Book Fairs Becoming a Key Meeting Place for Technology

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

Book Fairs Becoming a Key Meeting Place for TechnologyIn a month in which a number of rights and licensing deals will be cemented, announced and lauded, it seems to me very appropriate that Digital Book World is focusing on the importance of rights solutions.

October has long been synonymous with the Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF), and this continues to be the largest and most important one-off rights and licensing event on the publishing calendar. Full disclosure: FBF is a stakeholder in and partner of IPR License (my company), but it’s relationships like this that help illustrate how book fairs are looking to evolve in today’s quickly changing publishing market.

The completion of key deals is commonplace at FBF, and each fair will have its own “buzz books” (without questioning when the deal was actually done). For such titles, this makes it straightforward for international buyers to contact the relevant rights holder to inquire about the remaining rights.

However, such titles are rare when you consider the sheer volume of books released throughout the year. The reality is that it’s not always so easy or straightforward to track down the rights holders for other less well-known or less high-profile titles. And if you can’t find the rights holder, how can an inquiry be made and seen during the busy event period?

This is where book fairs and technology can work together. Historically, the publishing industry has been built on relationships, and these will continue to be the bedrock of the publishing business for many years to come. Book fairs allow thousands of publishing professionals to have face-to-face interactions and also make connections that cannot be made as well through an email exchange. These fairs provide a great platform for networking, branding, launching new products and announcing new deals, but it’s also important to remember that publishing is a non-stop business. For many of us, it feels as if it’s 24/7, 365 days a year.

The advent of technology has provided a complementary—not alternative—solution to meet the needs of a variety of international publishers. It supports publishers that might not have large marketing budgets or a wealth of resources to use to embark upon finding the right titles for their frontlists or to maximize rights sales internationally. Technology also provides the largest publishers with an efficient way to handle inquiries from all over the world, as well as promote into new and emerging markets.

And the international element is certainly a big pull for many of IPR’s members. This is one of the reasons why we are focusing on the topic “How to Unlock Foreign Rights Revenue” in our upcoming webinar with DBW. We’ll be looking at efficient and effective ways to buy and sell foreign rights, thereby maximizing rights licensing revenues.

The webinar will be held at the end of the month, but DBW will announce the time and date as we get closer.

I hope this will provide some vital information about the multi-billion dollar rights and licensing sector, and in addition, our team will be out in full force throughout FBF at Hall 6.2 Stand D37, so if you have any questions, or just want to make a new book fair connection, please stop by to find out more.

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2 thoughts on “Book Fairs Becoming a Key Meeting Place for Technology

  1. Thomas

    Is there a website where international publishers can advertise rights for other publishers to browse? Possibly include a market for translators? Etc.? If not, WHY not?!?!?!

    1. Tom Chalmers

      Thanks Thomas. Well, that is exactly was IPR License ( offers! The reason I started the company was that it felt like something that should surely exist. Translators is an interesting point, an opportunity I have given some thought to, maybe something we will work on in the futre.



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