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Publishing still going strong

24 November 2014

Two interesting pieces of news from the last week show that publishing - of both the traditional and the new variety - is stronger than you might think.

In China the second Shanghai International Children's Book Fair has attracted 250 exhibitors from 25 countries, with 6,000 Chinese and international business visitors and 20,000 Chinese consumers expected to attend (the actual figures are not yet available). This new Fair offers a real challenge to the international children's rights fair in Bologna. Whilst it's undoubtedly less international and less rights-based, it does show the power of the vast Chinese market, especially in the rapidly expanding educational sector. What's more, this fair will hope to establish itself as the foremost Asian fair for children's books and that gives it huge potential growth, as many countries in the region are focusing on this market.

In the week after the Bookseller's Futurebook conference in London Bertelsmann reported its highest revenues in seven years, up 4.3% year-on-year, with the formation of Penguin Random House among factors contributing "significantly" to the increase. This is an astonishing improvement, especially since it seems like only a year or two ago that big publishers were deeply troubled by the changes wrought by digitisation, which threatened their power and position, as well as their revenues.

And at Futurebook? In an article entitled Curiouser and curiouser: What we discovered at FutureBook 2014 | The Bookseller, there was a wide-ranging consideration of the changing world, with a focus on content, community and commerce. The book world will continue to change rapidly but it looks like the biggest changes may now be in the past.