WHEN Paul Goulding began his career in international publishing in the early 1980s, the British man had never imaged that one day he would decide to only publish books about China.
During the London Book Fair this year, ahead of World Book and Copyright Day, Goulding signed a deal with China’s Economic Science Press, buying the copyright of 10 Chinese books.
His company, Paths International Ltd, plans to introduce the English version of the books to Western readers on topics including China’s urban development, economic globalization, pension security system and military system.
“We feel the books link very closely with the Belt and Road Initiative,” he says. “We publish journals on the B&R. It’s a part of the theme of development and growth and future of China. We think it is unique.”
Goulding established Paths in the United Kingdom in 2002 for the purpose of bringing high quality academic and professional content written and developed in Asia to Europe and North America.
With the recent emergence of China as a major international publishing center and the arrival of e-books and print-on-demand technology, the company now has only one goal: to provide “books about China from China in English and in Chinese.”
“From eight years ago, we only publish books about China, from China,” Goulding says. “In the past, most books about China were written by journalists or commentators from the West.
“So if you want to understand China, you have to read Western experts, Western newspapers and magazines. That seems strange now. Because with its opening up, China has been publishing more materials in English.
“And we feel books from China can offer the best insight into China, because the research, the study, the legacy and the language of Chinese scholars are very valuable, so that’s why we only publish Chinese scholars’ books.”
The British publisher began making regular visits to India and China in the early 1980s. He was based in Singapore for more than 13 years and held a high position at world-famous publishers, including Times Mirror International Publishers and Addison-Wesley.
The businessman saw huge potential in China’s publishing market.
“China has the potential. It is exciting, it’s interesting,” he says. “It’s a nice place to do business. The people are very committed. It has rich opportunity, especially now Chinese publishers get support from different organizations and the government to publish books to England, to the whole world.”
His company has so far worked with 15 Chinese publishers and published some 170 books, all about China. “We are now making available to the international community books written by Chinese authors from some of the most prestigious universities and institutions in the country,” he says.
“It offers a view of China from experts in China. Change in China is not a single event, it is a process and many of these books bring clarity to the seeming blur of recent and ongoing change in China.”
His small company has seen increasing interest in Chinese books during the past eight years.
“When Western people see more Chinese people, more Chinese interaction and more contact between China and the West, there is the cultural and social link for academic content,” he says.
“The scholars at universities are very keen to get information on China, to read the latest research. I think all the academics now are probably doing something related to China in their work,” he adds.
Paths prints the books in the UK, and its distributors in North America print them in the US. Goulding admits that publishing academic books is not easy, “because readers get used to books by British authors and Western universities.”
It takes time to develop, but he has no doubt that his company is taking the right road.
“Chinese business, economics and finance are of vital importance to the world. We attempt to frame a very broad canvas on which to present information about China.”