New York Rights Fair Program Introduction

BolognaFiere, Publishers Weekly (the international news platform of the book publishing industry) and book marketing and promotion resource Combined Book Exhibit have partnered with to launch the New York Rights Fair. The fair will be the first trade and licensing show in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to the international rights, distribution and licensing of content, both adult and children’s. The inaugural New York Rights Fair is scheduled for May 30 – June 1, 2018, and will be held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in midtown Manhattan. The fair will offer a unique venue for U.S. publishers and agents across adult and children’s markets to network with their global counterparts in the publishing capital of the world. The three-day fair will cover rights sales negotiation and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film, and digital channels.

Rights and licensing are the cornerstones of most creative industries. In publishing, rights if they sell, and who they sell to—determine how big an audience a book might win, and its earning potential. Will a literary work travel across borders? Will it become a film? A television show? An audiobook? These things are determined through rights sales, and there is an army of important professionals, largely working behind the scenes, who make these sales happen. At the New York Rights Fair you will meet these professionals—literary agents, scouts, foreign rights associates, film producers, literary managers—and learn how their work is essential to determining what we read, watch and listen to, around the world.

Over three days, the New York Rights Fair will feature three distinct tracks of programming, one for each day of the fair:

  • Track 1: The Global Landscape
  • Track 2: Page to Screen
  • Track 3: The Pillars of Rights

We will be joined by industry professionals and experts from around the globe who specialize in both children’s and adult properties.

Highlights: On May 30th, the fair will host the presentation of the 2018 Best Translated Book Awards. Following the presentation of the awards, Chad Post of Open Letter Books will present a talk on translation. And on May 31st look for a special Global Kids Connect (GKC) breakfast panel.


Wednesday, May 30:

Track 1: The Global Landscape

Morning Kick-Off Event

CEO Talk: A conversation with CEOs from major global publishers

Panel 1

International Blockbusters: Behind the Success of Four Global Bestsellers

The adage is that American publishers don’t buy foreign books. Although largely true, there are exceptions. Here we will look at four books that have hit the market with an international bang, selling in competitive auctions to publishers around the world. What about these books made them such hot commodities—drawing huge buzz, big advances and selling in multi-publisher auctions—from the get-go?

Panel 2

The Scandinavian Smell of Success: Why, and How, Their Crime Fiction Has Become a Global Export

Once considered a fad or a passing trend, Scandinavian crime fiction has become a staple in bookshops around the world. Stieg Larsson, Jo Nesbo and Camilla Läckberg are household names. Why? There is excellent commercial fiction from all over the world that never crosses borders, especially into America (a market notoriously averse to literature in translation). So why have are authors from this region gained so much traction? Is it a lucky coincidence, or part of a strategic effort on the part of key players in the region? We will talk with agents, editors and other insiders about how, and why, Scandinavian crime fiction has broken all the rules of international publishing.

Panel 3

China Calling: What Consumers, in One of the Biggest Global Markets, Want

Over 1.3 billion people. It’s a market that companies have been chasing for years. China, which is the second largest box office in the world (after North America), has a book market estimated at $20 billion. But Chinese consumers are changing. A recent McKinsey survey estimated that 550 million people (and 76% of the country’s urban population) will be middle class by 2020, compared to just 5 million in 2000. With these demographic changes are coming shifts in the tastes and behaviors of Chinese consumers. Succeeding in these markets, with film and book content, is becoming an increasingly nuanced proposition. We will talk to literary agents and filmmakers working in China about how Chinese consumers are changing, and what it is they want…and don’t want.

Panel 4

The International Cartoonists Are Coming: How European Comics Are Taking Hold in the U.S.

European comics have never been more popular in the American market. High-quality titles from Europe—which showcase beautiful art and great storytelling in a variety of genres—are proving to be financially savvy acquisitions for American publishers. At least for those in know. We will introduce the key players in the European comics market who are driving the sale of these titles and providing a booming literary export.

Panel Discussion on Translation

A special talk on translation preceding the announcement of the 2018 Best Translated Book Awards, both of which will be hosted by Chad Post of Open Letter Books.

Thursday, May 31:

Track 2: Page to Screen

Panel 1

The Rise of the Streaming Giants: How Netflix, Amazon and Others are Changing the Rules of IP in Hollywood

The Guardian recently reported that revenue generated by streaming content from Netflix and Amazon will, by 2020, overtake the U.K. box office. The growth of streaming media companies has led to a surge in demand for content in Hollywood. For book publishers and authors the current paradigm has meant a boon in business. There are more buyers in L.A. than ever before. Their model, built on binge-worthy material for niche audiences, is very different than the major studios and TV companies. So what are these new players looking for? How are they finding material? We will talk to development executives and scouts, working for companies such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, to find out.

Panel 2:

Adaptations Around the World: How International Producers Source Literary Material

Hollywood may be the most famous movie industry in the world, but it’s far from the only one. There are producers adapting literary material around the world. How do they source and option material? Are they heavily focused on books in their local markets? Do they employ film scouts? We will talk to producers and film executives in various markets outside the U.S. to find out how they conduct business, and whether they’re willing (and eager) to make connections beyond their own borders.

Panel 3

Diversity and Dollars: Do Creative Gatekeepers Appreciate the Financial Upside of Diversity?

From the #oscarssowhite campaign to the outrage caused by the PW) Salary Survey statistic that the book publishing industry is roughly 80% white, the entertainment industry has a diversity problem. As these industries grapple with how to produce more diverse content, are they failing to grasp the financial upsides of diversity? Is creating diverse content too often seen as doing good, instead of being smart? We will talk to editors and agents in books and film about whether this imbalance is being addressed.

Panel 4:

The Crowdsourcing Way: What Hollywood Sees in Emerging Content Platforms

The Punch Escrow was the kind of red-hot manuscript an editor dreams about. It had multiple studios bidding on it, before it went to Lionsgate for seven figures. The catch? It didn’t have an editor, at least not a traditional one. The work was published by the crowdsourcing website Inkshares, which has strong Hollywood admirers. And Inkshares is not alone. Smashwords, a writing community where authors can gain an audience through crowdsourcing, has proven to be another area of interest for Hollywood. Do these platforms actually offer built-in audiences? Do they appeal in other ways? Who are the companies Hollywood has been turning to for this type of content? We will talk to executives at these companies, and L.A.-based agents, to find out.

Friday, June 1:

Track 3: The Pillars of Rights

Panel 1

Making Books Travel: The World of Foreign Rights and Book Scouts

For authors and publishers, foreign rights are one of the most important aspects of a book sale. The perception of how well a book can sell outside its country of origin has a huge impact on an author’s advance, and future royalties. But who makes these decisions? And how are books sold to publishers in other countries? We will learn how these rights are assessed and sold from the people doing it every day: foreign rights managers and literary scouts.

Panel 2

The L.A. Literati: Meet the Film Scouts and Co-Agents

Although there is a perception that how a book becomes a movie is based on chance, the reality is that film scouts and co-agents are the driving force behind book options. These are the people informing studio executives about which books will make successful movies. In this talk we will uncover how these essential players do their jobs, and the various ways content wends its way from New York publishing houses to the desks of producers, big and small.

Panel 3

Inside the Auction: How the Biggest Books Get Sold

Books that land huge advances—seven figures, high six figures—are often bought at auction. But how do auctions actually work? Do all sought-after titles become the subject of heated auctions? How much do these sales come down to the instincts and maneuvering of literary agents? What’s it like, as an editor, to be involved in a bidding war? We will talk to agents and editors who’ve been a part of big auctions to find out what these behind-the-scenes literary sales actually involve.

Panel 4

Can You Hear Me Now?

Finding Opportunity in the Booming Audio Rights Market More information to be announced soon!

For more information about the Fair, please contact:

BolognaFiere China Ltd.

New York Rights Fair Team

Ms. Vivian Zhang

Tel: +86-21-61907303



BolognaFiere China Ltd.