As I head to the local library to watch two Chinese documentaries, during this week of the Spring Festival (not just the Chinese New Year, as other Asians point out), I thought I should share this interview in the newspaper China Daily. (This, by the way, is the English-language Chinese paper, distributed widely in China as well as around the world.) It accurately says, “Sino-US book gap more than just language.” You’ll be able to read my rather passionate thoughts on the subject, and will, I hope, be convinced of the truth of something I love to tell people in New York and London: that Great Barrington, MA, is the China publishing capital of the western world. China Daily reports:
Berkshire Publishing Group, a relatively small reference book publisher in Massachusetts, has been making moves to expand into China in a way that CEO Karen Christensen said will go beyond the usual “copyright exchange” that defines US-Chinese publishing cooperation.
“No Western company is going to be successful without Chinese partnership,” Christensen told China Daily.
“There are aspects of Chinese consumer expectations that I can’t quite get right, and the same can be said for the big Chinese companies trying to get distribution in the West.
“You need intermediaries.”
Until fairly recently, the Chinese government managed the publishing industry, but Christensen believes a major cultural change is occurring with newly privatized publishing companies that will allow for enormous growth.
Over the past year she has met many Chinese companies in hope of finding partnerships, and is also reaching out to Chinese scholars and authors to try to find Chinese-written material that will appeal to Western audiences.
“The mission is to get more Chinese material into the hands of people outside of China,” she said.