Five hundred thousand people attend the Taiwan Book Fair. Although not all of them make it up the alleyway between Australia and Germany to Tumblehome Learning's booth at A-907, we've been busy enough that we haven't yet had time to wander the rest of Hall 1 (general and international books), much less Hall 2 (comics) or Hall 3 (children's books).
Visitors include publishers, authors, rights agents, teachers, librarians, and members of the general public who pay for the opportunity to come in and browse for bargains. Publishers with a registered business in Taiwan can sell directly to the public: that will be us by next year. With every purchase here in Taiwan, whether it's books, toothpaste, or a restaurant meal, the purchaser's receipt is also a lottery ticket. You could win 10 million NTD, which is $300,000. That would be a great boost to a young publishing company, so we assiduously save our receipts!
At the start of this fair, the Tumblehome team set ourselves a goal of obtaining twenty-five good leads from potential partners like foreign publishers, educators, e-book publishers, or Taiwan distributors. We've already exceeded those numbers, and we've met book people from Malaysia, Thailand, Germany, Australia, Japan, Korea, and mainland China, along with many dedicated and entrepreneurial people from Taiwan. We've also set in motion the procedures for establishing our Taiwan branch business, and we've received valuable feedback and generous advice on our products and how best to place them.
As for life outside of work, there hasn't been much. People here work very hard, though they laugh a lot while doing so. Thursday night we met an educator in his office at 7 pm, and he gave us cake while explaining his business model and providing free advice for two hours. Last night we networked until 10 pm, and Saturday and Sunday will be the same.
The weather has been drizzly and cool, mostly in the high fifties. People huddle under umbrellas for rain so light it barely dampens the hair, and they keep apologizing for the cold. I tell them this is a welcome and warm vacation from wintry Boston. This week marks a festival where people will gather in the park and release lanterns into the sky. Already, huge colored lanterns of dragons and cartoon characters stand lit at night and waiting for release. I'll post pictures soon.