Over recent years the surge in electronic book sales has taken the wind out of many Chinese publishers, but there is one category of book which is still thriving - children's books.
Over the course of the three-day 27th Beijing Book Fair, which concluded on January 11, a large area was given to the exhibition of children books, with tens of thousands on display.
During the exhibition a new annual children's literature prize was launched. The Golden Sunflower Children's Novel prize sponsored by China Publishing Group Corporation rewards writers with a first prize of 200,000 yuan ($33,100), the largest reward for children's literature in China.
Sales figures also underline the growth of this market. According to statistics from the Beijing Open Book Co., Ltd, which specializes in book industry research, in 2012 children's book sales increased by 4.71 percent, despite the overall 1.05 percent decline in the domestic market.
The 10 years between 2003 and 2012 are often described as a golden decade for children's book market in China, with sales witnessing an annual double-digit growth.
In 2005, the sales of children books on dangdang.com, the largest online Chinese bookstore, amounted to only 10 million yuan, but by 2012 this figure had jumped to 1.5 billion yuan.
With more than 367 million potential readers, the huge number of children in China is fueling the growth. "Children's books have a steadier reader group, especially for preschool children," said Lü Weizhen, president of the general editorial department under China Children's Press & Publication Group (CCPPG), a leading children's book publisher.
"Preschool children have more reading time and their parents are more willing to buy books for them. Also books for this age group are less affected by electronic books," Lü told the Global Times. "Over the coming years children's books will maintain their leading position in the Chinese book market," Lü added.
Meanwhile, the increasing integration with the overseas children's publishing industry has also greatly enriched the domestic market. Each year when the winners of internationally renowned children's literature prizes such as the Newbery Medal and the Hans Christian Andersen Award are announced, the foreign books are translated and introduced to Chinese readers.
Last year in June when the Black Dog by British writer Levi Pinfold won the famous Kate Greenaway award, its Chinese version was published in almost the same month by Jieli Publishing House, a professional children's book publisher.