A thoroughly unscientific sampling of University of Pennsylvania Press editors and
staff revealed that although the Press boasts competent speakers in many
languages, its collective fluency in Mandarin is somewhat lacking. Nevertheless, when
a delegation from China’s
Higher Education Press visited on September 22, members of both HEP and Penn
Press were able to communicate with ease and interest.
Eight representatives of the Higher Education Press, a
subset of China’s Ministry
of Education, are touring the United
States, making stops at university presses
and other organizations across the country. They are led by Jiang Feng, a
deputy director of HEP and an old friend to Penn Press, as they seek to swap
ideas and discuss techniques in scholarly publishing.
Although Feng remarked upon Penn Press’ growth and
development since his last visit, HEP’s scale of operations dazzled their
hosts. As textbook suppliers for universities throughout China, HEP
prints more than 65 million volumes per year. Nonetheless, the HEP visitors
sought the expertise of their American friends as they investigate expanding
their textbook market to include prestigious scholarly monographs.
Much of the discussion centered on the opportunities for
online and electronic publishing. The visitors from HEP were also very interested to
learn about how Penn Press uses print-on-demand technology. Feng, upon
examining a printed-on-demand book, said that he found the process so
impressive that he might get a POD machine for their Beijing offices.