A Look At 2 Major Book Markets

JapanToday has one that says recent moves underway suggest that Japanese books will reach a wider foreign audience, as publishers, faced with declining domestic books sales, are beginning to turn their eyes to overseas markets.

The trend is on introducing contemporary writers, rather than classics symbolized by the three great writers Yasunari Kawabata, Yukio Mishima and Junichiro Tanizaki, publishing industry officials said.

They noted that publishers are encouraged by the growing global popularity of Japanese manga. "The manga boom could well pave the way for Japanese literature to become better known abroad," said Masahiro Takano, president of TranNet KK, a publishing and translation services company in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, in India, Exports of Indian books, publications and printing materials have increased steadily over the last five years. Valued at Rs 360 crore in 2002-03, this market has grown more than ten times from Rs 33 crore in 1990-91 and over two-fold from Rs 169.9 crore in 1997-98. Exports contribute to just five per cent of the publishing industry’s total turnover, which now stands at Rs 7,000 crore. Developed nations, such the US, Singapore, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, currently pick up about 50-52 per cent of the total exports. Five years ago, their share was 38 per cent.

Granny Li's Reading Room

Michael spotted This One all the way from China on Li Guizhen's tiny reading room.
Seventy-three-year-old Li, known as "Granny Li" to her patrons young and old, has been running her children's reading room for 12 years since she retired from the city library of Hefei, capital ofeast China's Anhui Province. The former librarian gets no salary, and she charges no membership fee. Money for the books which pack the shelves comes from her own pocket.

Thanks, Comrade

Dear Fidel,

You’ll forgive me for not referring to you as ‘Excellency.’ I always thought that was a bit of a stretch for a socialist, anyhow. At any rate, I would like to take a moment or two of your time to thank you for your service to the American Library—the one with the capital ‘L.’

Sanford Berman writes to Castro

Steve Fesenmaier sends us a copy of Sanford Berman's letter to Fidel Castro about Cuban libraries.

I oppose the American embargo against Cuba and last week, at the American Library Association Conference in Toronto, Canada, publicly declared both the blockage and Helms-Burton Act to be “stupid,” stating that they must immediately end.

However, although I respect and defend Cuba’s national sovereignty and integrity, I cannot remain silent about the severe human rights abuses represented by the mid-March arrest and conviction of some 75 dissidents, including independent journalists and librarians. Not only were their “trials” suspect – conducted summarily in remote locations – but there appears to be no evidence that these persons truly posed a threat to Cuba’s security....

Read the full letter by following the "Read Some More of this Story" link below.

Steve also asks us to sign a petition against the arrests at

It's Always 1984 In Cuba

One More Story on Cuban libraries, this one is from The LATimes, so you'll need to register to read it.
They say Seventy-five economists, poets and democracy advocates are serving sentences of up to 26 years apiece after hasty trials for violating Cuba's harsh and vaguely worded national security laws. Among those being held are 10 directors of independent, nongovernment-affiliated lending libraries specializing in books that were either hard to find in Cuba or offensive to the Castro regime.

Hardback haven in the heart of Bangkok

Charles Davis writes "From the story at

If the film-making team of Merchant Ivory is ever
looking for a charming old colonial style library for a backdrop to one of their famous period movies, they should board the next flight to Bangkok and not stop until they arrive at the Neilson Hays Library.
The library, situated downtown next to the British
Club, is considered by many to be an oasis in the
heart of the congested Thai capital. "

Libraries in the Sky

Today, Morning Edition had a short item about the Airbus company's newest model, the A-380. This will be the largest passenger plane in the world, with two full-length decks. According to NPR, one of the mockups at a recent trade show included a bar and a library in the luxurious upper-deck lounge. I couldn't see the library in this QuickTime tour, nor did I find a mention on the product page. Sydney is already planning to remodel its airport to accomodate the beast.

Cuban Libraries Make Headlines

Cuban libraries have been making headlines latey.Stories on the Cuba libraries topic have appeared in The Associated Press,, and FrontPageMag.

Cuban accuses U.S. of funding dissidents

Steve Fesenmaier writes "Cuba's national libraries director accused the United States on Saturday of bankrolling small, independent book lenders in the island nation to undermine its communist government.
Full Story. "

Beyond borders and books

Steve Fesenmaier points us to The Toronto Star where Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman and Wendy Newman have an article. They say the decision to move forward with the world's largest library conference and exhibition, despite the SARS outbreaks, was based on information and reason, two core values of our profession.

U.S. and Canadian librarians are united in our concerns for 21st century libraries. Library use continues to rise on both sides of the border, especially among newcomers.


Subscribe to International