By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief
“Livres Canada Books exists to support the export of English and French Canadian books abroad and to support their international efforts,” says François Charette, executive director of the not-for-profit organization, which represents some 150 independent publishers. “We are like a force multiplier for our publishers, helping them extend their reach out into the world.”
Based in Ottawa, Livres Canada Books offers a convenient point of contact for the international publishing community to discover the latest offerings from this vibrant publishing market. In addition to offering logistical and educational support —through export subsidies, turn-key services for publishers exhibiting at international fairs, as well as reports and webinars to its members — Livres Canada Books also produces a bi-annual rights catalog featuring top titles available from its members, Rights Canada, once prior to the London Book Fair and again before the Frankfurt Book Fair.
To take one example of a success story, Linda Cameron of the University of Alberta Press (UAP) reports that UAP has achieved more than 20% of net sales through export. “Considering many of the books we publish are of a regional nature I am convinced this level of export success would not have been possible without the support provided by Livres Canada Books. Thanks to Livres Canada Books we are able to attend foreign book fairs and participate in foreign sales events, we have access to market guides and participate in the Rights Canada and Canadian Studies Collection as well as benefit from scouting missions and webinars. Most importantly Livres Canada Books is run by publishers, industry insiders who know the business and make decisions accordingly.”
The new, just-published edition of Rights Canada features 74 titles from 28 different Canadian publishers — all the publishers are Canadian-owned and controlled, and the titles are split 50/50 between French and English. The catalog represents a full range of genres, from literary fiction to children’s books, young adult literature to university press books.
“We are looking at selling rights abroad, for publication, translation and licensing,” notes Charette. “We offer a great selection of what is available from Canadian-owned publishers where there is tremendous diversity — a publisher in British Columbia is different than a publisher from Québec or Ontario — so ultimately we are promoting a diversity of authors, ideas and society. But this rights catalog is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg.”
While the primary market for Canadian books remains the United States, as well as the UK, Australia, and France, Charette says the mission of Livres Books Canada is two-fold: “We both want to continue to serve the standard markets that have already done well for our publishers, but also then look for emerging markets. For this, we let our publishers drive the strategy, and so we have been looking at markets in Asia — China and South Korea — and the Middle East.” Recently, the organization did a scouting mission to Turkey, and will also be going to Israel and Colombia in the next two years.
“At Orca Book Publishers we’ve seen significant increases in our foreign rights sales over the past five years, none of which would have been possible without the assistance of Livres Canada Books,” says Bob Tyrrell. “While our US business continues to grow at a healthy rate, we have also established ongoing relationships with publishers in China, Korea, France, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries. The Livres Canada Books programs allow us to manage these diverse relationships in an economically sensible manner, leaving some profit at the end of the day.”
For publishers looking to make contact with Livres Canada Books, you can find them at the Canada Stand at the major international book fairs, including London, Bologna, Beijing and Frankfurt.
“As part of our mandate to help exporting Canadian publishers, we also connect the international community to their Canadian publishing colleagues. The Rights Canada catalog is just a sample of titles available at any given time. We also have a database online that offers access to multiple titles, with contact information that allows you to communicate with the publishers directly.”
Caroline Fortin of Québec Amérique notes, “It is thanks to Livres Canada Books that our publishing house has developed its exports and built strong networking partnerships internationally over the course of over 25 years. The services and the expertise of the association provide professional support to publishers in their international activities.”
Livres Canada Books is one of very few book-related national organizations in the world strictly dedicated to supporting the export of books abroad at a national level. Funded 85% by the Canadian government, its very existence demonstrates a level of dedication from the Canadian government to supporting locally-owned businesses in the cultural sector.
“We are the convenient connection between the English and French language publishers in Canada to the world,” says Charette. “We are diverse, collective, independent and international. Get in touch with us today.”
To sign up for the Rights Canada mailing list: http://bit.ly/RightsCanada_SignUp
To download the Spring 2015 Rights Canada catalogue: http://bit.ly/RightsCanada_Download
To arrange a call or quote from Livres Canada Books please contact Rebecca Ross (email@example.com /+1 613 562-2324 x 229)