Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Publishers look to China and India to help them weather recession

In China, inspirational business books such as Who Moved My Cheese and family health titles compete with the latest blockbusters; in India, classics from Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton vie for shelf-space with homegrown authors and the penned advice of billionaire IT entrepreneurs; while in South Africa, the boarding school antics of John 'Spud' Milton have captured readers' imaginations and created a Harry Potter-like craze, says a Guardian feature.

Across the world, the appetite for English language books is booming and publishers struggling under the weight of the recession in their core markets of the US and UK are increasingly turning their sights overseas. Random House, for instance, yesterday announced that the record-breaking first print run of 6.5 million copies of The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown's follow-up to The Da Vinci Code, will include over half a million for overseas territories including India and South Africa, an unprecedented number for a new fiction title.

Publishers from across the globe have gathered in London this week to discuss how to exploit this growing opportunity. This year's London Book Fair has a distinctly Indian flavour, with heavyweight authors such as Vikram Seth and Amartya Sen among the 48 writers appearing, but delegations from China, Russia, Africa and the Arab world will also be there to meet the estimated 16,000 publishers that have come to showcase their catalogues to the rest of the world.

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