Since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, our country’s publishers have rapidly recovered and developed At present, there are more than 460 publishers in our country regional distribution is relatively widespread, they are largely complete in specialization categories, and the main body of publisher distribution has been largely completed. At present, the main tasks are conducting reform and striving to run the existing publishers well.
In recent years, publishing reform has seen relatively clear progress in a number of areas. Publishers have changed the situation of taking class struggle as the key link and revolving around political campaigns, and broadened the book publishing sphere, have diligently propagated Marxism and the Party line, principles and policies, have diligently served reform and opening up, and have diligently served the construction of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Local publishers’ operational policies have changed from localization, popularization and vulgarization to being based in a location and facing the entire country, and have changed from comprehensive publishing into specialized publishing. Publishers have conducted job title reform and have conducted evaluation and appointment in a specialized position system. Large numbers of publishers conduct enterprise management, and begin to pay regard to operations, pay regard to self-organized distribution, and are changing from a production model to a production-operations model. Some publishers have conducted trials and explorations concerning a director responsibility system, cooperative publishing, self-funded publishing and contracted responsibility systems. But, many issues that require reform still exist in publishers’ work, State macro-level management over publishing work is insufficient, and control is excessive and lethal at the micro level, book topic selection and structuring are insufficiently rational and perfect, book quality remains to be raised, book publishers lack the necessary decision-making power, etc. Inside publishers, Party and State are not separated, politics and business are not separated, there is egalitarianism in allocation and operational mechanisms lack the necessary vitality. Because of this, it is necessary to further liberate thoughts, dare to explore, and further move publishing house reform forward.
On the basis of the practice of publishing house reform in the past few years, hereby, the following trial rules on the present issue of publishing house reform (mainly being the issue of internal reform in publishing houses) are hereby put forward:
I, Guiding ideology for publishing house reform
The basic objective of publishing house reform is to establish and develop a Socialist publishing system full of vitality, even better persist in the principle of serving the people and serving Socialism, raise the quality of books, publish even more good books, and contribute to material civilization and spiritual civilization construction.
Under conditions of developing the planned Socialist commodity economy, publishers must transform from production models to production-operation models, ensuring that publishers are both publishers of books and managers of books. In order to adapt to this sort of transformation, reform needs to be conducted both vigorously and reliably over the original structure of publishers, including leadership structures, operational structures, management structures, human affairs structures, allocation structures, etc., in order to raise the adaptability, competitiveness and self-development capacity of publishers.
Publishers must both give high regard to social effect and give high regard to economic effect, and must put social effect first. But publishers who assume sole responsibility for profits and losses, if they do not stress economic interests, will also face difficulty in realizing social interest. In dealing with concrete questions, where a contradiction occurs between economic effect and social effect, economic effect must submit to social effect. In short, efforts must be made to integrate social effect and economic effect.
Publishing more good books is the basic indicator to measure the effect of publishing house reform. Conducting reform of publishing house structures, strengthening and improving operations, is for the sake of creating conditions in all aspects, to guarantee the publication of more good books and stimulate the construction of a Socialist spiritual civilization
II, Optimizing topic selection, adjusting book structures
Optimizing topic selection, adjusting and perfecting book structures is the key to raising book quality and publishing more good books. In reform, publishers must fix eyes upon earnestly editing and publishing books that reflect and promote the progress of the times, disseminate and accumulate excellent ideological, moral, scientific and cultural achievements of humankind, and enrich the spiritual and cultural life of the popular masses, in order to satisfy the needs of all kinds and all levels of readers.
Topic selection planning must be grasped from beginning to end. In formulating topic selection plans, a method integrating bottom-up and top-down may be employed, it is necessary to guarantee and support the vigour of editorial and writing groups, and to submit to needs of overall planning of the whole publishing house. In order to broaden sources for contributions and timely grasp important selected topics, writing groups may be established inside and outside publishing houses for compilation.
Efforts must be made to grasp focus books. Publishers and editorial offices must have their own focus book publishing plans, and guarantee completion on the basis of quality and quantity. Focus books must strive to explore and innovate, fill in gaps and give prominence to the characteristics of their publishers.
In order to guarantee book quality, in principle, a three-examination system shall be persisted in. The final examination and dispatching of manuscripts must certainly be the responsibility of the general editor, the vice-general editor or an editor or vice-editor entrusted by the general editor or vice-general editor who is approved by the publishing house director
Reprinting books must be grasped well. On the basis of book content and market situations, arrange for reprints in a planned manner, progressively accumulate the retained book lists of the publisher, and shape one’s own characteristics. At present, mediocre and roughly made books are excessive in number, paper and other resources are in extremely short supply, decisions must be made to control the variety of published books, to guarantee book quality.
Publishers’ specialist division of labour is a requirement of development and progress in publishing work, and shall be persisted in. In order to stimulate the publication of academic theory monographs and science or technology books, publishing houses with a relatively narrow specialization (science and technology publishing houses and academic publishing houses) may loosen up somewhat, and are permitted to publish small numbers (not exceeding 3-5% of the overall topic selection of one year) of books related to or near to their discipline. Book topic selections exceeding the specialist division of labour must be reported for approval in advance with the higher-level controlling department.
III, Progressively carrying out the director responsibility system
The system of director and general editor responsibility under Party Committee leadership is no longer suited to the present needs of publishing reform, and the director responsibility system must be practiced progressively. The director is the legal representative. Party organizations have a supervising and guaranteeing function.
Directors have complete leadership over publishers’ editing work and operational management work. The personnel power, financial power and topic selection, examination and approval power that the State provides publishers should have, are exercised by the director. Editorial departments and operational management departments are responsible to the director. The director may directly be appointed by the higher levels; publishers meeting conditions may generate one thought democratic election, who is appointed by higher levels. A term of office system is implemented for directors, they may renew their term. If they are unqualified, they may be reappointed or dismissed.
Whether or not publishers have a general editor, whether this is an independent position or concurrently held by the director, may differ between publishers, and no uniform provision is made. General editors, vice-general editors and vice-directors are put forward by the director, and reported to the higher level controlling department for assessment and appointment.
The publisher’s affairs committee is a discussion organ, is chaired by the director, the director shall earnestly listen to the opinions of the publisher’s affairs committee members, but has the power of decision in discussed issues.
Publishers establish an employees’ representative conference or a staff conference system. The employees’ representative conference or staff conference conducts supervision of the director. Higher-level controlling departments must listen to the opinions of the employees’ representative conference or staff conference when assessing the director.
IV, Vigorously promoting many kinds of responsibility system
Many kinds of responsibility systems are implemented in all publishing house departments, progressively integrating responsibility, power and interest.
Editorial departments must implement a specialist position appointment system and a post responsibility system. Specialist positions must not only be coupled with salary income, but must also be coupled with a post responsibility. Other specialist positions in publishing houses shall also have these requirements.
Continue to implement and perfect all sorts of internal publisher responsibility contracting systems. Editorial departments, when trying out responsibility contracting systems, must have requirements and measures guaranteeing social effect, it is not permitted to ignore publishing policies and book quality, and one-sidedly pursue economic gain. Consider the characteristics of editorial work, profit targets should not be broken down to individuals.
In order to rationally use talent, integrate the establishment of a post responsibility system with progressively achieving the optimization of staff composition in publishers. Publishers may conduct trials to organize staff by the editorial office chair or editors, and establish suitable forms of responsibility system collectives.
Publishers meeting conditions may try out a contracted business responsibility system to the State (higher-level controlling organ). The main contracted content shall include book publishing varieties, quality, quantity and profit.
V, Persist in allocation according to work done, dare to open up differences.
For salary and bonuses, persist in the principle of allocation according to work done, overcome egalitarianism, reward the diligent and punish the lazy, reward the excellent and punish the bad, in order to benefit mustering vigour and raise book quality.
Awards shall be allocated according to the size of the contribution, differences must be opened up. Those making special contributions shall be given a large award. The contribution must be measured completely, including the quality and quantity of labour, social effect and economic effect.
Award measures must fully reflect the characteristics of the spirit borne in editorial departments and production tasks, award rules may be varied. Individual awards may be set up, comprehensive awards may also be set up. Awards may be given on the basis of exceeding quota, may be given through selection, and may be given on the basis of contract conditions.
Where there are awards, there should be punishments. Those violating publishing orientation, not completing their provided tasks, where accidents and negligence occur, and publishing discipline is violated, shall be punished correspondingly on the basis of the gravity of circumstances. The work position of unqualified personnel shall be changed.
VI, Open up many kinds of channels, expand publishing capacity
Publishers may open up many sorts of channels and use social forces to expand funding sources and strive to publish more books.
Cooperative publishing is a new method that emerged in publishing reform. On the basis of the experiences and lessons from trials in the past few years, the scope of cooperatively published books shall be limited to academic works and works in the natural sciences, engineering and technology at present; the targets for cooperation shall at present be limited to State scientific research and education work units and organs and State-run enterprise and undertaking work unit, they cannot be collectives and individuals; cooperatively published books must be subject to final examination and final proofreading by the publisher; both cooperative sides must sign agreements in advance. It is strictly prohibited for publishers to sell book numbers under the guise of cooperative publishing.
Self-funded publishing benefits the resolution of the issue that it is difficult to publish academic works, provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities meeting conditions may appoint a publisher to comprehensively plan and arrange self-funded publishing business. Central first-level publishers meeting conditions may engage in self-funded publishing works after examination and agreement by the Administration of Press and Publications. Self-funded publications at present are limited to academic works and works in the natural sciences, engineering and technology; self-publishers may be work units and may not be individuals; the entire process of self-funded publications’ editing, printing and distribution is the uniform responsibility of the publisher; an agreement must also be signed in advance for self-funded publishing.
We must vigorously develop foreign-oriented publishing cooperation, including cooperative publishing work foreign publishers, and cooperative publishing with Hong Kong as well as Taiwan publishers. Foreign cooperative publishing mainly shall use the foreign side’s financial, technology and distribution channels, and strive to enter more books into the Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and foreign markets. The first stage of this work saw slow progress, and it shall be promoted more.
Publishers may entrust external printing shops to print books, and entrust external distribution work units to distribute books, but may not entrust this to individuals. Contracts must be signed in advance for entrusted printing and distribution, and it must be approved by higher-level controlling departments of both sides, otherwise it is considered an illegal publishing activity. It is prohibited that publishers covertly sell book numbers under the guise of printing or distribution agency.
Where it is truly necessary, publishers may, under the presupposition of not changing the purpose of running the publishing house and the management powers and with the approval of the controlling department, attract funding from State-owned work units and collectively-owned work units for use in developing production; science, technology and academic publishers meeting conditions may, with the agreement of the provincial-level government and the ministerial-level controlling department, and with the approval of the Administration of Press and Publications, try out joint operations with foreign capital, but the proportion of the foreign capital must be lower than 1/2, and the editorial department shall be controlled by our side.
VII, Constructing a line of high-quality publishing teams in reform
Doing publishing house reform well requires a line of high-quality teams, and this line of high-quality teams only can be built and mature during the process of reform.
The construction of publishing teams must pay regard to establishing new concepts beneficial to the construction of a Socialist spiritual civilization, and incessantly strengthening the sense of culture, sense of management and sense of competition of publishing house members. Conditions must be created to give rein to the function of all talents, dare to put these talents who are vigorous in change, have a broad outlook, stress practical results, are proficient in their work, and are rich with an exploratory spirit in editorial and management sides in important positions.
Publishers are important work units in constructing a Socialist spiritual civilization, and attention must be paid to raising the ideological and political levels of publishing house members, and especially all levels’ backbones, and to consciously persist in “one centre, two basic points”; foster the social responsibility professional morals and spirit of contribution of publishing house members, establish a sense of honour in carrying out the publishing undertaking, strengthen publishing teams’ centripetal force and cohesiveness. The necessary conditions must be created to ensure that publishing house members, and especially editors and publishing staff have the time for study, coursework, investigation, research, and participation in academic activities, to raise policy levels, knowledge levels and professional capacities, strengthen discipline and raise efficiency.
Under the precondition of completing their duties, editorial staff is recommended to engage in writing.
VIII, Strengthening leadership over publishing house reform
Publishing house reform has just started in many aspects, lacks practical experience, and will run in all sorts of difficulties and problems. All levels’ Party Committee propaganda departments and administrative publishing leading departments must enthusiastically give support and help publishers to explore boldly, earnestly summarize experience and timely resolve emerging problems, ensuring the healthy development of reform.
Publishing house reform is a systematic project, and requires comprehensive governance. Doing publishing house reform well not only depends on publishers themselves, but is also closely related to reform in printing, distribution and other aspects of the publishing system, and is also restricted by conditions external to the publishing system. All levels’ publishing leading departments must do both levels of macro-level management and micro-level vitalization well, and must streamline administration and institute decentralization, promote publishers to manage their own matters, and must conduct the necessary planning, guidance, supervision and coordination.
It is proposed that all relevant central and provincial, autonomous region and municipal departments strengthen leadership over publishing reform, and provide the necessary support in financial, credit, taxation, asset and other aspects. The situations of all localities and all departments’ publishing houses are different, the requirements for and progress of reform should also be different. Especially ethnic minority publishers, shall be given direct financial subsidy by the State, and special policies need to be continuously be implemented in reform, to stimulate development and even better serve ethnic minority economies, science and culture.