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ART, COOKERY AND CHILDREN’S BOOKS ALL REPRESENTING ITALY’S BEST AT THE BEIJING INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR.
Children’s books, priceless reproductions of illustrated manuscripts from Italian libraries - such as the Ambrosian collection - and volumes with studies and drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. But there are also books on architecture, travel, cookery and lifestyle, as well as language learning manuals. This is just a small sample of what will be on show at the Italian stand at Beijing’s International Book Fair .
The event, being staged inside the International Exhibition Centre, has now reached its twentieth edition and is one of the sector’s most important diary dates. The Italian Trade Commission (ICE) will be coordinating a group of 11 companies that are some of Italy’s leading names in the publishing sector.
Visitors and sector professionals visiting the Italian stand will find themselves spoilt for choice, with children’s books, the importance of which will be bolstered by the presence of the drawings of prize-winning Italian illustrators who recently received awards at the Children’s book fair in Bologna, as well books on art and cookery. The main attraction in particular will be the culture of Italian food, with actual cookery demonstrations delivered by well-known chefs. All of this in a market which has some great potential: China, in fact, offers significant opportunities for business in copyrighted works, firstly because there is an increasingly greater openness towards foreign cultures and because, as a consequence of increased income, the population's spending power has grown.
Since 2006, the year in which ICE – the Italian Trade Commission - began collaborating with Chinese publishers and also organising the attendance at International Book Fair in Beijing, exports of Italian copyrighted works to Asia have risen constantly. In the sector for children’s books in particular, the area of Asia has become Italy's second largest market and it imports 21% of all sales (in 2007 this figure was only 14%).In general terms, Chinese publishing leads the way when it comes to the value of production, with a turnover of €185 billion, and its market reveals some staggering figures, when one considers that, in land of the dragon, children's publishing alone can count on 400 million readers under the age of 18, and of these 290 million are aged 14 and under.
For Chinese editors the importing of the copyrights for children’s books represents more than one third of sales and almost half the production.
It is against this backdrop that margins exist for the expansion of Italian exports, which will be enhanced by the business encounters that will take place at the fair. The kinds of books most exported by Italy are authors’ copyrighted works for children (Rodari, Munari, Piumini, and Pitzorno) as well as books on art, architecture and design, whilst in the area of fiction, in addition to the classics, modern authors such as Umberto Eco, Tiziano Scarpa and Roberto Saviano are also very highly regarded.