All China all the time

By Carmen Comment

The Beijing Book Fair is underway, so it’s fitting that a number of news stories are filtering out about China and its untapped market for publishing industry to tap into. First out of the gate – what a surprise – is HarperCollins, which announced a series of new cooperative initiatives in China. They include the distribution of select Chinese works overseas, the publishing of Swordbird in the U.S., U.K. and China, and the launch of, an online Collins English-Chinese dictionary, according to a press release issued yesterday.

“We are committed to working closely with China’s publishing industry and are excited by our partnership with The People’s Literature Publishing House,” said HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman, who is in China to speak at the Beijing International Publishing Forum. “As a global publishing company, we see English translation of Chinese literary works as an under-served category and therefore an opportunity. Commenting on the agreement, Liu Yushan, President of The People’s Literature Publishing House, said, “It is our goal to enable people around the world to appreciate and enjoy works of Chinese literature. Our cooperation with HarperCollins will enable this.”

Penguin, too, is taking some of its properties into the Chinese market. The Guardian reports that classics such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Oliver Twist, Crime and Punishment and Moby Dick would be translated into Mandarin and sold under its logo in the world’s fastest growing book market. The first 10 novels will go on sale in November under a licensing deal with a local partner that could eventually see the UK firm marketing Chinese literature and the works of Marx and Engels to a population of 1.3 billion people.