Licensing Seminar highlights the Hasselhoff effect

skills for publishing

This is a guest post from Tom Chalmers, Managing Director at IPR License.

Late last month we hosted our inaugural Global Licensing: The Bigger Picture conference which saw a host of leading figures from a range of creative sectors highlight how they maximise licensing revenue, combat copyright infringement and piracy in the digital world and what lessons could be learnt by the publishing world. Plus a debate over the future of book fairs and a focus on emerging new markets for licensing.

Firstly, let me thank all the speakers and attendees again for such an enlightening and entertaining day. As suspected there was no shortage of opinion or debate across a variety of boundaries, mediums and sectors. The only thing that everyone did agree on is the importance attached to rights and licensing whatever and wherever the marketplace.

One on-going theme which did crop up throughout the morning sessions in particular revolved around books in translation and the challenges facing international publishers in getting their key titles into the English language markets. The general consensus was that there should be more books in translation, especially into English, but that the barriers for all but the best-selling international works with huge existing readerships would continue to limit their numbers. As such the chance of an overseas debut novel being translated into English are about as low as Leicester City winning the Premiership and then going onto win the Champions League the following season. OK maybe not as low as Leeds United winning anything but you get the gist.

However, far more opportunities do remain for English language works in translation. Here at IPR License this is a market in which we are continually looking for ways to help more authors and publishers maximise revenue for their works. So whilst it may seem a little unfair, there’s little chance that an excellently written international book with good, rather than excellent, sales figures will be snapped up for translation into English but a book which may have sold only OK in the US could, for example, sell really well in Germany, depending upon the genre.

And that ladies and gentlemen is what I like to refer to as the Hasselhoff effect. You might not like it but it’s sadly difficult to ignore. It is something here at IPR License we want to challenge over the coming months and years.


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