By Jarosław Adamowksi | @JaroslawAdamows
With Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Roughly 560 Rights Center ParticipantsAs this year’s Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino begins its run today (May 18) through Sunday, it’s already clear the event’s rights center program has attracted a larger number of international participants compared with its last year’s edition.
The fair’s rights center event largely owes its success to a rapidly rising interest in the show’s rights-oriented professional fellowship program. Under that initiative, the Italian Trade Agency provides financial support to interested book industry professionals.
Lorenza Honorati, a coordinator of the rights center, has told Publishing Perspectives that this year some 560 participants were admitted to the event which represents a robust increase from last year’s group of 450. Out of some 300 applications for fellowships, roughly 130 were awarded, she says.
“Our rights center is a place where literary agents, publishers, scouts, and other professionals can meet to exchange rights,” she says. “Participants register using an online platform designed and created for our event, and they can organize meetings with their colleagues from all around the world.
“The online platform makes it easier to reach out to and meet new people instead of the people you already know, [so you then] discover the fantastic books they’re bringing to the event,” Honorati says. “Similar to last year, we anticipate around 5,200 meetings to take place this year.”
Another rights center coordinator, Giorgia de Angelis, confirms for Publishing Perspectives that for many book industry professionals, the last three years with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic have amplified the importance of face-to-face meetings.
“We started this project 20 years ago,” de Angelis says. “After the pandemic restrictions were lifted, our event started to boom, and it’s developing in a very dynamic and positive way. This year, we have representatives of 46 countries in Torino compared with 21 countries last year. Among the markets represented here this year are many European states, but also the United States, Canada, Japan, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Egypt.”
Three Content-Development Pathways
This year’s edition of the rights center program has three components: book-to-book, book-to-screen, and book-to-audio. That three-way offer allows industry professionals to purchase and sell international publishing rights and to discuss projects in film, television, audiobooks, and podcasts. Some 50 film production companies from Italy are attending this year’s rights center, and the event’s organizers say that they’re considering involving film producers from outside Italy, as well, in coming years.
Some of the participants at this year’s edition of the rights center include Neva Serdarević, a project manager at the Croatian publishing house Fraktura. Serdarević tells Publishing Perspectives, “Our publishing house releases about 100 books per year, of which 60 to 70 percent are foreign titles.
“We come to Torino to see what’s new in the literary world and to buy high-quality fiction. Fraktura buys titles written in English, French, Spanish, Catalan, and Italian, as well as Scandinavian languages, Eastern European languages, and others. We sell both young and established award-winning Croatian authors–mostly novels and short stories, but also nonfiction.
Serdarević says that in her opinion, the rights center’s online platform makes it easy to set up meetings and connect with colleagues from various countries.
Urpu Strellman, a literary agent and CEO of Finland’s Helsinki Literary Agency, tells Publishing Perspectives that this is her fourth time at the Torino book fair, and that she appreciates the fact that the event “is not hectic–it has a relaxed atmosphere that gives you more time to think and talk about books.”
This year, Strellman is seeking rights-buyers for a number of award-winning Finnish autofiction titles, including Lida Rauma’s Destruction: A Case Study; Susana Hast’s Body of Evidence; and Pirkko Saisio’a “Helsinki Trilogy.”
Strellman says that these novels are very well known bestsellers in Finland, and that she hopes to use the opportunity to pitch them to a larger, international audience in Torino.
“It always gives me pleasure to find new readers interested in reading the life stories of amazing, powerful women,” Strellman says, “who faced great challenges, but overcame them.”
More from Publishing Perspectives on the Torino International Book Fair is here, more on international book fairs and trade shows overall is here, more on translation and publication rights in the industry is here, and more on the Italian market is here.