Publishing Perspectives has a brief piece about a London Book Fair seminar to be given tomorrow by Evan Schnittman, Bloomsbury’s MD, Sales and Marketing, Print and Digital. Schnittman’s position is that the publishing industry needs to move to a global publishing model rather than stay bound up in territorial restrictions.

Interestingly, one of his supporting arguments does not involve e-books, but the inverse—companies that sell print books, like Amazon or the Book Depository, are cheerfully shipping print books around the world in response to Internet orders, meaning that local publishers can lose out on sales to publishers from other parts of the world.

He believes trade publishers must learn to buy and sell works globally “in order to manage the global portfolio and optimize sales and author royalties. Without this change, the book may indeed be dead –- with it, then long live the global book.”

The piece ends up by suggesting “that young kid with the specs and funny mark on his forehead on Bloomsbury UK’s list might have an answer.” Indeed, the Harry Potter series was bitten by this trend early in its release, as American fans who couldn’t wait weeks or months for the next book to come out in America imported it from the UK instead. Consequently, starting only a couple of books into the series, the books were released simultaneously world-wide.

But even now, some American fans will continue to import the UK editions, since the US versions feature some Americanizations that purists find annoying (starting with the decision to change “philosopher’s stone” to “sorcerer’s stone” in the first one).

Regardless, it’s nice to see a publisher (and a fairly major publisher at that) acknowledge that the current territorial model needs to change. Perhaps sooner or later it will.


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