Rights Edition: Bologna Opens Its Agents’ Center to Adult Trade

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Bologna Children’s Book Fair at 60 makes a major rights-trading change, opening its Agents’ Center to adult as well as children’s content.

Rights trading at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2022. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

Also today in our Rights Edition:
Frankfurt’s LitAg in Sight: A Rights Roundup
A Finnish Agent Cheers France’s Interest in Translation
Frankfurt Bound: IPG Offers Independent Publishers Rights and Export Training

Six Decades Old, Bologna Broadens Its Rights-Trade Offer
In news from Italy today (September 9), the Bologna Children’s Book Fair has announced that it’s expanding its offer for exhibiting publisher rights professionals in the international industry, allowing transactions not only in children’s and YA (young adult) content, but also in the adult trade publishing sector.

The Bologna site for 2023 is up and operating, its dates set for March 6 to 9 and that iteration of the world’s most influential children’s book publishing trade show will include, in its 60th year, the 16th iteration of its Bologna Licensing Trade Fair, with the much younger digital edition, the Global Rights Exchange.

This year’s 2022 edition of the show in March—its first back on its feet during the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic—drew 1,070 exhibitors from 90 countries, with Guest of Honor Sharjah staging a strong appearance and attendance by 21,432 publishing professionals, more than 40 percent of them from international markets.

The 18 exhibitions and trade floors of the show looked consistently busy and robust to those of us on-site, while the Bologna Book Plus program led a rollout of more than 250 events. Indeed, the show’s special Ukraine stand was bustling with attention and an expanding exhibition every day of the show, and

Elena Pasoli

In making today’s announcement, Bologna’s director Elena Pasoli is quoted, saying, “Our Bologna Agents’ Center has enjoyed great success over many years and it seems a logical next step in its development that we welcome a broader audience from rights trading communities.

“Offering new opportunities to the wider publishing industry is a great way of celebrating a milestone birthday for Bologna.”

Jacks Thomas

And Jacks Thomas, who serves as guest director for the Bologna Book Plus program—which, itself, has broadened Bologna’s purview to create industry-wide conference events and context for the show—says, “This is a great opportunity for Bologna Book Plus general trade rights professionals.

“They can now sit alongside their children’s publishing counterparts,” she says, “in the vibrant Bologna Rights Centre—a great addition to the overall BBPlus offering.”

‘Rights Firmly at the Heart of Book Fairs’

At the 2022 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

As Bologna’s media messaging reiterates, “Rights trading is firmly at the heart of books fairs,” a point borne out, of course, by the fast sellout of this year’s 456-table Literary Agents and Scouts Center (the “LitAg”) at the upcoming Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 19 to 23).

“As part of Bologna’s commitment to this essential part of the publishing eco-system,” the fair’s administration in the Emilia-Romagna writes today, the digital Global Rights Exchange—comprising the fair, the Plus program, and the physical Licensing Trade Fair—”continues to operate” so that trading remains open year-round.

That digital exchange has enabled exhibitors and visitors to continue to showcase, discover, and trade rights in many parts of the world, despite being unable to meet face-to-face.

Bologna’s “heritage of culture, lifestyle, and of course, the premium children’s book fair,” the staff writes, leverages today’s announcement as an evolutionary step in the six-decade-old program’s development.

And “whether for children’s, adult, or education publishers, comprehensive rights trading,” the organizers write, “training events, exhibits, and networking across the board are now the new Bologna enhanced experienced.”

One of the packed corridors at Bologna Fiere during the 2022 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Image: BCBF


More on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here, more on the international book trade and rights is here, more on industry statistics is here, and more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is here

Follow our coverage of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and its impact on the country’s publishing players and international industry reactions. More on the Ukrainian Book Institute 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 is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he 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 (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.

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