Selling Foreign-Language Rights

March 2002
by Dan Poynter

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In its original form as a manuscript, any book is a Work. The Work may be published in several different formats or editions–hardcover, softcover, audiotape, e-book, magazine condensation, newspaper serialization, movie, translations, etc.–through “subsidiary rights” deals.
Subrights deals that provide for having your book translated into other languages mean that more people will benefit from your message and that you will gain a new profit center. Also, a foreign rights sale counts as an “endorsement.” In book publishing, success breeds success. The more you sell, the more you sell. Part of your sales package is a list of the subsidiary rights you have sold. Overseas Opportunities
Publishers would sell more foreign rights if they just took the time to let international publishers know of their books.
Publishers in the United States are very lucky. English is the business language of the world. It is also the aviation language, and it’s the Web language. English has replaced French as the diplomatic language and German as the scientific language. The market for our original English-language books is quite large. Worldwide, more people speak
English as a second language than any other. But given a choice, many people would still prefer to read your book in their first language.
Publishers in other countries who buy language rights will translate the book, design it, typeset it, have it printed, and then plug it into their…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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