Taipei International Book Exhibition scores resounding success, anticipates Germany as 2019 theme country
2018/03/27

 

26 February 2018 / 2018TIBE
 

The 2018 Taipei International Book Exhibition closed Feb. 11th to wide acclaim, with 359 overseas publishers from 60 countries and 325 local players participating in this year’s event.

 

While congratulating the book fair on furthering Taiwan’s international communication, Secretary-General Chen Chi-ming of the Ministry of Culture also extended his gratitude to this year’s theme country Israel for diversifying the cultural palette of the exposition, which bodes well for Germany, the 2019 successor.

 

According to Chairman James. C. M. Chao of Taipei Book Fair Foundation, the attendance reached 530,000 this year, alongside substantial gains in copyright exchange and content promotion. Overall, the 2018 edition saw a 10% growth in the number of publishers, participating in 1,330 copyright sessions during the event. In addition, the number of topical seminars and forums also increased 27% to 1,180, averaging 200 activities per day.

 

Asher Yarden, the representative of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, said the 2018 TIBE marked the apex of his diplomatic career, as he saw enhanced exchange between the two sides via the theme country initiative. This year, four renowned Israeli writers visited the exposition for in-person interaction with local readers. Also, a vast array of Israeli cultural experiences was on offer during the event, including lunar new year couplets in Hebrew, Rummikub games, VR tours, and fresh produce from the region.

 

Yarden’s sentiments were echoed by Director General Martin Eberts of the German Institute Taipei during the ceremony, who praised the open and liberal publishing scene of Taiwan and said he expected to carry forward the book fair’s literary spirit next year.



 

According to TBFF executive director Hsiu Yin Wang, the Best Pavilion Award—launched in 2017—saw especially keen competition this year as the ballots were cast by both the showgoers and professional judges. This year’s award for outstanding large pavilion design went to Joint Exhibition of National University Presses, and Chi Ming Publishing Co. won the top honor for small pavilions.



 

Overall organization of the exposition this year was met with warm welcome from international participants. Japanese and Korean pavilions continued the success from previous years, with the former boasting over 70 publishers engaged in 100-plus copyright meetings. The British, French, and German pavilions comprised 10-20 publishers each, in addition to scores of copyright exchange sessions during the event. The robust vitality exhibited by TIBE won high praises from Nicolas Roche, director general of Bureau International de l'Édition Français, Bärbel Becker, director of International Projects at the Frankfurter Buchmesse, and Gloria Bailey, head of the U.K. Pavilion.

 

Equally enthusiastic were first-time participants Brazil, Finland, and Quebec. Brazil showcased the Prêmio Jabuti winners and select antique books in this year’s book fair, while Director Tiia Stranden of Finnish Literature Exchange and President Simon de Jocas of Les Éditions les 400 Coups both expected expanded participation in future editions.

 

International writers who visited the TIBE this year included such big names as British illustrator Steve Antony, bestselling Japanese novelists Honobu Yonezawa and Banana Yoshimoto, and picture book writer Yuichi Kimura. The vibrant cityscape of Taipei was also held in high regard by American thriller writer Wendy Walker.

 

On the front of professional publishing exchange, dedicated activities such as the Frankfurt Publishers Training Program and International Publishing Forum all drew capacity. Managing director Nakamachi Hideki of Japan Book Publishers Association encouraged the participants to adopt a more positive stance toward the readers in face of declining book sales, as well as flexing their marketing muscles to satisfy the readers’ demand and tailor-making publications for the readers.

 

The diverse lineup of activities and celebrity appearances were credited with bolstering the attendance. Both Locus Publishing Co. and China Times Publishing Co. attributed robust sales to the presence of popular writers like Jimmy Liao and Banana Yoshimoto at the exposition. Cat’s Never Wrong—the title mentioned by President Tsai Ing-wen at the opening ceremony—was also one of the bestsellers during the event.

 

Also selling like hotcakes were award winners, history books and light novels. According to INK Publishing Co. and Book Republic, award-winning titles were the real winners this year, while Gaea Books Co. Ltd. pointed out the ongoing popularity of young adult books and their widening acceptance among more mature readers, a remark echoed by Cite Publishing Ltd. The sales of travel and history books was buoyed up by the theme country pavilion of Israel this year, with The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BC - 1492 AD (by Linking Publishing Co.) and A History of Israel (by San Min Book Co. Ltd.) finding sizeable audiences.

 

Continuing the campaign of free admission for underage visitors, the book fair served as an optimal opportunity for families to stock up on quality reading, in addition to a wide array of board games and stationery for children. The family-friendly environment was further boosted by the presence of the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade mascot Bravo in Hall 3 of the exposition.

 

Following the resounding success of the 2018 event, the 2019 edition of TIBE is scheduled for Feb. 12th -17th, featuring the rich and profound culture of theme country Germany.  

 

 

 

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