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Book fair opens on high note

2015/02/11 16:07:59

Taipei, Feb. 11 (CNA) The 2015 Taipei International Book Exhibition opened Wednesday on an optimistic note, with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) playing up Taiwan's role in the world publishing industry.

"This is really a thriving industry in spite of challenges from electronic reading materials," the president said, citing International Publishers Association statistics that put Taiwan's output of titles at 42,000 each year, or 1,800 titles per million people.

That puts Taiwan on par with Slovenia as the second highest country for books-per-capita, following only the U.K., which publishes over 2,800 titles per million inhabitants, Ma said.

[CNA photo Feb. 11, 2015]

Taiwan is the most populous Chinese-speaking society still using traditional characters also used in Hong Kong and Macau, and "we hope to maintain this tradition," he said at the opening ceremony.

The annual fair, now in its 23rd year, is taking place Feb. 11-16 at Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Halls 1 and 3, bringing together 682 publishers from 67 countries.

[The national pavalion of New Zealand. CNA photo Feb. 11, 2015]

Culture Minister Hung Meng-chi (洪孟啟) said that in addition to this year's theme country, New Zealand, another highlight of the fair is pavilions showcasing Taiwan's independent publications and indigenous literature.

Hung noted that his ministry is currently working with independent bookstores to promote reading around the country.

"We hope independent bookstores are not only places that sell books, but will become community cultural centers in the future," he said.

At the ceremony, Ma presented awards to the winners of this year's Taipei International Book Exhibition Prize. Among them are Taiwanese writer Lou Yi-chun's (駱以軍) novel "Nu Er" (女兒) and Hong Kong writer Chan Ho-Kei's (陳浩基) detective novel "13.67."

[The CNA booth, where an exhibition of old photos is held. CNA photo Feb. 11, 2015]

Sam Elworthy, president of the Publishers Association of New Zealand, noted that around 80 writers, poets, artists and publishers from his country will participate in the fair this year.

More than 400 writers, illustrators and experts in the publishing sector will also participate in the hundreds of forums, book signings, book launches and other activities surrounding the annual event.

The fair attracted 502,000 visitors last year.

(By Christie Chen)

Taipei International Book Exhibition 2015:
●Feb. 15: Graphic novel an increasingly popular genre: experts
●Feb. 14: Bestselling fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson meets fans in Taipei
●Feb. 12: New Zealand comic artist draws on Western, Eastern influences
●Feb. 10: 'The Luminaries' author looking forward to food, books in Taiwan
●Feb. 9: CNA to feature books, photos at Taipei book fair
●Feb. 8: EU-themed Taiwanese board game to debut at Taipei book fair
●Feb. 1: Taipei book fair to offer free admission to visitors under 18
●Jan. 28: European authors to attend Taipei book fair
●Dec. 28: Bestselling fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson to visit Taiwan