Friday, June 14, 2013

When The Written Word is Not English

At the recent Book Expo convention in New York, there was one noticeable trend.  Other countries want to flood America with their books.  This could have an impact on our culture, education, and book economy.

As one strolled past hundreds of exhibitors, mainly of book publishers, digital service providers, and industry groups, the biggest displays came from Saudi Arabia, Mexico, China, Turkey, Greece, Spain, and Russia.  It was as global as can be.

Imagine how much more competitive the book market is getting when you start to factor in books from overseas being sold here.  Some foreign language books are sold here, and some translated books have made it to America.  But now it looks like the fastest-growing segment won’t be YA titles, e-books, audio downloads or Mommy porn (i.e. 50 Shades) -- but books from far-away countries.

If this opens the door to the expanded exportation of US books and the translation of English works into other languages, that’s great.  If we import more, that’s fine too.  We need to expand our cultural experiences and expose ourselves to new story lines.  Further, if more books from overseas are sold here, it creates more competition but could lead to higher sales for bookstores.

I found the international component at BEA to be eye-opening.  Is BEA looking to become more like Frankfurt and sell itself as a foreign rights bazaar?

Don’t be surprised if one day you see some of the titles of a bestseller list coming from overseas authors and publishers.  In fact, we should embrace them.

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. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013 

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