Rights Roundup: The Pandemic Changes the Book Fair Calendar Again

In News by Porter Anderson

Titles in today’s Rights Roundup come from Japan by way of Finland, as well as from original publications in Slovakia, Sweden, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, the United States, and France.

Authors and illustrators whose work is represented in this Rights Roundup are, clockwise from upper left, Mats Strandberg; Oili Tanninen; Alena Schröder; Gökçe Gökçeer; Pelin Turgut; Charles Pépin; Vanda Rozenbergová; and Emily House

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

The Pandemic: Bologna’s Decision, Hotez’s Book
As many of our readers will have noted, we have word today that the Bologna Children’s Book Fair is moving to an all-digital presentation for a second year, on its (already adjusted) June 14 to 17 dates. Our coverage is here.

This, of course, will affect many readers of Rights Roundup, whose spring already has had an empty spot on the calendar where the world’s largest trade show dedicated to younger readers’ content is supposed to be. Even that well-intended June positioning was, of course, well past the time in the spring rights-selling season.

Note that Bologna does plan a very active program for its Bologna Global Rights Exchange and associated rights-trading activities, although—as most of us seem to agree—the loss of our major world publishing trade events and book fairs is something we can’t fully make up in digital alternatives.

Nevertheless, the reasoning behind BolognaFiere’s decision is sound, as Italy struggles with what many analysts now believe was too early an emphasis on vaccinating younger citizens with limited vaccine availability—and various levels and regions of lockdown restrictions now being extended.

Meanwhile, with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in mind (and when is it not?), we can update you today on some quick international sales uptake for a release we covered early in March.

Preventing the Next Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time of Anti-Science from Johns Hopkins University Press (March 2) is a fully internationalized take on the world health crisis by Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD, one of the world’s key specialists in vaccinology and neglected tropical disease control.

Based at the Texas Children’s Hospital Center affiliated with Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine, Hotez predicted at the time of the book’s release that the B.1.1.7 variant of the novel coronavirus would become the United States’ (and other nations’) predominant strain–and that already has come about since the book went to market.

Peter J. Hotez

Kelly Rogers, rights manager with Johns Hopkins University Press, reports that translation rights so far have been sold into:

  • Korean: So Woo Joo
  • Portuguese/Brazil: Grupo A (a sale in Portuguese/Portugal is hoped for, as well, via the Ildios Matos Agency)
  • Audiobook: Recorded Books

We’ll continue to monitor this and other relevant titles, as the anticipated staging of a physical edition of Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 20 to 24) draws nearer. And in case you didn’t catch our earlier piece, London Book Fair’s organizers now say they anticipate a decision on whether the show can be held at the end of June.

As in each roundup, we use some of the promotional copy supplied to us by agents and rights directors, editing that copy to give you an idea about a book’s nature and tone. If you’d like to submit a deal to Publishing Perspectives, see the instructions at the end of this article.

The Conference

By Mats Strandberg

  • Publisher: Norstedts, Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Lena Stjernström, Grand Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Denmark: Modtryk
  • Finland: Like
  • Germany: S. Fischer

“A group of municipal employees arrive at a picturesque conference center, situated by a lake at the foot of a mountain.

“They’re there to discuss a controversial project that has angered many, both in the town and among the employees themselves.

“What they don’t know is that someone is watching them from the other side of the lake. And when darkness starts to fall, they begin to disappear – one by one. A blood soaked thriller about the worst teambuilding exercise imaginable.”

Hippu and the Snow Mouse

In a four-book series including:
Heppu and the House
Misu and the Balloon
Pommo and the Bird

By Oili Tanninen

  • Publisher: Kodansha, Bunkyō, Tokyo
  • Rights contact: Hanna Pajunen-Walsh, Rights & Brands
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Italy: LupoGuido (also acquired rights to original Hippu book)
  • Finland: Otava Publishing Company
  • Korea: Inori Publishing

Hippu is the Finnish classic by Oili Tanninen, first published in 1967.

“The follow-up Hippu and Friends four-book series was created for the Japanese publisher Kodansha, who published the books in 1976.

“Now, these picture books have been brought to life in stunning Pantone colors and fresh translations, set to be released for the first time outside Japan, in three languages. Other books by Tanninen have been published recently by Thames & Hudson in English and Diogenes in German.”

Young Woman, Standing by the Window, Evening Light, Blue Dress

By Alena Schröder

  • Publisher: dtv Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co., Munich
  • Rights contact: Andrea Seibert, dtv Verlagsgesellschaft
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Italy: Mondadori
  • The Netherlands: Signatuur

“Hannah receives a letter one day, identifying her as heiress to a Jewish art collection, confiscated from her ancestors under the Nazi regime.

“Hannah embarks on a captivating journey of discovery into her family’s history.

“She learns of her great-grandmother, Senta who was forced to abandon her daughter Evelyn, and of the persecution that Senta faced when she married a Jewish journalist. The narrative paints a picture of German life from the vibrant art scene of 1920s Berlin to the present day.”

Don’t Stare at Me

By Gökçe Gökçeer
Illustrated by Pelin Turgut

  • Publisher: Kırmızı Kedi Publishing, Istanbul
  • Rights contact: Burcu Ünsal, Kalem Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – World Spanish & Catalan: Tramuntana Editorial, Spain
  • World Korean: Kookminbooks, Korea
  • World Arabic: Dar Al-Maaref, Lebanon

“’I can be fat or too thin. I can cry in public or burst into laughter. Just don’t stare at me.’

“This is the story of all children who have been labeled as ‘different’ and have been stared at. Author Gökçe Gökçeer reminds us that every one of us is unique and special no matter how different one looks or acts. Her book is a manifesto about embracing differences, with vivid illustrations by Pelin Turgut.”

Encounters: A Philosophy

By Charles Pépin

  • Publisher: Allary Éditions, Paris
  • Rights contact: Marleen Seegers, 2 Seas Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Netherlands: Noordboek
  • Germany: Carl Hanser Verlag
  • Romania: Trei
  • Brazil: Editora Estação Liberdade
  • Italy: Garzanti, in a pre-empt
  • South Korea: Daewon
  • Current options are listed in the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Russia, Croatia, Turkey, Arabic, and Albania

“Lovers, friends, colleagues: human beings cannot live fully without relationships with others. While encounters are crucial to our lives, there are no veritable books of philosophy devoted to the theme, aside from a little-known text by Martin Buber, I and Thou.

“What are the signs of a true encounter?

“Under what conditions can we make ourselves available, leave ourselves open to the unexpected and the dizzying mysteries of an encounter?

“How can we break free of the prison of our convictions? How can we liberate ourselves from our fear of losing control in order to meet and be truly fulfilled with the other, thanks to the other?”

Three Deaths Are Sailing

By Vanda Rozenbergová

  • Publisher: Slovart, Bratislava
  • Rights contact: Tereza Fitzekova, Slovart
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – World German: Drava (in Klagenfurt, Austria)
  • World Czech: Host

“Karola, a 34-year-old Roma woman, tells us the story of how she was adopted when a child by a couple who soon after had a son.

“Karola grows up and falls in love with a married man. Then her stepbrother dies, an event that turns Karola’s parents into alcoholics. After tragedies that appear not to have affected her, she undergoes a catharsis, but not one without sacrifices or gifts.

Three Deaths are Sailing was shortlisted for the main Slovak literary prize, Anasoft Litera, in 2019.”

Bonbon and Blanket

By Emily House

  • Publisher: Imagnary House, Cape Town
  • Rights contact: Stephanie Barrouillet, info@sbrightsagency.com
  • Book info: Read more here

No reported rights sales as yet.

“Bonbon and Blanket were firmest of friends from the moment they found each other.

“Bonbon was tiny and in need of some warmth; Blanket was a soft cozy cover.

“One day they were all on a picnic and Bonbon was down by the lake when a dog snatched Blanket and tried to make its escape.”

Submit Rights Deals to Publishing Perspectives

Do you have rights deals to report? Agents and rights directors can use our rights deal submission form to send us the information we need. If you have questions, please send them to Porter@PublishingPerspectives.com

Titles we choose to list must have both cover images and author images available. If there’s an illustrator or translator, we’d like that person’s photo as well. We prefer color.

In supplying these assets to us, please don’t use WeTransfer or other similar links–they may expire before we can process a submission.

In a sale listing, we require not only the language/territory into which the title has been sold but also the name of the publisher to which the title has been sold in that territory. The correct format is:

  • Country, Language or Territory: Publisher

If we have used a submission from you in the past, please do not submit that same title again to us without an explanation of why you think it deserves another look.

We look forward to hearing from you.

More of Publishing Perspectives‘ rights roundups are here, and more from us on international rights trading is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.