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Children's book publisher in Asia
To feel the heartbeat of the children's book markets in Asia is not an easiest task." On the one hand, this is a vast area with different taste for original texts, translation, image book and YA-title. Generally speaking, photo albums are still the most sought-after export in the area. The YA title is beginning to glitter, with no better example than Nahoko Uehashi's Moribito range, winners of the Mildred L. Batchelder Awards 2008, now available in English, Simplified Chinese, Spanish and Italians.
We have contacted some of the largest agents in the area to give us an overview of four of the most dynamic markets in Asia-China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The Japanese children's book industry is steady. The original is growing in strength, also in the YA segment," says Solan Natsume, a senior officer (children's department) at the Tokyo-based Tuttle-Mori Agency.
Recently, the company was selling several original works, among them Hitomi Kanehara's Auto Fiction and Yoshitomo Nara's Lonesome Puppy, while signed contracts for such major US and UK publications as If I Stop, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, On the You Were Born and The Fairy Chronicles franchise. Concerning the big-name export writers, Yoshida notes: "For illustrated albums, of course, the best known of all is Taro Gomi, which is widely used in Chronicle and Kane/Miller.
Also we have Mitsumasa Anno, edited by Philomel Books, and Komako Sakai, by Scholastic and also Chronicle Books. "Yoshida and her staff will be promoting over 100 publications - new and existing vendors - at Bologna 2009 next months. In Korea, Sue Yang, Chairwoman of the Eric Yang Agency, says: "The children's markets have been evolving since 2004.
During 2007, the sector more than doubled to $743 million from 2006 and is currently the top of the booksegments. "The emphasis is less on illustration literature than on literature and education degrees, especially English-language study material and Edu-music.
"Hesperus' and Wandeuk's Hesperus, edited by Munhakdonge and Changbi, have encouraged the sale of YA-origins. Tales from schools and teenagers are also fashionable. "In terms of translations, image-bound textbooks and fiction/YA magazines are dominating the Korea bookarket. It took care of Ancient Darkness, Artemis Fowl and the Young Bond franchise and auctioned all three, with the six-volume chroniles receiving the highest advances ($6,000 per title).
With a book rate of 3% and a retail of RMB10-15 for youth magazines, a translation must reach at least 30,000 issues in order to reach the break-even point. The RMB25 cost of RMB25s is higher, but the break-even point is about the same," says Kwanten, who founded a new affiliate, the Paradise Literary Agency, last year to promote the work of Asian writers (YA and adults) in Honolulu.
It' s a blurred image of a growth sector, a steady sector and falling turnover. An increasing number of original texts come from Asia, while well-known translation services continue to be an essential part of the publishing programme. Asia's strong annual attendance at the Bologna Book Fair demonstrates the region's expanding children's sector and its craving for trade-offs, import or export.
On the following pages you will find 15 publishers from China, India, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Of course there are many other children's publishers like Jieli and 21 Century from China, Fukuinkan Shoten and Riron-sha from Japan, GimmYoung and Yeowon from Korea and Heryin and Grimm Press from Taiwan. With BIR, the Stop! range shows no sign of a slowdown.
"I' m telling you, the protagonist in these stories is Jeany. Since November 2006, five 72-page editions have been released and more than 35,000 units distributed; the copyrights have been purchased by publishers in China, Taiwan and Thailand. BIR, part of the Minumsa Publishing Group, has 1,200 children's magazines, among them the Magic School Bus range (8.4 million units sold), Momo, Der Zahlenteufel and The Boy Who Is Always Linea.
"Even though translation accounts for about 85% of our shortlist, BIR original books are becoming more and more people. For example, 250,000 units of Rchoo Choo have been shipped and are now available in Japanese. We' ve also been selling the zoo to the US and France, while Seven Friends in a Lady's Chamber is now also available in Japanese and French," says Song, and adds that Western publishers are susceptible to original Korean works, while US publishers are working more and more directly with Japanese upholsterers.
Twenty-three years after its creation, Borim's catalog has 400 books, among them best-selling Adventure of a Blue Crab, Whose Shadow Am I, How I Caught a Cold and This Is My Familys and translation work by Babbette Cole, Brian Wildsmith, Tashima Seijo and Ryoji Arai. "Each year we are adding about 20 songs, mostly originals," Eom added, whose most widely export is Underground Garden (available in Chinese, French, Spanish, Catalan and Italian).
Finally, six million examples of his adventure in Taiwan have been thrown off the bookshelves. Juvenile has many well-known authors of modern childhood books such as Yang Hongying and Cao Wenxuan (A Red Gourd and The Straw House). A 12-volume fairy tale book about the 12 signs of the animal kingdom has already shipped over 3 pieces.
Six million specimens. The Taekwondo Queen, for example, was shipped to Vietnam. Iwanami Shoten publishes 30 to 35 children's books annually, 80% of which are translated. "From a historical point of view, we have compiled a diversified and comprehensive listing, which consists mainly of translations," says Rika Ito, International Law Manger. "The Little Prince, Winnie the Pooh, The Hobbit, Curious George, The Chronicles of Narnia and the Tales of Earthsea are some of the best translation.
"and there are now 20 different kinds of Japan. We' re over six. Three million units since 1953," says Ito, whose staff is working with NHK Enterprises, the merchandiser of the ape in Japan's CURIUS George, to bring the adorable ape to the world.
"We' ve translating The Misterious Edge of the Heroic World, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, a new version of Pippi Longstocking and Lugalbanda and are now working on new tracks by Tonke Dragt and Andreas Steinhoefel. "Meanwhile, the original songs The Magic Drum, The Crab and the Monkey and The King and the Nine Brothers are available in Arabic, Bulgarian, Japanese, French as well as KORYO.
The Iwanami Library of Juvenile Literature and A Pocketful of Japan Folktales - two of Iwanami' most important collections. Publishers and librarians consider the first range, which came onto the market in 1950, to be indispensable. The 73-year-old Kaisei-sha has published many of Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, Ezra Jack Keats, Tomi Ungerer, Pat Hutchins and Don Freeman's best sellers.
"We' re four short. The Very Hungry Caterpillar has 5 million issues, and the pop-up issue was released earlier this year with a circulation of 70,000 copies," says Yuko Nonaka, who is responsible for overseas law. The Kaisei-sha Originale have also been released on US territory and beyond. "In terms of exports, we made about 1,300 stocks and concentrated on the USA," says Nonaka.
Bestsellers are Taro Gomis bus stops (to Chronicle Books), Satomi Ichikawas Nora-Serie ("Philomel Books") and Nahoko Uehashi's Moribito: Keeper of the Spirit (to Arthur A. Levine Books). Moribito, an 11-volume YA range, is attracting international interest. Taiwan ese Sharp Point Press will release a total of seven Moribito publications, and the Italian Salani Editore will release the first three books in the next few years.
Editora WMF Martins Fontes, a publishing house in Brazil, has also subscribed to this edition. Kaisei-sha had many best-sellers in Germany with around 3,000 of them. Nontan, a 35-volume full-length illustrated book collection, has for example already been selling more than 30 million times, the Play Boooks for Babies range about 10 million. "But the highly acclaimed Nontan franchise has not yet made it to the US, which we would like to do differently at Bologna 2009," says Nonaka, who will also present Ryoji Arai's The Sun Organ and two new book to count; A House of 100 stories that have been selling 100,000 in six month's time; and 100 in total.
"This year, our business will release 100 new works, 16 of them by our children's department," says Eisuke Otake, who has already produced four illustrated textbooks and two fiction titles. However, Kodansha's greatest achievement is the Aoitori range for medium sized people. "We' ve just launched the 769th issue, and our circulation is over 35 million units.
We have more than 5,000 Aoitori Book Clubs members around the world, including 100 senior writers, who help us edit and review galleys," says Otake. These full-length multi-genre stories have an approximate length of 280 pages with manga-style images. His best-selling books included four-volume The Enchanted Castle (160,000 copies), twelve-volume The Young Innkeeper Is a Primary School Kid (1. 6 million copies) and 23-volume Computer Investigations Case Files (3. 4 million copies).
Obviously, this unique collection was awarded the Librarians' Prize in 2006 and 2007. Aesop' s theater, a 3-D animation show, takes a group of actors assembled by Wolfsführer Aesop and his chestnut, hare and pork lovers on a journey from city to city, telling the tales. The 39-part set, which is aimed at four to seven-year-olds, has already distributed more than 35,000 DVD kits with 10 DVD each in Korea since its start in September 2007.
The Kyowon is known for such original works as the 100-volume Korea fairy tales (over 500,000 copies sold), 20-volume The Three Kingdoms (350,000 sets) and 17-volume Korea story (400,000 sets). The three kingdoms in the USA are just as successful: the 60-volume animated fairy tales and the 180-volume World Picture Book, both from Japan, have already delivered a million and 800,000 kits respectively.
Kyowon presents a Bologna Weltliteraturreihe and Wizmaker, a CD and work book programme that help Bologna to learn English while acquiring a general understanding of the natural sciences, sociology, maths and the arts. A member of the United Daily News Group, Link-ing is published for 8-12 year-olds and is best known for its Let's Read family.
"The 36-volume edition follows the curricula of the elementary and high schools with the aim of making important material available to the schoolchildren. "We' ve started a range of educational and shop advertising campaign to advertise this show. "By the way, Link-ing runs six shops selling journals and other publishers' work.
Pappel is a very productive publishing house and in Japan a trademark that publishes about 390 children's magazines a year, 90% original. The Zukkoke Trio, about three good acquaintances (50 books published) and Kaiketsu Zorori, about a legendary chestnut (47 books published), have already paid more than 23 million sales. "Zorori is the most popular fairy-tale character for kids between the ages of six and ten," says Yumiko Urano.
"Indeed, when a new band is released, it almost immediately comes out on the industry's best-selling hitlists. "The Zorori animation serie has already been bought by a major francophone press group. Others such as Coco, Little Mouse's Red Vest, Little Mouse Wants an Apple and Who's Hi? have been bought by US, Australia and New Zealand publishers.
Numerous others went to publishers such as Gallimard, L'ecole des loisirs and Bayard Editions. "Urano, who sells Oof to Taiwan, Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands and France, adds: "Our top exporters are I Say, You Say, Who's Hi? and Little Cub Oof. The most recent successful translations are the Little Genie and Little Princesses and Diary of a Wimpy Kid ranges.
Pappel recently released Eiko Kadono, the best-selling writer of Kiki's Delivery Service, a book of pictures called Letter's from Young Witches. That will be one of the many songs Urano will be bringing to Bologna. The newly revitalised range now comprises 60 publications per year, compared to only 20. With two prints, Piccolo (for illustrated books) and Deep In (for references ), it has also joined the door-to-door sales channels.
"We' ve launched six sets of these impressions and are about to start a dedicated English immersion series," says Eric Yang, RH Asia Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. The Junior Random, as the children's department is known, concentrates on literary publications, educational comic strips and Edutainment collections. To date Junior Random has issued 380 publications, 60% of which are translated.
For example, the Fantasy Mat range has more than 450,000 kits and is now available in Thai, Vietnamese and French. In this 17-volume cartoon serial, Armageddon uses combat strategy to help kids become the king of mathematics. In addition, there are the bestsellers The Spelled Village (15,000 units since it was launched a year ago) and The Story of Briquet Road for Children:
Wonderful Loser, as well as Storia di Iqbal (60,000 copies) and The Rules translation. "Next come the translation of The Tunnels and The Wednesday Wars," Yang added, whose staff is also working on several lines on young adult literacy and learning that will be built on the curricula of the university. Like the name says (which in Hangul means "four seasons"), Sakyejul provides textbooks from monochrome (A Boy Who Is Looking for His and An Old Man Looking for His Coow, An Old Man Observing Birds) to full-colour (New Year's Clothing, Tigers in One Rope).
Ssireum, Korean Traditional Wrestling, was awarded the country's Children's Book Prize in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Zakyejul began in 1982 as a publishers in the arts and sociology. Today, 50% of the large children's publication programme is illustrated literature. "We' ve published 230 songs with 50 new songs a year," says Copyright Director Kang Hyun-joo, whose Something for School and New Year's Clothing teams recently divested to Kane/Miller and New Year' Clothing to Chan-Okditions.
I therefore anticipate that Korea's position as special guests at Bologna 2009 will further enhance the comprehension and esteem of the country's illustrated textbooks and children's music. The work on several new tracks aimed at the show is making serious progress, among them Two People, Tigress in Love and Sun and Moon.
The winner of the Bologna Ragazzi Award 2008, The Night Life of Trees, is an example of Tara Book's uniquely hand-made work. So far, her teammates have released 38 children's magazines, some of which Wolf himself hasritten. "The uniqueness and qualitiy of our handcrafted products make them a favourite with those who know Tara Books," says Wolf.
"But, like many other publishers, our greatest challenges are our exposure. We' re always looking for ways to make our work more widely known, especially in North America. "As soon as folks see a Tara book, our listing goes on sale. Wolf adds: "We also have a number of handicraft related publications.
For example, the four-volume row "Everyday Materials" comes from classroom work shops, while Sophie Benini Pietromarchi's book "Das Buch" is a pictorial examination of the craft that appeals to young and old alike. "Bologna has several new books in the pipeline, including The Flight of Mermaids, a feministic re-narration of Andersen's The Little Mermaid with works by Bhajju Shyam (who illustrates trees) and Tsunami, a story of the 2004 catastrophe.
With Tulika, a book about strokes and loops has proved to be a great success. "Our first release, Line and Circle is now available in three bi-lingual versions, among them Arabic, Turkish, Arabic, Czech, Korean, Hebr. Croatian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish and Vietnamese. This English-Tamil issue has already sells over 10,000 copies," says Radhika Menon, the original Line and Circle design for a TV show for schoolchildren.
There was a lively sale of copyrights with 120 original copies in the catalog. For example, My Mother's Sari and Takdir the Tiger Cub have been published in English, Bulgarian, Spanish, French, Spanish, Italian, German as well as Italian. "Approximately 40 stocks were sold for export. "We have also translating a folk tale High in the Sky and are working with the Chennai-based Indo-Korean Centre on other children's stories with authors and graphic designers from both the world.
For Woongjin Junior, 29 years in the store means a big listing (110 new stocks in 2008 alone) and just as big salespeople. It' s All Right, a colourful illustrated book, has a circulation of over 150,000 and is available in Chinese. The 94-page notion of a pupil in unending trouble with his teacher and his schoolmates has produced over 670,000 pieces with copyrights acquired by five different nations, Germany among them," says Lee Ji-ye, Deputy Managge.
Most of Woongjin's songs have been chosen as great storybooks by the popular German publisher OpenKidZine.com (e.g. Heave-Ho! and My Insect Friends 123). It also has a diverse listing of environment issues such as Where Does Rains Come From? and Slop Slop Water, both of which have been awarded the Children's Environment Book to save the World for the Next 100 Years by a non-governmental organization.
Overall, the share of literature is 40% and somewhat lower for non-fiction. Some 34 Penguin Classic songs, Cyberiad and Ulysses Moore are among the songs that have been published.