Monday, March 6, 2017

BIC Breakfast: Knowing your Rights

“I have a deep and enduring relationship with all things administrative”

In recent years, the selling of rights has changed dramatically. The growing number of available book formats and delivery options, plus the expansion of global market opportunities, have all facilitated an increase in the value of rights income. The sale of physical books and journals has shifted to the sale of content in multiple formats, with a finer img_3015division of regional rights becoming the de-facto standard.

This BIC Breakfast – which took place on Wednesday 22nd February 2017 – provided an update on the challenges of selling rights in the book industry supply chain as it currently stands. With a stellar line-up of speakers, this event discussed how the selling of rights has changed in recent years, which organization types are experiencing this change (i.e. trade and/or STM), and how technology and appropriate tools can help to leverage the opportunities created by digital publishing.

THE HOST: Alaina-Marie Bassett, Business Manager, BIC

THE SPEAKERS:  Lynette Owen, Copyright & Rights Consultant; Diane Spivey, Group Contracts Director, Hachette UK; and Michael Healy, Executive Director of International Relations, Copyright Clearance Center

“I have a deep and enduring relationship with all things administrative”. This was Diane Spivey’s opening line at the BIC Breakfast, Knowing your Rights: The Challenges of Selling Book Rights in a Changing & Increasingly Digital Landscape Wednesday 22nd February 2017 9am-10:30am and how apt is this quote is for a conversation about Rights?

Five highlights from the talk:

1. Rights management is a deeply administrative process but as Lynette Owen rightly pointed out we have seen an acceleration in the process thanks to technology. In the old days we had to post manuscripts to far off lands, we used snail mail, and rarely used the phone. We now have emails, Skype and increasing digital signature. Nowadays publishers can also use digital rights catalogues to distribute.

2. Rights are changing – no first serial, no book club or digest rights. Small deals that are more fragmented – micro deals. This means more administration.

3. Our sourcing in rights is becoming big – platforms like IPR can help sell backlist and smaller deals, allowing publishers to focus on the bigger deals. Rights platforms like ours can also help support or become the rights department for small publishing companies.

4. Digital Rights are important. By that we mean licensing content to websites to use for their content. This is very prevalent in business books.

5. Copyright is at risk and as a result so is our industry – the recent relaxation of copyright law in Canada has led to teachers being enabled to copy books for free and many publishing companies have closed down. Michael Healy stated this is a very real threat to our industry and we should all keep a close eye on proceedings.

See other blogs by the IPR License team here.

Posted by Jane Tappuni, Head of Business Development, IPR License

Thursday, September 29, 2016

We're Winners of a BIC Award for Excellence!

We are delighted to announce that we have recently been awarded with a BIC Product Data Excellence Award. This is a book publishing industry award that denotes how well we submit information about our books to the book trade. Publishers are scored both on how complete their data is and the timeliness of its delivery to the industry.

While it may not seem like the most exciting of awards, it is actually very important. With good information book buyers find it much easier to discover and order books, which makes their job quicker and results in more book sales and greater reach for our authors’ work. The data required is extensive and ranges from the very obvious, such as title and price, to information such as the exact weight of an individual book.

We have spent many of our spare moments and long afternoons over the past year manually entering the data for very old titles into our database (and even doing things such as weighing books from the archive!), while also ensuring that all new titles meet very tight data deadlines. It has been a long and arduous process, fuelled by lots of tea and biscuits, but we are very happy that 99.93% of our books now have complete records (the missing 0.07% are sadly so old we don’t even have a print copy in our office archive) and we always easily hit the 80% timeliness quota.

There are over 750 publishers in the UK, so to be one of only 29 with an Excellence Award, and to be in the same category as household names such as Penguin is very satisfying (you can see the full list of publishers with awards here). We may only be a small publisher but we are proud to be ranked for data as highly as many big publishers and even better than many others. Needless to say, our ambitions haven’t stopped with Excellence and we’re already in discussions about what we can do to be promoted to the Excellence Plus top category!

Posted by Laura Longworth, Commissioning Editor & Rights Manager, Channel View Publications Ltd / Multilingual Matters

Thursday, September 29, 2016

BIC's New Trends in Publishing Seminar 2016

The absolutely stunning Stationers’ Hall was the setting for the New Trends in Publishing Seminar 2016, hosted by BIC and sponsored by Nielsen Book and Ricoh. Being entirely new to the publishing industry, I felt slightly nervous as I walked into the opulent old rooms of the hall, which were filled with beautiful furniture, lavish paintings and exquisite antiques. However, I was immediately made to feel welcome as I registered with the lovely Alaina-Marie and met with other soon-to-be UCL Publishing students (and, of course, obtained the essential cup of tea and biscuit!).  

I thought I might feel rather lost during the talks, having no previous publishing experience. However, as the first talk got underway, my concerns very quickly dissolved. It proved to be a hugely enlightening talk by Ruth Jones, Director of Publishing Business Development at Ingram Content Group, about the dynamic publishing supply chain and the changes (and challenges) it now faces due to the ever-growing variety of digital publishing formats. It grew particularly interesting as the discussion turned to how the video game industry and the book industry are increasingly collaborating to create brand new, stimulating reading experiences.

The second talk was highly thought-provoking, not to mention inspiring. It was given by Richard Orme, Chief Executive of the DAISY Consortium, a group of organisations dedicated to ensuring everyone can experience reading and all the benefits associated with it. This talk concerned accessibility in publishing, developing different formats for books to make them accessible to those with ‘print disabilities’, and taking the focus away from reading small, fixed text, to reading with larger fonts, colours, the ears (e.g. with digital ‘talking books’) or the fingers (e.g. with braille). Richard Orme emphasized that gadgets, devices and software prove vital to this; what particularly caught my attention was a braille gadget which can mould to reflect the writing on a screen. This eye-opening talk made me realise how the publishing industry has a valuable opportunity to bring reading, culture and education to everyone, regardless of ability.

The third talk given by Natalie Smith, Associate at Harbottle & Lewis, took a legal turn, as the discussion turned to data protection laws, again a highly interesting area. It focused on the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is due to come into force in 2018 for EU countries, strengthening the rights of data subjects, enforcing accountability for compliance to data protection obligations, and significantly increasing punitive fines, among other things. However, the unexpected Brexit result has made matters confusing for the UK; namely, to what extent will this new legislation affect the UK, whether we are in the EU when it comes into force, or out? Natalie Smith stressed that at present no certain answers can be given, but many questions are now being asked.  

In the fourth talk of the day, André Breedt of Nielsen Book presented numerous statistics and graphs concerning key findings from Nielsen’s refreshed White Paper. It was interesting to see the new consumer trends in such a straightforward format, although - I must admit - slightly perplexing for someone brand new to the world of publishing! I’m sure, however, that as my publishing knowledge grows, these numbers will begin to make perfect sense!

Finally, we had a very informative talk about the importance of managing intellectual property and rights in publishing, given by Florin Craciun, Head of Sales at Ingenta.  He emphasized the huge value of creating a rights portfolio audit, allowing a publisher to clarify assets, assess the rights they have for certain content, and thus exploit new ways of using that content to create revenue, among other benefits. In this way, publishers can adapt content to readers’ ever-evolving tastes, and use old content in new, innovative ways. Crucially, however, publishers must have the necessary rights to do so, or may risk lawsuits against them.

All in all, this was a hugely enjoyable event, and I was able to learn a lot about the publishing industry in just one fascinating morning. A huge thanks must go to BIC for the opportunity to attend this event, and to the speakers for such engaging presentations which have provided me with an exciting and in-depth start to publishing.  I am now more excited than ever to study Publishing at UCL, and eagerly await the start of the course!

Posted by Alice Gale, MA Publishing Student, UCL

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

BIC's 'New Trends in Publishing' Seminar 2016

We were fortunate enough to attend a really interesting BIC event on New Trends in Publishing at Stationer’s Hall – great talks from Nielsen, DAISY, Ingrams, Ingenta, and Harbottle & Lewis on aspects covering consumer rights (with Brexit looming) to augmented reality, to the critical importance of accuracy when supplying metadata.

We all know consumer behaviour is changing – with current trends highlighted as follows:

  • “Marketing Me” – real rise in self-publicising
  • “Now or Never” – speed to market
  • “The real deal” – authenticity is key
  • “Make it Mine” – personalising the experience

Publishers naturally have to adapt to accommodate new – and continually changing – expectations. Whilst something like Pokemon Go may be a fad in itself, the underlying technology is very much around for the long term – and there are definite opportunities for publishers to gamify content, creating more personalised solutions, curate content – and actively promote consumer content curation – through social media etc.

In publishing, the supply chain focus has always been on the book. That focus is starting to shift, to concentrate more on the business model itself. Hachette’s recent move into the gaming industry with the purchase of Neon Play comes as no surprise, as publishers look for opportunities to sell stories in different ways – creating more dynamic, engaging material.

ONIX Compliance
Nielsen’s statistics showing a publisher’s content discoverability based on quality and timeliness of metadata provision also provided interesting viewing: actual hard data hammering home the impact of each on visibility of a publisher’s list.

One slide showed quantities of copies sold by metadata mix, clearly highlighting the stark difference between a complete and incomplete BIC provision – as well as illustrating the critical importance of providing cover images along with the bibliographic data. Indeed, provision of a cover image triples the chances of a book selling – clearly a fundamental consideration when providing the ONIX.

All in all, a thoroughly informative morning for an audience of around 100 packed into the venue in the shadow of St Paul’s – thanks to all concerned.

Posted by Finn Kirkland, Commercial Director, Firsty Group

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

10 lessons from BICís New Trends in Publishing Seminar 2016

Attending an event on ‘new trends’ seems apt at this time, just as everyone is ramping up on their Frankfurt preparation. We took away much more than 10 lessons from this jam-packed morning – but thought 10 might just whet your appetite for now.

Ruth Jones (Publisher Business Development, Ingram Content Group):

  • Amazon chose to go to market first with books, because books are well-ordered and categorized. Publishers understand their IP and know how to sell under ‘normal’ conditions – which helps to ride any waves of uncertainty and makes experimentation easier to manage.
  • It is thought that young people who spend time online have small attention spans as they constantly engage with bite-size content. This is just not true – they have huge attention spans, but only for content that is relevant, engaging and personalized to them.


Richard Orme (Chief Executive, DAISY Consortium):

  • Captain Ian Fraser lost his sight during Battle of Somme. Because of this, he worked with RNIB to find a reading machine for other blind soldiers. RNIB and DAISY now work with publishers to make sure as many books as possible are published in accessible formats so they can be enjoyed at the same time by anyone, regardless of their reading requirements or preferences.
  • The Marrakesh Treaty facilitates access to published works for people who are blind, visually impaired or print disabled. It was the fastest UN treaty to ever be signed, and it comes into force on 30th September 2016. The Treaty lays out specific rules for accessible formats.


Natalie Smith (Associate, Harbottle & Lewis):

  • The data protection act was made in 1998, so needs updating in line with changes to the way businesses operate. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into direct effect in the EU from 25 May 2018. It will result in big changes, and higher penalties for misuse of data.
  • Even if the UK leaves the EU, we will still need to comply and adjust to the GDPR standards, because they will have a new extra-territorial scope for those, from outside, who do business with the EU.


Andre Breedt (Director Book Research International, Nielsen Book):

  • New research from Nielsen shows that the most important element of successful book sales is uploading a cover image with your book data. 83.2% of books sold had a ‘full-set’ of metadata assigned to them.
  • Timing is also important for a successful book launch. It is advised by BIC that metadata is provided 16 weeks prior to a publication date.


Florin Craciun (Head of Sales, Ingenta):

  • Your backlist, is another publishers frontlist. In other words – a good place to look, when trying to increase revenues is monetization of the backlist.
  • Revenue from rights departments flows to the bottom line. Historically there has been minimal investment in the infrastructure of rights departments; and this too, can be an ideal place to focus for increased revenues.


Thanks to BIC for hosting such an interesting event!


This blog can be found on BookMachine's website, here.

Posted by Laura Summers, Co-Founder of BookMachine

Blog Archive