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Publishers Association Launches Platform For Digital Match Making

October usually sees a large swathe of the book industry depart Aotearoa’s shores for the biggest and most prestigious event on the publishing calendar – Germany’s Frankfurt Book Fair.

Travelling to large, international book fairs has long been a critical part of selling New Zealand stories to the world. But with publishers, authors and agents unable to leave the country, and book fairs like Frankfurt increasingly going online, this year has called for an innovative approach.

The Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ), with support from Creative New Zealand and Education New Zealand, is helping local publishers to make the most of Frankfurt’s online offering. Central to this is the creation of a digital rights platform promoting and showcasing New Zealand books across a breadth of publishers’ lists. A printed rights catalogue will also be available.

Cath Cardiff, Senior Manager, Arts Development Services Creative New Zealand says, “We’re thrilled to work closely with PANZ to tautoko this digital rights platform that recognises the need to have a hybrid presence at a variety of book fairs. This is just one of the many ways we’re working with PANZ to deliver our international market development programme for literature. We’re looking forward to showcasing books from Aotearoa to international publishers in a new way.”

Educational publishing is an important part of New Zealand’s international education sector and ENZ is pleased to support PANZ and help create the digital rights platform.

“We want to help the international education sector look at innovative approaches to the way they operate in vastly changed global marketplace. The platform is an innovative way of promoting education products and services digitally and ensuring New Zealand products continue to be seen by the global markets.” says Paul Irwin, General Manager ENZ Partnerships and Marketing.

Thousands of digital exhibitors from over 85 countries are registered to participate in Frankfurt’s new online format, which runs from 12 – 18 October. The 2020 fair’s offerings include an online programme of events, trade networking and matchmaking to help publishers meet and buy and sell rights virtually.

With international travel looking unlikely for some time, PANZ says the digital New Zealand rights platform will also be utilised for the Guadalajara Book Fair in December, the 2021 Bologna Children’s Book Fair and other international opportunities as they arise.

Rights sales in international markets are an important revenue stream for many in New Zealand publishing. In 2019 export rights sales accounted for $22.3 million across the sector. For publishers, book fairs have long offered the chance to network and find buyers in new markets as well as to buy rights to new works to bring home to New Zealand readers.

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