our rights revenue grew by 48% between 2012 and
2013, when we did 40 individual rights deals.
We can produce digital products for the world, and
distribute them ourselves. About three quarters of our
app revenue comes from outside the UK, and this is
growing, and will increase further when we produce
multi-language versions of our apps. But though we
could in theory translate our books into other
languages ourselves and get them printed, the costs of selling,
marketing and distributing the books in other countries would
be more than a small company could easily stomach.
With a growing list of new books each year, our sales focus
remains those countries that have been the core of UK children’s
publishers’ co-edition and rights business for decades: the USA
and European countries, particularly, in our case, Germany,
France and Holland. It’s been good to see the revival of certain
European markets; we are reprinting books for Greece and we
are once again selling books to Portugal. Countries in which
we’ve seen growth include China, Turkey and Poland.
We’re seeing the opportunity for sales across our range of
titles for children from 0 to 12. There’s a strong international
appetite for novelty books. Our series of Bizzy Bear titles,
There is, I think, something of a queen of the night
about rights selling, writes Kate Wilson. You prepare
for months, like a plant establishing roots under-
ground, you book appointments for October from
early July, investigate pricing, pull together proofs and
dummies and then you have just a few days to flower.
You have to be organised, animated and responsive
for half-hour appointment after half-hour appointment, decoding across cultural and language divides. You
spread your seeds. And then, after the fair, you do your best to
see that those seeds germinate, sending material, and negotiating schedules and prices… until the cycle begins again.
Nosy Crow is well-known for its innovative digital products,
but traditional, international co-edition and rights deals are central
to our business plan and our success. Our co-edition sales grew
by 37% between 2012 and 2013, when we did 187 individual
co-edition deals. This is in line with growth in UK sales of our
full-colour publishing; by the end of 2013, with just 27 picture
book titles in print, Nosy Crow was the 13th biggest publisher
of picture books in the UK in terms of sales to consumers.
Meanwhile, driven by both fiction and the sale of picture books
to markets like China that are resistant to co-edition buying,