The Innovative Experiences of Ylib Group
in Taiwan : Three Case Studies

Jung-Wen Wang CEO & Chairman, Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., Ltd. 2005.08.30

The core issue in the publishing industry right now, and this is shared by what I’d like to call the “culture industry”—music, design, performance, etc, is intellectual property. Once you develop intellectual property, you must add value to it, and then manage it well. The process involves the harmony of four clear areas: creativity, production, marketing, and consumer involvement. The strength of the publishing industry today lies in the combination of people’s involvement from all four areas, such as editors, scholars, government officials, and consumers. We all have the opportunity to contribute to and influence intellectual property! Today, as the CEO of Ylib Group, I am pleased to share Yuan-Liou’s 30-year experiences in Taiwan at this seminar, “The Development and Innovation of the Publishing Industry.” Due to limited time, I will share with you the case studies of three of Yuan-Liou’s very special authors: Lee Ao, Bo Yang and Jin Yong. These writers are extremely well-known to Chinese readers around the world. I always enjoy working with them. It is a process of creation. Working with them and being a part of the creative process has been a remarkable experience for me. First, please let me briefly introduce to you Yuan-Liou Publishing Company. For more information, please check the website (

About Ylib Group

The Founder Wang, Jung-wen

Yuan-Liou’s Principles of Publishing:

● Publishers are not to give conclusions, but to provide the means for people to reach conclusions themselves.

● Instead of providing a stage for certain ideas, opinions, or standpoints, a publisher’s mission is to let all ideas, all opinions, and all standpoints come to the stage, so as to have each of them reflect off and compared to one another.

● Publishers mind not the contradictions, criticism, nor uproars; what they fear most is silence and unanimous accordance.

● It is a publisher’s belief that no man can be almighty or a saint; therefore, it would be best to rid ideas of ranking and decisions of leadership.

● It is a publisher’s desire to promote more dialogues in society, more paths on which people can tread their thoughts and feelings, and more opportunities for self-education and self-liberation. As long as one can persuade himself with his self-sufficient theory or ideas, therein lies a potential publication.

● Publishers do not tolerate monopoly by politics, guns, religions, academe, media, or idols; in their eyes, there exists only books—books from the presidents, generals, professors and saints are equal to those from the lower classes and the rebels.

● These principles make up our constitution, a publishing principle that is called “Tsai-Yuan-peism”.

I. Yuan-Liou Publishing Company Ltd.

● The company has more than 150 employees, annually publishes 250 ~ 300 new titles (40 ~ 50% of which are translated titles) and reprints 600 ~ 800 previously published titles. For 30 years now, Yuan-Liou has published approximately 5,000 titles altogether.

● Yearly gross revenue of NT$ 500,000,000 ~ 600,000,000; total annual sales of 3,500,000 ~ 4,000,000 copies.

● Its profits are driven by the Editorial and Sales departments, which are run by SBU (Strategic Business Unit); there are at present 12 SBU editor-in-chiefs in Editorial and 4 SBU managers in Sales. The F&A, Information and Copyright departments are grouped as the cost center. 。

● Categories

A. Self-Help
B. Business & Management
C. History
D. Academic
E. Literature
F. Health
G. Family
H. Movie
I. Travel Guides
J. Local Interests
K. Fiction
L. Popular Science
M. Children & Parenting
N. Britannica online
O. Scientific American
(Chinese edition)  

II. Company Ltd.

●The company has more than 20 employees, serving clients with the following leading products: 1. on-line encyclopedias --- “Encyclopedia Britannica Online”, “Encyclopedia of China”, “Encyclopedia of Taiwan”; 2. websites featuring digital readings, including articles, photos & pictures, and books; 3. twelve web-based knowledge-banks of different themes; for example, Taiwan Insects, Taiwan Aborigines, Ancient Remains of Taiwan, Fishes of Taiwan, Business English Learning Programs, and an English-Chinese edition of Scientific American, etc.

●Yearly gross revenue of NT$ 50,000,000, primarily generated by B2B and B2C sales of the above-mentioned products of digital content and granting rights for IA bundles.

Three Successful Case Studies

Case 1:Lee Ao & “A Narrative of Chinese History” 

1. Background Factors

● Combined talents of a famous writer (Lee Ao), an advertisement expert (Mr. Su), and a talented copywriter (Mr. Lee).

● Successful experiences running full-page ads in newspapers.

2. Innovation & Originality

● Took full advantage of the monopoly of three dominant newspapers on the island at the time and ran ads in all of them to promote the product.

● Committed to publishing a large book series during a time of booming economic growth and social development.

● As a result, Yuan-Liou has been successful in selling both single titles through bookstores and series or collections through direct-marketing.

Case 2:Bo Yang & “Historical Mirror of Chinese Politics”  

1. Background Factors

Repeatedly asking writers this question: “What is the book you desire the most to write in your life?”

Taiwan’s first bookstore chain King Stone opened its first store in 1983, thus beginning a whole new era in the publishing industry in Taiwan. King Stone established a Local Best Seller billboard for the public and Yuan-Liou made full use of it to promote “Historical Mirror of Chinese Politics” and other local publications.

2. Innovation & Originality

Learning from the successful part-works marketing technique undertaken by Oxford Dictionary (Australian Edition), Yuan-Liou published Bo Yang’s large series as a collection of digests, which were published monthly and sent to subscribers.

The first volume of the digest series was sold at NT$49 in bookstores, and due to its low price, reached a total sales of 30,000 copies. Soon after, Yuan-Liou had 5,000 subscribers.

A channel for communication between the readers and the writer was established through the Reader’s Mailbox found at the back of each digest.

Yuan-Liou’s marketing and publishing strategy successfully prolonged the original production plan from 3 years to 10, and remarkably doubled the series from the original 36 volumes to 72 volumes when the work was finally completed.

Case 3:Jing Yong & The Kung Fu Romance

1. Background Factors

An accidental encounter with Jing Yong himself in Hong Kong resulted in a prosperous twenty-year friendship and business between the writer and Yuan-Liou.

2. Innovation & Originality

Based on the best selling history, re-positioned Jing Yong’s Kung Fu romance as “the language common to all Chinese around the world.”

In the first three years, marketed three different editions to protect itself from piracy, first releasing hard-cover, then pocket-size, and finally the paper edition (most easily pirated), and also protected its publications through other legal means.

Over the course of 20 years, the charismatic Jing Yong visited Taiwan five times, attracting considerable attention from the media and the public. Yuan-Liou’s promotion of the writer with an active marketing campaign was highly effective.

Handling subsidiary rights of the work for the writer, and playing a role as both an agent and a superintendent, Yuan-Liou helped the writer expand his works into various fields in Taiwan.

Conclusion Perspectives on the future of publishing   

1. Getting the right person in the right place at the right time.

2. Selecting prominent titles and creating co-branding alliances.

3. Not being afraid of change and participating in the revolution.

4. Embracing the future and seizing its challenges.