Monday, July 9, 2012

Interview With US Dept. of Commerce Publishing Expert

Interview With Dawn Bruno
Founder of the Global Publishing Team, Senior International Trade Specialist, New York City U.S. Export Assistance Center

1.      Dawn, what does the US Commercial Service Global Publishing, Media and Entertainment Team, a division of US Department of Commerce, do? The U.S Department of Commerce’s Global Publishing, Media and Entertainment Team provides export assistance to the publishing, printing, and media industries. We help U.S. publishers sell rights or titles overseas, identify qualified international partners, access market information and navigate challenges, like intellectual property protection. Our team consists of domestic and international trade specialists located in our Export Assistance Centers throughout the United States and in U.S. Embassies overseas. We have free and fee-based services to help U.S. publishers sell internationally. Many people do not realize that we exist in this capacity to help the publishing and media sectors.

2.      What are the challenges and rewards for what you do for them? Our goal is to help U.S. publishers sell their content and find publishing partners overseas. We are actually gauged by how many sales we help companies to make, so the end result is always our focus. Finding the right partner can be difficult, so a key resource that we provide is helping companies vet or qualify potential partners. Safeguarding intellectual property rights is always the major challenge in this industry, particularly in markets that do not uphold a strong rule of law or prosecute piracy. For me, the biggest reward comes when we help a publisher sell into a country for the first time. Many of the publishers we work with are small with very limited resources, and helping the smaller guys is often the most rewarding for me.

3.      How can US publishers take advantage of overseas opportunities? U.S. publishers have many resources at their disposal through the U.S. Commerce Department. As a starting point, they should review our free market research guide that features over 30 individual country reports. We also coordinate multiple educational webinars on industry hot topics and countries of focus, which provide valuable information. We connect international and domestic publishers at industry events and help publishers showcase their titles at overseas trade shows.  International trade shows offer great opportunities for U.S. publishers. The American Collective Stand coordinates pavilions at many of these events, so publishers should check for a list of their events. The Commerce Department also offers opportunities for publishers to showcase their titles at other international book fairs, which are posted on our website:

4.      Can an individual author or self-published writer work with you as well? The majority of our services are geared towards U.S. publishers – particularly small and medium-sized publishers. Authors and self-published writers are welcome to access our market research and participate in our webinars. For individual authors we recommend they consider exhibiting titles at overseas trade shows with the American Collective Stand or join associations like the Independent Book Publishers Association:

5.      Where can publishers find out more information? I encourage publishers to visit our website at, where they can learn more about our programs. They are also welcome to contact me at, and I can connect them with their local trade specialist.

6.      Where do you see book publishing heading in the coming years?  Well, this industry is changing very rapidly and, as an optimist, I prefer to look on the bright side. I see more channels for small and independent publishers continue to emerge with print on demand, limited print runs, self publishing options, etc. I believe that quality always rises to the top, so although it is harder to get your book noticed, publishers will continue to be creative about marketing their titles and utilizing social media. I certainly do not expect print to going away, but rather expect that we will continue to see a hybrid of print and digital options.

7.      How do you work with, the first comprehensive international rights network  for the publishing community that connects publishers, authors, and agents worldwide? We are thrilled to see how PubMatch has developed as a key industry resource. We work closely with PubMatch and other industry partners. We view PubMatch as key tool to help publishers connect internationally. U.S. publishers should use all of the resources available to them – the U.S. Commerce Department, PubMatch, American Collective Stand, book fairs, and more. We are in the business of connecting U.S. companies internationally, so we feel that PubMatch offers a very valuable service.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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