territorial rights

A case against World Rights, One Cover via @pubperspectives

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/

What are the publishers doing for us? via @pubperspectives

This is an article from Publishing Perspectives covering the inaugural Publishers Launch London conference recently. One of the quotes that stood out to me is relevant to last week's discussion about cover design. Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown says:

“The reason we have so many jackets looking the same is that publishers will say 'oh, we can’t choose that one because Tesco won’t like it'”

It's easy to wave at the rebirth of self-publishing in this digital era and dismiss the traditional publishing industry's contributions, but:

Stephen Page, Chief Executive of Faber, suggested that publishers perhaps don’t do as good a job as they could of communicating to authors the value publishers offer. “We forget the difficulty of the remote position that writers occupy.”

This hearkens back to the discussions we've had here about the perceived value of the digital container, and so highlights a deficiency in the publishing industry - communications. I'd hazard a guess that traditional publishing houses have not had a requirement to explain themselves for decades, nor any dearth of quality submissions. It seems to me that in a world where authors have increasingly varied avenues to publishing, they really need to improve this aspect if they want to continue to attract the best talent.

The article also contains some perspectives from both sides regarding territorial rights and the place of digital formats.

Read the rest of the article here: http://publishingperspectives.com/2011/06/authors-what-are-publishers-doing-for-us/