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"Publish or perish" in a digital era

Peking University, May 12, 2011: The 2011 International Seminar on Digital Publishing and Cultural Industry, sponsored jointly by Modern Publishing Research Institute of School of Journalism and Communication (SJC) and Chinese Academy of Press and Publication (CAPP), was held on May 8 as one of the series to celebrate SJC’s 10th anniversary.



Digital publishing in cultural industry  

One hot topic of this seminar was digital publishing's role in cultural industry and our country's support to digital publishing. As shown in the 2009 Cultural Industry Revitalizing Plan, at least five eighths of all the key tasks are related closely with digital publishing. "Digital publishing is not just the publishing's electronization, but the idea's changing. Internet is a cardiotonic for publishing." Liu Jiansheng, deputy director of the Publishing Board of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee once said in a speech.


"The essence of cultural industry is creation industry, which asks for not only the creation of thought, idea, model and technology, but also that of mechanism. We should treat publishing as a verb, meaning the process, instead of a noun." Researcher Zhang Li, director of the Digital Publishing Research Laboratory of CAPP said in his speech.


Renmin University of China Press' Chief Editor Zhou Weihua pointed out the difference of Chinese and foreign digital publishing. "They are similar in theory, but quite different in practice. In western countries, traditional publishers are guiders of digital publishers at the same time, with the integration of content and platform, while in China, the technological service providers are the guiders. Therefore, the segregation of content and platform leads to many problems in Chinese digital publishing, for example, the lack of high quality resources and copyright protection consciousness."


What Chinese publishers found out through the 10 years' practice is that, digital publishing is not just the digitalization or electronization of traditional publication, but the whole and constructional change to publishing industry. Chinese publishing industry lacks innovation and creation. Dr. Rowland Lorimer, director of Canada Publishing Research Center, introduced some advanced experience. For example, the Harlequin Books Publishing House specially founded a digital publishing company — Carina Press, which only sold books on-line. Writers of those books have double copyright royalty. What was more, readers could choose which parts of a book to read.



All-media Publishing

"Mobile Publishing" brought about the discussion of "All-media Publishing," another hot topic in seminar. With the wide spread of smart phone, mobile phone could do lots of works which could only be done via computer. Progress in mobile reading experience and paying method made a favorable foundation for the benign operation of mobile publishing industry chain.


President of ChineseALL (www.chineseall.com) Tong Zhilei shared his experience in mobile publishing. "It is not the content or platform that matters. Now, operation is in the first place, which can give the right platform to readers with right method."



Extended Reading:

Zhang Li's speech

Rowland Lorimer's speech 

Zhou Weihua's speech



Written by: Chen Meng
Edited by: Li Xiaomeng
PKU News (Chinese)