OpenBook conference addresses X factor

Friday, 11 January 2019

'Unlimited possibilities' for books and reading, Beijing audience told

The annual OpenBook Conference, this year titled "Reading X", took place this week during the Beijing Book Fair. "X" here symbolised the "unlimited possibilities" of book publishing and reading.

Haobo Shen, founder of Beijing XIRON Publishing Company, spoke about XIRON's move into tie-in films, cartoons and comics. For the cultural and entertainment industry, he said, good content was still a scarce resource, while the publishing industry was blessed with content that was rich and varied.

Rong Zhang, senior vice president of YueWen Group, revealed how the group was reaching millions of readers through its platforms. WeChat Reading, for example, has more than 5 million daily active users and 180 million registered users. Rankings of WeChat friends' reading hours encouraged users to read more, and promotions spread the word about new titles.

James Bryant, ceo of Trajectory and president of OpenBook International, addressed book discovery, emerging business models such as subscriptions, and growth in the Chinese market. "China is on the doorstep of its own renaissance," Bryant said. "Whereas the European renaissance was created against the backdrop of Christianity, the Chinese renaissance is being well funded with targeted government programmes to further the development of sciences and the arts, as reflected in the unprecedented growth of the publishing industry over the past 20 years."

Photos: (top) a packed conference; (left) YanPing Jiang of OpenBook with James Bryant

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