World Book Day: A Rights Roundup From Five Markets

In News by Porter Anderson

Today’s Rights Roundup, coinciding with World Book and Copyright Day, includes titles from Germany, Finland, Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Authors represented in this Rights Roundup are, upper row from left, Ulrika Rolfsdotter; Tuutikki Tolonen; Juke-Pekka Raeste; and Hannu Sokala (image: Yle Kuvapalvelu). And on the lower row from left, JJ Bola; Will Gmehling; Michael Ignatieff; and Anna Fleck

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

Also today: Words Without Borders’ Earth Day: Iceland ‘On the Edge’

Putting a Good Face on It
The day is actually World Book and Copyright Day, although most people call it World Book Day.

UNESCO, at its conference in Paris in 1995, decided to put this “worldwide tribute to books and authors” on a date that coincides with the deaths in 1616—as best as we can depend on historical records—of Shakespeare, Cervantes, and de la Vega.

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, it’s also the day on which each year’s UNESCO World Book Capital opens its year of events.

This year, Georgia’s capital Tbilisi is opening its year of programming following Malaysia’s year in the designation, and we’re glad to send our best wishes in what is still an international publishing scene in which it’s hard to make physical travel a reality.

In fact, we’ll start off this World Book Day roundup with a title that seems to have some pertinence to the difficult experiences of many in publishing and so many other industries and walks of life in the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Michael Ignatieff’s On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times.

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.

On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times

By Michael Ignatieff

  • Publisher: Random House Canada, Toronto
  • Rights contact: Meg Wheeler, Westwood Creative Artists
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Romania: Editura Trei
  • Germany: Ullstein
  • The Netherlands: Cossee
  • Spain: Penguin Random House/Taurus
  • Taiwan – Business Weekly Publications
  • UK & Commonwealth excluding. Canada: Macmillan/Picador
  • USA: Macmillan/Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt

“Timely and profound philosophical meditations on how great figures in history, literature, music, and art—including Albert Camus, Anna Akhmatova, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and Primo Levi—searched for solace while facing tragedies and crises.

“How do we console each other and ourselves in an age of unbelief?

“A historian of ideas and Booker Prize-finalist, Michael Ignatieff shows how people have looked to each other across time to recover hope and resilience.”

Heart of Prey

By Ulrika Rolfsdotter

  • Publisher: Bazar Förlag, Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Kaisa Palo, Ahlander Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – The Netherlands: Ambo Anthos
  • Denmark: Alpha
  • Estonia: Eesti Raamat
  • Finland: Tammi
  • Germany: Penguin Random House/Heyne
  • Norway: Aschehoug

“Inspired by a historical murder case and set in an area of northern Sweden where witches were burned in the 1600s, Heart of Prey is a crime-suspense novel with broad appeal defined by an eerie atmosphere reminiscent of the cult television series Twin Peaks.

“In this debut from a new Scandinavian crime star, the witch hunts of the past recur with haunting new forms in the present, and women who don’t conform still live dangerously.”

Monster Route

By Tuutikki Tolonen

  • Publisher: Tammi, Helsinki
  • Rights contact: Toomas Aasmäe, Elina Ahlback Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Lithuania: Nieko Rimto
  • Brazil: DarkSide Books
  • China: Beijing Publishing Group Co., Ltd.
  • Czech Republic: Portál, s. r. o.
  • Estonia: Tiritamm
  • France: Robert Laffont
  • Germany: Carl Hanser Verlag GmbH
  • The Netherlands: Luitingh-Sijthof
  • Norway: Gyldendal
  • Poland: Vesper
  • Russia: Rosman
  • Slovenia: Mladinska Knjiga Zalozba
  • Sweden: Raben & Sjogren
  • Ukraine: School Publishing House

“Six-year-old Mimi sneaks into the monsters’ underground world, looking for her monster friend Grah. She travels in their tunnels, led by the odd character called the gatekeeper.

“Back at home, Koby and Halley put their heads together and manage to get in touch with Mimi. But who is the mysterious and frightening ruler of the monster world?”

The 50 Most Dangerous Companies in the World

By Juha-Pekka Raeste and Hannu Sokala

  • Publisher: Otava Publishing/Nemo, Helsinki
  • Rights contact: Elina Ahlback at Elina Ahlback Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Sweden: Lind & Company
  • Italy: Newton Compton
  • Hungary: Scolar

The 50 Most Dangerous Companies in the World is nonfiction from two investigative Finnish journalists.

It covers the major corporate powers, “which influence how we think, what we eat, who we meet, how we spend our time, and even who we vote for. Their influence and power over people and governments also grows.”

Companies included are, of course, Google and Amazon, IKEA and Disney, Gazprom and Chevron, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, and more.

The Selfless Act of Breathing

By JJ Bola

  • Publisher: Hachette UK / Little, Brown / Dialogue, London
  • Rights contact: Maria Cardona, Pontas Literary & Film Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Germany: Kampa Verlag
  • English (North America including Canada): Simon & Schuster /Atria
  • Portuguese (Brazil): Dublinense

“Michael Kabongo is a soon-to-be-30 British Congolese teacher living in London, on the border of two identities.

“On paper, he seems to have it all. He’s beloved by his students, popular with his coworkers, and the pride and joy of a mother who emigrated from the Congo to the UK in search of a better life. But behind closed doors, he’s been struggling with the overwhelming sense that he can’t address the injustices he sees raging before him—from his relentless efforts to change the lives of his students for the better to his attempts to transcend the violence and brutality that marginalize young Black men around the world.”

You may recall our story in February on the JJ Bola Emerging Writers Prize program at the Pontas Agency. You’ll find that story here.

The Lido: A Whole Summer in the Sunshine

By Will Gmehling

  • Publisher: Peter Hammer Verlag, Wuppertal
  • Rights contact: Anja Mundt, Mundt Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Italy: La Noava Frontiera
  • Spain(Catalan): Vegueta Ediciones
  • Spain(Spanish): Vegueta Ediciones
  • Greece: Kastaniotis
  • Korea: Lime

“Because the Bukowski siblings have saved a toddler from drowning at the indoor pool, they are famous for a few days. But the entrance card for the outdoor pool, which they receive as a reward for their heroic deed, is far better than the glory: free entry throughout a long summer that will turn out special for everyone.

“Will Gmehling gently and humorously narrates how the summer at the lido makes the Bukowski children grow as they boldly push themselves to their limits and even surpass themselves—not only inside the pool. And his story is invariably pervaded by this exhilarating scent of water on hot flagstones, chlorine, and chips with mayonnaise.”

Sea Glow: The Secret of the Deep
(Volume 1, Atlantis Trilogy) 

By Anna Fleck

  • Publisher: Coppenrath Verlag, Munster
  • Rights contact: Meike Lenz, Coppenrath Verlag
  • Book info: Read more here

No rights deals reported as yet.

“Ella is determined not to let anything spoil her Cornish holiday in Granny’s cottage. But when she saves what she thinks is a surfer from drowning, suddenly nothing in her life is like it was before.

“The mysterious Aris comes from another, mythical world, Atlantis. Ella throws herself into an adventure full of wonder and terror.”

The writer of this YA fantasy series is Anna Fleck, reported to be a debut author with more than 18,000 readers on the social-reading platform

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

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.

A reminder here for fans of translated literature of the annual World Book Day presentation of free translated international titles from Amazon Publishing’s Amazon Crossing imprint, available through 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday (April 24).

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 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.