Publishers talk on rights and further plans
Source: China Publishing and Media Journal Author: 2017-03-10 11:34
On the eve of The London Book Fair, we invite several Chinese publishers and their foreign partners to talk about the cooperation, the memorable issues which touch them or their further plans in publishing.
CEO, Berkshire Publishing Group,USA
Berkshire Publishing Group（宝库山） has become known for our award-winning books about China, and for publications on world history and environmental sustainability translated into Chinese.
Our new partnership with our old friends at the Encyclopedia of China Publishing House(ECPH) is the culmination of a dream I had in 2001, when I made my first trip to China with my children, I fell in love with China: the conviviality and humor of the people I met, the sense of possibility, the energy and enthusiasm, and the wonderful food. As an environmental author, with two books translated into Chinese, I was even then acutely aware of the influence China would have. That trip set me on a new path as a publisher committed to building bridges between the US and China.
A landmark event along that path took place in November 2007, when I visited the ECPH for the first time. Seeing the scale of the ECPH's Encyclopedia of China, I felt awed, but I also felt a great sense of collegiality and common purpose.
We continued to meet with our colleagues from ECPH, in Beijing, London, Frankfurt, and New York, where I invited them to visit the National Committee on US-China Relations, an organization I belong to, in 2012. The NCUSCR has promoted constructive relations for over fifty years. A past president of the NCUSCR, John Holden, now associate dean at Peking University, was a translator for the ECPH delegation to Washington DC in 1980.
Deng Xiaoping had encouraged an agreement between Encyclopedia Britannica and ECPH to translate and publish the entire Encyclopedia Britannica into Chinese. Holden says, “Those were heady days in US-China relations, and there was a lot of excitement in both countries that such an enterprise was happening.” Today, we are completing the circle, with our initiative to make the Encyclopedia of China available in English.
And the China Encyclopedia USA is also a beginning. We intend to make it a foundation for increased cooperation and an expanding presence for ECPH in global publishing. The idea of creating an IEC arose as we discussed our common interest in people-to-people exchange. This is especially important now that China has joined the IPA. The IEC will facilitate serious dialogue about issues facing publishers and authors, practical internships and training, and the development of tools and systems for bilingual and international publishing.
Assistant President, ECPH, China
ECPH and Berkshire will celebrate the founding of the International Editorial Center (IEC) at London Book Fair this year.
ECPH and Berkshire share the same mission: to offer knowledge for our common future, and specialize in encyclopedia publishing and academic publishing respectively.
In April 2001, during the course of editing the Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, Karen Christensen took her Children, then 12 and 15, to China for the first time. After visiting Beijing, Xi'an, Urumqi and Dunhuang, they were deeply attracted by China. A few month later, news came that Beijing would be the host of the 2008 Olympic Games. Karen realized it cannot be ignored any more that China would play a very important role in the world. So she decided to help other westerners learn more about China. From then on, Berkshire began to focus on China and published series of China related books. Tom, her son, began to study Chinese and has worked in Beijing since college.
The publication of encyclopedia requires large amount of inputs of effort and time, but with slow outputs. With sincere willingness of cooperation, ECPH and Berkshire have been working on in-depth discussion and finally made agreement on strategic cooperation and co-developed project. The two presses will work together to publish p+e readings about China's traditional culture and contemporary development to western readers, which includes three parts:Berkshire does the localization of ECPH's great encyclopedia works, as well as promotion and marketing, then both parties move to co-plan titles introducing China based on western market, and work together to offer China related online database.
Through years' efforts, Encyclopedia of Chinese Civilization Series, a ten-title work introducing China's philosophy, history, cultural relics, arts, science and technologies, etc, has been published by Berkshire. The digital version is also brewing. To fulfill the goal in the second stage, both ECPH and Berkshire agree that mutual visits of editors, more communication, learning from each other and stronger connections are necessary. So both parties decide to found the IEC in each own press to get better understanding mutually.
It took ECPH and Berkshire ten years to found the IEC. In the next ten years, we believe that the IEC would offer more knowledge about China for readers who want to be part of the world.
Publisher, Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, USA
I have long been interested in the notion that great children's books can reach across borders, exposing kids to cultures other than their own and encouraging them to think about the wider world. Over the years I have been privileged to introduce books from many countries to American readers and pleased to see many of the books I have originated in the US translated and published abroad. But until recently I had very little understanding or knowledge of the children's publishing community in China.
My company is very fortunate to have a cooperative publishing arrangement with the great Chinese publisher 21st Century Publishing Group(21st Century). They translate and produce exceptionally handsome Chinese editions of books I've published including Philip and Erin Stead's A Sick Day for Amos McGee, winner of the Caldecott Medal, our most distinguished picture book prize, and books by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, whose work has garnered two Caldecott Honors and The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award.
In November of 2015, Philip and Erin Stead and I had the opportunity of visiting China at the invitation of 21st Century. We spent several days in Beijing, meeting with our colleagues there and discussing the picture book process with the 21st Century editors. We also made a presentation at the National Library, then moved on to Shanghai, doing presentations both at the Shanghai International Children's Book Fair and other locations. One of my greatest thrills was having the opportunity to meet with Chinese children's book editors at a literary salon. In a plush amphitheatre usually reserved for storytelling we were able to tell our own stories about our respective publishing careers, discovering in the process the many bonds we shared.
What impressed me most, was the care and attention to detail given to the books published in China, in terms of text, illustration, design, as well as production values. While western style picture books are a relatively recent development in Chinese publishing, it's clear that great strides have been made and that books currently being originated in China are of exceptional quality. I'm particularly excited that our author, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, will have the opportunity to visit both Beijing and Shanghai this November, again at the invitation of our publishing friends. I look forward to many more years of cooperation and to the sharing of publishing knowledge with our good friends in China.
General Manager, Macmillan Century Consulting & Service Company Limited, China
Macmillan Century (MC) is a joint venture company of Macmillan Publishing Group and 21st Century Publishing Group founded in 2012. During the last 5 years, MC has published the simplified Chinese version of nearly 400 titles for Macmillan and gradually become a popular brand of children's books in China. We have learned from this form of collaboration that rights trading is not only the buying and selling of rights, but is also a chance for both sides to communicate in terms of culture, experiences, and visions.
On November, 2015, during the China Shanghai International Children's Book Fair, MC invited American picture book authors Philip Stead and Erin Stead, the youngest Caldecott winners, along with their editor Neal Porter for a series of activities in Beijing and Shanghai. MC has published 8 of Philip and Erin's titles, including the Caldecott Medal winner A Sick Day for Amos McGee.
During their meetings with Chinese readers, editors, authors and critics, Philip and Erin's account of creating picture books and Neal Porter's views toward the relationship between authors and editors were very memorable to the attendees. In the mean time, the American writers and editor were impressed by the passion for picture books of Chinese readers and the sophistication of Chinese children's publishers. This form of communication has become bigger than just trading the rights of one or two books; it is an exchange of ideas and views that is beneficial to the promotion and understanding of foreign titles.
In 2017, another author from Macmillan, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, will come to China on November. Laura has won the Caldecott Honor twice, and 8 of her books have been published by MC in China. We believe Laura will bring a new round of communication between Chinese and American publishers.
At a symposium on bilingual learner's dictionaries held in Oxford, 2014, participants from Oxford University Press(OUP) and The Commercial Press(CP), as well as Chinese academics, discussed why the Chinese-bilingual Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary has been so successful. The first reason on which all agreed was the strength of the partnership between OUP and CP, two publishing houses with a long tradition of excellence in publishing.
The CP and OUP have enjoyed a successful business partnership lasting over 35 years. We believe that the strength of this partnership is due in part to two things — our shared goal of producing products that are of the highest quality and the most academic/educational value; and the close collaboration we have fostered between both publishing teams.
Since the early 1980s, OUP and CP have co-published more than 60 print dictionary / grammar / linguistics titles in over 120 different bindings in China. The partnership is regarded as one of the most successful cases in its category, as the products have won great critical and popular acclaim and gained the lion's share in the market.
OUP and CP are leading lexical publishers in the UK and China respectively. We have picked the right subjects to help us reach quick and considerable success. OUP have brought new methodologies and technologies to the projects, which further enhance the efficiency and quality of the work; CP has provided total support in terms of sales and marketing, which lays the excellent foundation of promoting both the co-published titles and the OUP brand in China.
The relationship between OUP and CP has been beyond what we had thought about licensor and licensee. CP consistently bring in new ideas of production and up-to-date market intelligence, from trends to policies, so that both parties can design viable strategies and make wise decisions in due course. This is the key to the thriving collaboration.
Though the sales of print dictionaries remain surprisingly strong in China, OUP and CP have seen the growing demands for digital products. A forum on digital publishing and business development was held in Hangzhou, 2015. The co-developed apps have received favourable reception from the market.
It has been a fruitful journey for both OUP and CP. We expect more and greater success from such partnership and probably from more different areas.
Vice General Manager, The Commercial Press, China
In 1979, Mr. Robert Burchfield, the Chief Editor of Oxford English Dictionary was invited to visit the Commercial Press by Mr. Chen Yuan, former General Manager and Editor-in-Chief of CP. Mr. Burchfield gave a speech under the title of On Lexicography, which was later translated and published. The visit set up a long-term partnership between OUP and CP.
Back in the early 1980s, China had not signed the Universal Copyright Convention. CP, however, offered to pay royalty to OUP. Silly as it might seem to be, Chen said:“Now that we are looking for partnership with foreign publishers, we should follow the general practice.”This laid a solid foundation for CP's long-standing cooperation with OUP.
As the business grew and operation expanded, both CP and OUP felt the need of a closer cooperation. In 2003, CP and OUP (China) held a press conference in Shanghai to announce plans to build a strategic and cooperative partnership.
As the partnership strengthened, CP and OUP bilingualized and published subsequent editions of Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary and developed niche products of Oxford Series. With joint efforts, CP and OUP had made Oxford learner's dictionary series an outstanding model of cooperation between Chinese publisher and foreign counterpart.
In 2013 BIBF, CP's General Manager Yu Dianli met with OUP delegates led by Adrian Mellor, Managing Director of Asia Education. Both parties agreed to further strengthen the business partnership. From then on CP and OUP have jointly held staff trainings, strategic meetings, symposiums and book launches regularly. All these have fostered great collaboration between the two excellent publishers and brought a rise for both sides in Chinese market when the global book market is shrinking.
Now the collaboration between CP and OUP has been upgraded to a new level. During 2016 BIBF, CP and OUP signed the memorandum on co-publishing the Chinese-English version of Xinhua Dictionary and Modern Chinese Dictionary. Based on this project, CP and OUP will endeavor to translate excellent Chinese content for the western audience.
The Commercial Press do look forward to achieving more amazing results with our great partner -Oxford University Press- in coming years.
Founder of Minedition, Germany
I feel blessed and grateful to have been introduced to CITIC Press two years ago by our agent Bardon China. And only 18 months ago I have met with the heads of CITICKIDS and their committed editors in their Beijing office.
Meeting them in person and seeing their commitment to beautifully crafted children's books convinced me to step into a close collaboration with this publishing house. CITIC is big and has an interesting list of books, including international bestsellers. Their marketing is professional and aggressive (in a positive sense of this word), sales of last year were far beyond my expectations. CITIC owns a range of beautiful bookstores as well as airport-shops all over China.
But that was not what made me feel so confident and sure when entering into an exclusive collaboration agreement with them.
I was touched when I watched them all, including the president, looking at our books, turning the pages carefully, enjoying details of our artistically illustrated books, production and art, listening to my storytelling, that's what I found so agreeable. And after all we found out that we share a closely related philosophy.
That meeting made us be sure and feel confident that this publishing house will be just right for a closer collaboration. We promised each other to try and see how we collaborate — after more than a year of collaboration I was not disappointed at all, I hope they feel the same about me.
Their production of our books is stunning, just like our original editions, their editing seems so carefully done to me when I see the judgement and the knowledge of their young and enthusiastic editors (Somehow It seemed they know more about my books and their creators than I do).
We both hope that children and our audience (between 4 and 99 years) will enjoy the books, just like we enjoyed making them. And to inspire children, open their eyes for beautifully designed things. Let their phantasy grow and get active themselves. And after all, contribute to a better world of tolerance, understanding and peace on our wonderful planet.
CITICKITS-minedition introduces beautifully crafted picture books that open the door to the world — created by authors and illustrators from around the globe.
It is one of our goals to introduce Chinese artists, illustrators and authors and publish them internationally.
International Publishing Center, China Renmin University Press,China
After six years' hard work, the English version of Art of China is presented to the world. When I hold the two volumes of Art of China, the recollections of the Cambridge publishers come back to me.
First one,the tolerant and liberal Stephen Bourne. It seems to me that Stephen Bourne follows the “actionless governance” principle to work as the CEO of Cambridge University Press (CUP). In August, 2010, on the reception after the Foreign Experts Forum held together by CUP and CRUP, Stephen shared his favorite red wine airlifted from England, talking and laughing with everyone. You could hardly associate this man with boring growth curve and stressful work. It is said that he overrode all objections on the Cambridge Chinese Library topic discussion to accept many Chinese Scholars' work.
Then I wondered, if our Art of China could have a chance?
The second one,the brisk and professional Andrew Brown. In January, 2010, when Andrew Brown and his academic publication team visited CRUP, he saw the newly published Korean version of Art of China. He was deeply attracted by the fluent and beautiful words as well as the exquisite and precious pictures of the book. Andrew is a very experienced publisher and he decided to make the four volumes of Art of China into two volumes and recommended to the regular catalogue of Cambridge Library.
Later, Art of China was included in the Chinese library of Cambridge and got the financial support from “China Book International Program”.
Third one,the rigorous and beautiful Lucy Rhymer. Translating and editing of a book is a very laborious and boring work which was assigned to Lucy Rhymer. Unfortunately, the first translator of this title died at an early age. Lucy had to find other qualified translators and finish the translations in time. Though there's much pressure on publication deadline, Lucy sticked to the quality first. Then she found James Lin from Fitzwilliam Museum to continue the translation and finally the two volumes of Art of China are presented to the readers.
Besides Stephen, Andrew and Lucy, I would also like to show my respect to the beautiful and capable Ms. Yuan Jiang, the efficient Mr. Zhu Qifei in Beijing office and the whole Cambridge editing team, without whom the Art of China could not win such a success.