandglass is up around 1.8 million copies).

Maybe Shanghai will have more to say.

Written by david. in: Reading, childrens books | Tags: , ,

No Comments »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress | Content is copyright David Maybury, unless otherwise stated.