How To Enter The Chinese Book Market
1 Approve > 2 Distribute > 3 Stimulate Demand with Marketing
1. Chinese Government Content Approval For Publishers
Before a book can be legally sold within China it must be formally approved by the government. To begin, we will first review your title/catalog and determine if we believe it will pass. Then we will ask you to send us a PDF of each title (up to 10) and we can get those approved. We like to start with 10 or less just to get things moving quickly.
Once approved we will send you a formal document showing your book(s) has / have been approved by our governmental import partner. Once you have this, you may use approval this with any Chinese distributor that you may find, or you may choose to work with us using our Distribution Package (#2 below).
We can approve ebooks, POD books, physical books, and other products.
Each type of product has a different handling process.
A) One process is for a book that is destined for Print or Hardcopy distribution and you have the digital file for review. This means that you plan to either ship books, or print by POD and you must send a PDF that can be reviewed by their censors.
B) Also, if you publish a board book, or a music CD, or a hard copy only book, we can get it approved. As you might imagine there is more physical handling for a physical product versus a digital one. After you sign-up, we will send you shipping instructions for where to send the product(s) for approval. If you have remainders, or overstock books, this is typically what we would be dealing with.
C) Ebooks are the most easily approved. If your file is for an ebook, then the handling is less and it can be approved more quickly.
As mentioned, each type of product has a special “pathway” to governmental approval. We like to start with 10 or less products from you for the initial batch approval. Of course, we are open to changing this number for ‘sets’ or other unique situations. Just let us know if that is the case.
In general, we will pay our Chinese relationship about $500 for the initial approvals on your 10 books. Once they are through the censor filter, then in many cases there is little to no fee for future books that are similar to the first batch. In other words, once they know you, then it just goes on through easily. We are working with all five of the only authorized importers for ebooks and physical books. Each one approves different types and styles of Western books and ebooks.
2. Account Distribution Agreement & Metadata Setup.
Our distribution agreement is non-exclusive and commission only. In fact, once your book is approved, we encourage you to find as many distributors as possible (without overlap of course). Within China PODG currently has distribution into numerous foreign language bookstores and ebook sellers.
To distribute your product in China, we must have 1) the legal document showing your content is approved and 2) your proper metadata for the first group of products and your account setup information, which includes your Royalty payment and contact info. We already manage royalty and sales information for more than 5000 authors and publishers and our system is online and you can check into your account at any time on the Internet.
There is a one-time fee of $149 for setting up your account with our distribution company that every new account pays. Please email us for a copy of the agreement when you are ready to review it. You must pay this fee only one time and once the account is setup, then there is no limit to how many books we can distribute for you.
This distribution contract and discussion is very specific to mainland China. After we set this up, we can discuss distributing your content in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Korea and India. We have solid channel partners in all these areas.
3. Marketing, Discoverability, and Stimulating Demand In China
Once you have followed the above process, your book content is approved, and your distribution agreement with us in in place. Now, the time has come to make sales!
Other than guanxie, which is the relationship aspect of selling in China, promoting a book in China is the same as promoting a book in any country in the world. Actually, if you think about it, relationship selling is part of every country’s culture.. perhaps it is just a bit stronger in China and Asia.
Once approved, here are some marketing strategies that you might consider:
- Exhibit your books or catalogue at a book tradeshow. There are two main book tradeshows in China, The Beijing International Book Fair in August and the Shanghai Children’s Book Fair in early November*. Participating in these book shows is probably the best way we know to stimulate demand for your book. We also participate in Taiwan and Tokyo shows, and we can discuss those later.
- You or your company can join us at the tradeshows. We are willing to co-op the booth(s) to some degree.
- Provide advertising to the various stores and websites in China that will carry your books. We find that only the majors are bringing advertising into the mix and the way is wide open for advertising by independents and smaller publishers.
- Authors are always welcome to come to China on a speaking tour to promote their book. We have seen this work extremely well.
- Publishers may wish to hire a PR team to work on your branding. PR works differently in China. Basically you pay reporters to come to your events and cover you. We find this refreshingly straightforward as compared to what goes on in the US, Europe, and Latin America.
- If you have academic and STM, you can also visit Chinese libraries on a ‘road tour’.
- Of course, you can just let us do it for you as well.
There is no limit to what we can do to market your book or catalogue. And in general, we see that at this early juncture, almost every marketing dollar gives a solid return. However, in five years, we believe that the Western content will be so prevalent here, that it will be more difficult to stand out.
To get started, fill out the form at the bottom of this page with your particulars and we will work out a plan of action to bring your work to this amazing market!About UsHere are a few links to illustrate our show activities throughout Asia.
- PODG’s CEO Blog
- Beijing International Book Fair Information
- Tokyo International Book Fair
- Taiwan International Book Fair
Thank you again for your interest. We look forward to working together.
To get started, simply fill in this form with your particulars and we will work out a plan of action to bring your work to this amazing market!