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New research into Chinese publishing landscape

With wide-ranging social media, vast potential readerships, and innovative new literature models, China offers an overlooked yet increasingly attractive market for UK publishers and writers. New research findings published today explore how our book industry could break into this challenging international market, following extensive research and an innovative online translation experiment with award-winning British author, David Mitchell.

The findings are published in two new reports ‘Found in Translation: How Social Media Platforms Can Help UK Publishers Understand Their Market In China’ (Nesta), and ‘The Publishing Landscape in China: New and Emerging Opportunities for British Writers’ (The Literary Platform). Their publication today (Wednesday 27th May 2015) coincides with the launch of Book Expo America 2015, which this year welcomes China as the Global Market Forum Guest of Honour.

The reports are the result of a collaborative research project led by Nesta, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), working in collaboration with The Literary Platform and Chinese social media reading site Douban Read, to better understand new and emerging opportunities for UK publishers and writers in China as a result of digital transformation.

The research critically explores the vaunted vast market potential in China for British cultural content. The two reports investigate how Chinese social networks and new business models for digital publishing can enable British writers to experiment with how they engage Chinese audiences.

Found in Translation suggests that:

  • Social media platforms contain valuable insights into fan preferences for British writing and culture more generally that publishers and writers can tap into to better understand the Chinese market.
  • These platforms allow British writers to crowd source high-quality Chinese translations of their work.
  • Social media platforms also permit writers to engage at scale with the Chinese public, though translation contests have limited success in this regard.

The Publishing Landscape in China explores:

  •  What the UK can learn from innovative business models and revenue streams around online literature models.
  • How China’s social media platforms with their sprawling reach into corners of China might offer British publishers and writers a place to engage with Chinese readers.
  • Whether China is about to move into a period of rapid e-book growth.

You can download both reports here.

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