I found this article via Sean the Bookonaut. It discusses the case against an idea that has reared its head of late, in light of all the problems with territorial rights in an increasingly digital market: whether there should be more of a push towards world rights for authors. Ginger Clark, from the Curtis Brown Agency, argues with an example of a paranormal Young Adults book cover, designed for different markets:
The differences are subtle, and it can be difficult to articulate their regional significance. This is precisely why it is so important to have a local publisher who knows that the Australian cover is best suited for Australia. The British cover is incredibly British. The American is the right one for North America. I’m not sure that Australian cover would work in the UK. And I don’t think the British cover would work here or in Canada.
My main concern with the article is really that, despite its valid points, it doesn't address the simple reality that territorial rights don't work in a digital world. The only way to enforce them is to apply DRM, which we already know a) doesn't work, b) is expensive, c) alienates customers.
And so although there are clearly benefits to selling rights regionally, there's no way to enforce them in an effective way, making the point kind of moot.
Read the rest here, it's an interesting piece: http://publishingperspectives.com/2011/06/world-rights-one-cover-not-best-idea/