President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday acclaimed Taiwan as the most important source of Mandarin Chinese publications at the opening of this year’s Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE), while at the same time pledging to engage in more exchanges with China in the publishing sector.
“The publishing industry in Mandarin-speaking communities has consolidated and shifted in a new direction over the last 10 years. Taipei has become one of the top 10 cities in the Chinese-language publishing market and more and more writers choose Taiwan to publish their books,” Ma said at the fair’s opening ceremony.
Ma said that he visited Malaysia last year and met several prominent writers who had their books published in Taiwan and whose knowledge and understanding of Taiwan’s publishing industry surpassed his.
Ma added that in 2009, more than 40,000 book titles were published in Taiwan, while roughly 160,000 titles came out of China, which, given the disparity in the populations of the two countries, shows that Taiwan has great potential and energy in the publishing sector.
He said that in the past, one would not be able to read books from Taiwan in China, but added that this situation is now changing. Ma called on the Council for Cultural Affairs and the Government Information Office to more actively engage in exchanges with China in the publishing sector as a way to boost mutual understanding.
TIBE chairman Wang Jung-wen (王榮文) said that more than 800 publishers and 450 writers from 59 countries were taking part in this year’s book fair. He expressed hope that China would be -represented next year.
There are no Chinese companies at the fair this year.
The theme country of this year’s TIBE is Bhutan. More than 300 Bhutanese publications and three of the Himalayan country’s national treasures, including a 12th century Buddhist classic and a 17th century hand-written text, are on display until Monday at the Taipei World Trade Center.