Taipei International Book Exhibition 2016 closes on positive note with increased student attendance
2016/04/22

The 2016 Taipei International Book Exhibition wrapped up on Feb. 21 in Taipei City, tallying up 1,706 booths, 875 activities, 536 copyright sessions, and 308 cross-platform matchmaking meetings during the six-day event. Equally remarkable was the attendance of over 10,000 students from all levels of schools benefitting from the “back-to-school” initiative starting from this year. Overall, this year’s book fair attracted more than half a million showgoers.

Featuring the theme of “Freedom Love,” the Guest of Honor Hungary pavilion was another highlight of the 2016 edition. The successful cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Hungary were further spotlighted at the closing ceremony with the presentation of traditional Hungarian embroidery by master Károline Tóth to Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture (MOC).

MOC Political Deputy Minister Ping-kun Tsai  praised the TIBE for strengthening its role as the hub of professional publishing knowledge in Asia, adding that he expects the event to become the window for Western publishers to access the Asian market while showcasing Taiwan’s rich creativity to the world.

According to event organizer Taipei Book Fair Foundation (TBFF), three goals were achieved this year. In-depth cultural exchanges found great success in the Hungary pavilion and the theme exhibition on celebrated writer Eileen Chang, while reading promotion took root among schoolchildren in remote regions and underprivileged communities through the TIBE’s back-to-school initiative. Further headway was achieved in international exchanges and copyrights trade as well.

Dr. Dezső Szabó, director of international affairs at Hungary’s Balassi Institute, noted the advantage of Taiwan as a window to the world due to its prime location in the Asia Pacific. He said Hungary’s participation this year served to promote not only the country’s literature but also its unique culture. It is a mistake not to form the habit of reading in life, Dr. Szabo said, and that every person should pick up good books to read, “Especially Hungarian books,” he added.

Hungarian Trade Office Representative Janos Ferenc Albert also lauded this year’s TIBE as an important platform for cultural exchanges between the two countries, and said he expects such a strong tie to continue growing in the future.

Also at the closing ceremony, TBFF Chair Doris Wang announced the completion of her three-year tenure and handed over the reins to her successor James Chao. Given that Eastern thinking and culture are on the rise, Chao said he will strive to bring Taiwan’s publishing industry into the global scene, capitalizing on the country’s publishing freedom, diversity, democracy, and creativity. Efforts will also be focused on cross-domain integration of the book fair with art, culture, digital trends, and music, with the aim of reinforcing Taiwan’s role as a stronghold of reading and publishing.

The two TBFF leaders also won praise from Locus Publishing Co. Chairman Rex How, one of the organization’s founders, who noted that this year’s event has found numerous new development directions while meeting challenges posed by changes in the market. How said he expects the next edition of TIBE to usher in a new era for the global publishing industry via adjustments, transformation, and upgrading.

Seeking to create new reading and event experiences, the TIBE has spared no efforts in continuous innovation. The inaugural “Exhibition of Eileen’s Style” drew visitors spanning different age groups to appreciate Eileen Chang’s literary art. There was also the first-ever wedding held in the pavilion of the Indie Publisher League; the wildly popular book signing by Andrzej Sapkowski, author of the bestselling “The Witcher” series; the book launch featuring 13 schools from remote regions around the country; and the virtual reality showcase on famed illustrator Jimmy Liao’s All of My World Is You. These are in addition to the record-setting hit rate achieved by the Facebook film of Hungarian FolkEmbassy’s collaboration with Hong Kong dancers in 24 hours after it went public.

The Hungary pavilion and the Eileen Chang exhibition, two highlights of the 2016 TIBE, drew crowds packing the six-day event. The former’s 41 activities—including 12 folk music performances, four cooking sessions, and six Hungarian wine introductions—averaged an attendance of over 100 people, while the 19 literary and academic seminars accumulated more than 400. The Hungarian illustration workshop and illustrator showcase at Hall 3 were also met with enthusiastic response. Through these activities, local showgoers were introduced to a wide selection of Hungarian publications as well as folk arts and fine dining.

In addition, the 60th anniversary exhibition on the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 received unanimous acclaim from the participants. Overall, more than 500 Hungarian fiction and children’s book titles were displayed during the event; especially noteworthy is the talk given by famed filmmaker Péter Gárdos, who went on to sell 300 copies of his novel Fever at Dawn at a single book signing event.

Among over a dozen Hungarian publishers attending the event, most expressed delight in building connections with Taiwan’s publishing industry and business representatives from all over Asia. In all, they participated in 20 rights meetings and were satisfied with the results achieved during the course. A standout was Móra Publishing House, the children’s book publisher met with enthusiastic response, including requests from Korea and Vietnam.

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