Foreign Rights Manager Clive Newman spent the lead-up to Chinese New Year at Taiwan’s Taipei International Book Exhibition.
’My only experience of an Asian metropolis has been several visits to Singapore and I had no idea of what to expect in Taipei. The city proved to be a bustling, crowded collection of very tall buildings, including a tower which until very recently was the tallest building in the world, standing alongside more traditional establishments. In some ways the city seems to be not unlike Sydney (except for the smog and the fleets of scooter riders). I was lucky to see the early installations of the decorations for Chinese New Year – the scale and style emphasising the importance of the festival on the Chinese calendar.
The number of committed Taiwanese book buyers at the Taipei International Book Exhibition was a real eye-opener. The list of the country’s publishing houses runs to more than 140 pages, and the city boasts some wonderful bookshops. In addition to the domestic exhibitors, hundreds of publishers from Europe, Oceania, America and Africa participated.
The local Austrade office worked with the Australian Publishers Association to build and staff a display stand branded Australia Unlimited with titles from eight Australian publishers and a leading literary agency.
Our Taiwanese agents organised a schedule of appointments with publishers whose programs they thought might match those of the Fremantle Press list. I met with sixteen of them over three days and all were enthusiastic about the Australian display. Most interest for us focused on our young adult fiction titles. Junior fiction titles and picture books also attracted attention and reading copies will be rushed off to publishers this week to catch them before the break for Chinese New Year.
The week was exhilarating, if exhausting, and unforgettable. We hear a lot these days about developing markets in Asia and I would like to think this visit will be the forerunner to Fremantle further exploring the opportunities in the region.’