来源：International Publishing Journal
作者：International Publishing Journal
President of Asia for Scholastic Inc.
Q Could you introduce the basic information of Scholastic’s business markets in Asia?
A Unlike many other academic publishers, Scholastic focuses on children’s English reading, especially recreational reading, because we believe that it is how we can to develop a good reading habit for young children at the early stage. In Asia, we have offices in many countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, South Korea, India and so on. In China, we have branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, etc.
Scholastic provides customers with a wide range of services and products. We directly reach about ten thousand international and bilingual schools throughout Asia, and we organize book clubs and book fairs to generate excitement and bring up all the latest books to our students. Meanwhile, we also cooperate with ecommerce platform, such as Jingdong and Dangdang, to sell our customized products in online channels.
Q How do you think of the market in China? Does it make any difference to carry on market strategies in China and other countries? What is the challenge?
A The marketing approaches of Scholastic on the international scale have quite a lot in common. However, considering the English education environment in China, it is necessary to adapt to local conditions. Unlike English speaking countries, such as Canada, Australia and Great Britain, English is a foreign language in China. Besides, many Chinese parents want their kids to learn English as early as possible, so that they are able to get higher scores in school. Accordingly, we converge all of Scholastic’s reading materials and implant them into our learning program to provide children with the authentic English learning. The learning program also allows Chinese teachers to conduct systematic teaching methods according to our well-structured practice of human machine interaction. We also migrate this approach to other countries in Asia, such as Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea, to make the unique model of China go global.
The overall challenge of education in Asia is our examination orientation. Too much pressure at an early age to get good grades, rather than developing the joy of reading and learning. At Scholastic we believe it’s critical to cultivate a good reading habit. It’s hard to imagine anyone achieving success in life without a good reading habit. And based on our research we have found that the best way to develop a good reading habit is to give the children a wide selection of books so they can choose what they like to read. Another key finding from our research is the importance of Reading Aloud to your children. Those are the moments that the children cherish and remember the most. And when the children see their own parents read, that’s also a very good role model.
Q Children have their own taste of reading and parents also have their own criteria of deciding what kind of books they should buy for the kids. How to balance between them?
A Unlike the last generation of parents who think highly of learning grammar drills, young parents nowadays are more educated, and we are also fortunate to see that there are more and more parents who recognize the importance of authentic reading. In fact, the best way to promote a good reading habit is to let the children choose what books they want to read. For Scholastic, we provide children with a wide selection of books on our Book Clubs, so the children are able to explore and pick up their favorite ones, which is the best way to develop their senses of curiosity and imagination.
Besides, we help children to assess their English level according to our Literacy Pro System. Children can get personal benchmarks after completing the assessment test, and the system give them a list of recommended books according to their scores. Thus, teachers are more clear what levels their students stay and easier to track their performance in the future. It is our mission to establish a good reading foundation for the children and help them develop their own habits of reading.
Scholastic has a lot of resources in terms of content, and we are also planning to help those poor students living in the west of China by providing them with books for free and start English programs.
Q Many publishers are experiencing the digital transformation? What about Scholastic in this aspect?
A In terms of digital transformation, we have sufficient digital resources, from assessment system to our entire reading improvement programs. However, what we found really interest us is the return to physical books, and we also realize that many parents prefer their children to hold physical books rather than electronic ones. For example, reading Harry Porter series on physical books is more interesting than electronic books. As we can see from the report of international publishing industry, sales of physical books in growing, and we believe that digitization can serve as education solutions better than changing our reading habits. For example, our digital programs make it easier for teachers who are not native speakers to give lessons to students and simplify their working process.
Q China is the guest of honor of Bologna International Book Fair, how do you think of Chinese children’s books on the international stage?
A As China’s soft power is increasing in recent years, there are more communication between China and other countries in the world, and there will be more and more children around the world studying Chinese and read Chinese books. For example, there are many bilingual schools in the US, and children read both Chinese and English books in their school lives.
Q How do you think of the international cultural collaboration between China and other countries in the world?
A I think the most important thingto this is to be a good storyteller. The movie Crouching Tiger , Hidden Dragon gained great popularity in the US movie market, which is an good example of improving the expression of Chinese stories in an different cultural environment. It is important for publishers to build excellent stories for children.
Besides, it is also important to stress emphasis on the development of children’s practical skills: imagination, problem solving ability and collaboration skills. It is publishers’ responsibility to provide them with opportunities to develop these skills when they are very young, producing good content and influencing their perspectives to the world.
Q Could you share your plans in 2018?
A We consider the need and preferences of the new generation of parents. For example, we introduce new books on our Wechat platform and give them appropriate advices. In 2018, we are going to push our integrated reading improvement program on the ground in bilingual schools, and try to implement the program in the local schools as well. We are not just a publisher in children’s book, but moving to become an education solution provider. With a wide range of resources, we believe that Scholastic is in a unique position to help children read and learn, and to be a reading partner to parents and teachers.