Opportunities exist for English-language publishers to expand into profitable and growing markets around the world. While this certainly includes the European Union and its large English-speaking population, increasingly it is customers across Asia most interested in English titles, especially in e-book form. Publishers with robust rights and royalty management will be poised to take advantage of this booming overseas demand for both new and backlist titles alike.
Setting up royalty software and rights management systems is the first step towards pursuing and profiting from customers around the world looking for English-language e-books. To venture into this realm profitably, you need to have quick and easy access to your available rights, and to ensure that you are collecting revenues and properly distributing royalties. Even if you’re not focused on overseas markets right now, having the flexibility to move quickly is paramount. Now is the time to ensure that your publishing contracts include global distribution rights and electronic rights, and that your rights management software is sound.
For publishers of various sizes, e-books offer advantages over printed books when it comes to international markets. For instance, e-books are not subject to the same distribution challenges associated with getting physical books into bookstores. Plus, digitizing your content makes it easier and less expensive to translate it to other languages as compared to translating and reprinting physical copies, thus increasing licensing opportunities.
China in particular is a huge market for English-language e-books because the country doesn’t have ready access to many translated books, yet it boasts a population increasingly fluent in English as a second language.
India is another market with a promising potential for English language e-books: English is widely spoken and taught in many schools; there is a demand for English titles across multiple genres; and there is limited access to printed books in English.
These large markets in China and India bring with them their own popular tastes and needs. While a limited number of English-language bestsellers are available in translation in both countries, many popular titles are not–and the quality of the local translations is an entirely separate issue. The rise of the middle class in China and India has produced an increased interest in literature from both their own countries and from around the world. And where an appreciation for literature was once largely confined to the upper educated classes of India and China, cultural literacy has entered the mainstream in these two most populous nations on earth.
Augmenting this general rise in reading is the demand for e-books on technical subjects in the realms of medicine, general science, computer science, business, and other specialized genres. These types of books are usually not translated, in either physical or e-book form, so readers expect to read them in English already. This also opens up the potential to digitize and license your backlist titles covering these topics.
Children’s e-books written in English are another segment of the industry poised for growth, and not just in Asia. The number of available e-book titles for young children, tweens, and teens is growing, though not at the rate of books for adults. However, as more young people begin using e-book readers and other digital tablets at home and at school it is reasonable to expect children’s e-books to rise in popularity in the coming years. Plus, the ability of e-books to incorporate video and other enhanced content is of particular interest to the young reader demographic which could also cause e-book readership to increase.
In this digital world overseas markets and customers are closer than ever. Being equipped with the best possible rights and royalty management system will help you reach them wherever they may be while ensuring that both you and your authors are maximizing profits through efficient licensing and collection capabilities. This new profitability requires both knowing what rights you have available and ensuring that you collect on your licensed content – the core function of a rights management solution.