It would be a major understatement if one were to say that the COVID-19 pandemic created only ripples of change throughout the world of business. Everything from how we get our groceries to our daily news has shifted.
Perhaps nowhere else were more seismic changes felt than in the world of publishing. Publishing schedules have shifted, with some titles moving to future seasons, while other titles were outright cancelled. Publishers were forced to move to more agile production models and modes when faced with printer shutdowns, shipping delays, and store closures.
Even the world of rights faced a shift in business as licensors first paused to consider how their business might change in the face of multiple book industry conferences canceling and going virtual. First the London Book Fair was cancelled only two weeks before it was scheduled to open, then Barcelona, then New York, and on and on up until the Beijing Book Fair went fully virtual.
The lastest change in rights fairs was confirmed this week with the announcement of the Virtual arm of the Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the largest and most comprehensive rights fairs in the world. As of right now, organizers still plan to hold an in-person conference, but it's unknown how successful (or how well-attended) it will be as large publishers from around the world have pulled out of attending, and even the guest of honor country for this year, Canada, have postponed their attendance until next year.
Here at GPC, we intended to make this our first big year back on the conference circuit, and were making plans to attend Frankfurt until COVID-19 hit. After seeing the issues other exhibitors and agents hand with receiving refunds when fairs canceled or went virtual, we made the difficult decision to stay home but do our best to put forth a strong presence online as we could by registering as virtual attendees where we could.
With the exhibition companies making it as easy as possible to create an online catalog presence, we're taking advantage of the opportunity to showcase our clients at both the Beijing International Book Fair (which is virtual only) and Frankfurt. Beijing is launching this week and the Frankfurt online show will be up and running in September.
We feel this is an optimal opportunity for our clients to dip their toes in the international market with very low risk and potential for big rewards. The additional upside of establishing partnerships before the 2021 fairs get going translate (pun intended) to a win-win situation.
If you're thinking of testing your list internationally, now's a great time. And GPC is here to help you if you need a hand in getting materials out there. Give us a shout!