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2018.03.01 Taiwan’s Book Fair – Similarities with Japanese Book Market
The 26th Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE) has just wrapped up at the Taipei World Trade Center. This year at the annual February event, 684 companies from 60 countries took part, an additional 63 companies from the previous year. Over a six-day period from February 6 to February 11, the exhibition was open daily until late to better accommodate general visitors.

Israel, this year's guest of honor, boasts the highest number per capita in the world for reading volume and the number of libraries and publishers. Under the theme “Israel—never ending story,” a space was set up where visitors could use their five senses to experience Israel's history and culture. For example, in addition to virtual reality, a market scene from Jerusalem was enacted using real products. In the TIBE venue, other exhibits included French digital products also seen at last year's Frankfurt Book Fair, a hands-on display on Taiwanese history, a collection of award-winning works from various book fairs, and a reading space for children.

The book markets of Taiwan and Japan seem to have much in common. According to U.K. publisher Pavilion Books, the most popular books in the Taiwanese market as well as in Japan and South Korea are food and beverage-related, whereas in mainland China, the strongest demand is for science-related books for children. U.S. publisher Scholastic holds a similar view: the first book that Scholastic introduced to Taiwanese publishers was children's book "I Spy," which has shown strong sales in Japan. Moreover, some publishing companies in Taiwan report difficulties in selling books aimed at the middle- to high-school population, due to children of these ages being busy studying for exams and having very little time to read for enjoyment.

Book fairs allow publishers to feel firsthand the difference in cultures and to discover market specifics, essential in planning local business strategies. For Japan, with its geographical proximity to Taiwan, TIBE offers an opportunity to acquire readers sharing a similar market trend. 

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