Book publishing industry shows signs of rebound

02/13/2018 06:19 PM
Photo courtesy of National Central Library
Photo courtesy of National Central Library

Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) The number of books published in 2017 saw growth compared with a year ago, while books on major social issues have driven up sales of books in the humanities, literature and novel categories, according to a report on Taiwan's 2017 publication trends released Tuesday by National Central Library.

A total of 4,987 publishing houses published 40,401 books last year, up slightly compared with 4,979 publishers that published 38,807 new books a year earlier, showing that the publishing industry has bottomed out and is staging a recovery, according to Tseng Shu-hsien (曾淑賢), director of the library.

Digital books accounted for around 10.24 percent of the total books published in 2017, almost double the 5.16 percent in the previous year.

Last year, books in the linguistics and literature category took the lion's share of published new books for the third consecutive year last year, at 22.63 percent, followed by 16.66 percent in applied sciences and 15.61 percent in social sciences, according to the report.

In terms of the 18 types of books defined based on their content and commonly used by publishers for sales analysis, the data shows that novels accounted for most of the books, at 4,459, followed by humanities (including literature, history and geography), while children's books accounted for 3,487, social sciences at 3,362 and arts at 2,923.

Books on major social issues that have attracted great attention among readers, such as books concerning North Korean refugees and the best-selling novel "Fang Ssu-chi De Chu Lian Le Yuan" have driven up sales of books related to these issues.

"Fang Ssu-chi De Chu Lian Le Yuan," published in February 2017, is about a young girl named Fang Ssu-chi who was raped by her teacher and the own experience of its writer Lin Yi-han (林奕含), who died in April last year at the age of 26, allegedly by her own hand.

In terms of languages and translation, 95 percent of the new books in 2017 were published in Chinese. Meanwhile, 9,716 were translated books, accounting for 24.05 percent of the total, with 5,226 sourced from Japan, 2,076 from the United States, 703 from the United Kingdom and 591 from South Korea.

(By Phoenix Hsu and Evelyn Kao)


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