Thessaloniki International Book Fair’s ‘Dialogue’: A New Rights Center

In News by Porter Anderson

This week’s 2023 Thessaloniki International Book Fair features a new rights center and an invitational fellowship program.

At a previous edition of the Thessaloniki International Book Fair, which this year is in its 19th iteration. Image: TIBF

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

A Newly Implemented Professional Program
In its 19th edition, Greece’s flagship Thessaloniki International Book Fair (May 4 to 7) is inaugurating its new rights trading center and reclaiming a fine term from the Greek in the process.

Called the Dialogue Rights Center—dia and logos meaning “through the word”—the debut of this adjunct to the fair’s professional program features B2B meetings, discussions, and an exchange of good-practices guidance, while encouraging international rights sales. The center is to be staged in the fair’s Building 13 and organizers promise a singular focus on “increasing the opportunities for literary translations and at making better use of ‘GreekLit.'”

As Publishing Perspectives‘ international readership knows, a primarily public-facing book fair often creates a professional program both to establish and explore its place in the world industry, and to provide an outreach to overseas markets and colleagues. This can help expand the international publication-rights viability of its own market and enhance its own book business’ players’ competence and recognition in the trade.

The professional program itself brings together 20 literary agents and publishers from a number of international markets. More than 50 representatives of the world book publishing business are expected to be at the Thessaloniki event this coming weekend. From the Greek market itself, 15 booksellers from Northern Greece are to be on-hand, while national collective stands from 14 countries are coming in.

Nopi Chatzigeorgiou

Those national stands include a United States pavilion, which is to feature 22 publishers as part of the 2023 book fair’s guest of honor USA program, highlighting American contemporary literature. That program has been organized by the cultural committee of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce, and the American Collective Stand group.

The fair—coordinated by Nopi Chatzigeorgiou—is a production of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, in collaboration with Greek publishers, TIF-HelExpo, the Region of Central Macedonia, and the City of Thessaloniki, with support from the Greek ministry of culture and sports. The program is held under the auspices of the president of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

 Trade Show and Institutional Visitors

Clockwise from upper left are Jacks Thomas; Elena Pasoli; Emma House; Alexandra Büchler; Ian Denison; and Anne Bergman

A cohort of key international industry figures are scheduled to be in the northern seaport on the Aegean with its famous long waterfront:

The Association of Book Publishers of Athens, SEVA, has organized a conference for international publishers titled “Exploring the Challenges of the New Landscape of Diversity in Publishing,” and an additional series of programming is coming from the Organization for Collective Management of Speech Projects and the Intellectual Property Organization.

Overall, the show counts at least 600 exhibitors, 580 planned events, 14 stages, representation from some 40 countries, and participation by more than 1,000 Greek and international writers.

Fellowship Program Features 16 Nations

A seminar for publishing professionals at a previous edition of Greece’s Thessaloniki International Book Fair. Image: TIBF

A first “Invitational Program for Book Professionals” has participants engaged from  is offering seminars Egypt, Belgium, Britain, Estonia, USA, Japan , India, Spain, Israel, Italy, Canada, Mozambique, Ukraine, Sweden, Turkey, and Finland.

In the two-way-street effect common to good professional fellowships at trade shows, this one, say organizers, should “promote the Greek book market internationally” and upgrade “the understanding of international book markets from the Greek side,” as well

The Hellenic Foundation for Culture, between 2018 and 2021, mounted a series of seminars on the future of the book industry, which now are reflected in the new fellowship program’s seminar events on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Topics address book purchasing, digitization, sales, and rights transactions, translation, and international exhibitions.

This year’s participating fellows include:

  • Mauro Spagnol, Books Everywhere (England)
  • Eleonora Simonova, Nora-Druk Publishers (Ukraine)
  • Sandra Tamele, Editora Trinta Zero Nove (Mozambique)
  • Teresa Pintó, Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcells S.A. (Spain)
  • Emre Can Petek, Introtema Copyright and Translation Agency (Turkey)
  • Hiroshi Asami, Kanki Publishing Inc. (Japan)
  • Sherif Bakr, Al Arabi Publishing and Distributing (Egypt)
  • Michela Pea, Insight Editions, (United States)
  • Fatimah Abbas, Noon for Publishing and Distribution / Fatimah Abbas Literary Agency (Egypt/United Arab Emirates)
  • Paul Bernard, Editions Hemma (France)
  • Prashant Pathak, Wonder House Books/Fingerprint Publishing (India)
  • Gautam Mehta, Mehta Publishers-Mkids (India)
  • Stephanie Barrouillet, SB Rights Agency (Israel/France)
  • Jessica Kasmer-Jacobs, The Deborah Harris Agency (Israel)
  • Tuomas Sorjamaa, Rights and Brands (Finland)
  • Milly Ruggiero, The Rights Factory (Canada)
  • Chrysothemis Armefti, 2 Seas Agency Inc. (United States)
  • Kadri Rahusaar, Koolibri Publishers (Estonia)
  • Silvia Vassena, Silvia Vassena @ Milano Scouting and Consulting (Italy)
  • Emma House, Oreham Group (United Kingdom)

Many of the fellows are participants in various parts of the show’s seminar series.

The Guest of Honor America Program
Guest of Honor France's pavilion at a previous edition of Greece's Thessaloniki International Book Fair. Image: TIBF

Guest of Honor France’s pavilion at a previous edition of Greece’s Thessaloniki International Book Fair. Image: TIBF

Publishing houses from the United States involved in the 250-square-meter presentation of the United States’ focus for Thessaloniki’s guest of honor program this year include a mix of trade, society, art book, university presses, and academic companies:

  • Abrams Books
  • American Psychiatric Association Publishing
  • Authors Booklife
  • Georgetown University Press
  • Gona’s Publishing
  • Guilford Press
  • Harvard University Press
  • Heron Books
  • Inner Traditions International
  • Insight Editions
  • Independent Publishers Group
  • Macmillan Publishers
  • Merriam-Webster
  • MoMa Publications
  • Penquin Random House
  • Quarto Group
  • Roman & Littlefield
  • Sourcebooks
  • Teacher Created Materials
  • University of Chicago Press
  • Yale University Press

As many as 578 titles are to be exhibited at the American collective stand. And countries represented among exhibitors at the Thessaloniki International Book Fair in addition to the United States include: Bulgaria, Bosnia, France, Germany, Georgia,  India, Israel, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania, Republika Srpska, Slovakia, and Turkey.

And a programming note: Publishing Perspectives will moderate three events in the Thessaloniki International Book Fair’s seminars. All times listed are local, Eastern European Summer Time, EEST:

12:20 to 1 p.m. Friday (May 5)
Book Markets Around the World: Asia and Africa with:

  • Prashant Pathak
  • Hiroshi Asami
  • Sherif Bakr
  • Sandra Tamele

1 to 1:40 p.m. Friday (May 5)
Book Markets Around the World: Asia and Africa with:

  • Michela Pea
  • Anne Bergman
  • Kristina Kramer
  • Haris Ioannides

3 to 4 p.m. Saturday (May 6)
Banned Books in the Age of Political Correctness with:

  • Emma House
  • Alexandra Katsarou
  • Costas Kastoularis

More programming during the course of the week includes sessions on rights training and digital publishing; UNESCO’s World Book Capital program; guidance for literary agents; permit and license management; a look at the Greek market; and international book fairs and trade shows.

At Thessaloniki’s book fair on the northern Aegean coast of Greece. Image: TIBF

More from Publishing Perspectives on Greece is here, more on guest of honor programs at publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is heremore on rights trading in the international book publishing industry is here, our Rights Roundup series is here, and more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs 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.