Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair
Last weekend we went to Shanghai and attended the International Children’s Book Fair there. I had only heard of this fair a couple of weeks ago on Instagram so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would there be actual books for sale, or was it mostly a professional fair? Books in foreign languages are not widely available in China and when you can find them, there are not exactly cheap. To get books in Spanish for my son I’ve been relying on a couple of vendors in WeChat and Taobao that resell which I guess is surplus or slightly damaged stock from printers. Have you ever noticed how many books from your country say “Printed in China”? Now I’m glad for those publishing houses who print their books here to save costs, as if it wasn’t for them I would have a hard (and expensive) time trying to get books in Spanish shipped here. I got excited when I saw in the book fair’s website that several Spanish publishers were among the exhibitors! We decided to go and check it out.
According to its website, the fair is the biggest children books fair in Asia. It was huge indeed! I didn’t have time to check all the exhibitors as we arrived just two hours before the fair closed on Sunday. To my relief, yes, there were books for sale! Most in Chinese or English, but I also saw some in languages like German and Dutch. The stand with the Spanish publishers was empty by the time we arrived. They left before the fair ended! Grrrr!
There was quite a lot of people in the fair but it was not as bad as I had expected. This means we could still easily walk up and down the aisles, but the most popular stands were quite crowded. Because we were there right before the fair closed, the exhibitors wanted to sell as many as their remaining books as possible and gave big discounts. Yay! It felt like Black Friday or the first day of sales in Spain; parents were browsing books like crazy while children stayed on the sides to avoid being crushed. Some stands also had activities for children and discussion panels with authors.
We got a few books in Chinese and English. For the Spanish ones, I’ll have to keep relying on my trusty Taobao resellers, even though their selection is quite limited!