How Many Languages Does Your Book Speak?

It happened again. Leafing through my mail recently, I found another royalty check for the Indonesian foreign rights sales for Baby Bible Board Books: Stories of Jesus.


My husband and I published Baby Bible Board Books back in 2004 through our publishing company, CREST Publications. We sold the foreign rights to translate and sell the books to an Indonesian publisher in 2008. Here we are in 2016, still receiving royalty checks on the continued sale of those books in Indonesia.

That, my friends, is why foreign rights are worth pursuing. Foreign rights contracts provide you revenue from your books for little to no effort on your part—and they broaden the audience for your books.

Foreign Rights is a big market. Riggins International Rights Services, a company that helps publishers and authors find foreign rights deals for books, conducted a survey of their core Inspirational (Christian) licensees around the world last year. Their survey indicated that 49% of these foreign publishers plan to acquire one to 10 titles for translation each year with 29% acquiring more than 10 titles. This means that foreign publishers are looking for quality books to acquire to translate and sell in their countries of residence.

The Asian market for books continues to grow. In China, translated titles and imports account for 22% of the market, with American and U.K. authors accounting for 57% of these sales in China. Germany also acquires numerous English-language books where about 40% of their books come from translations.

Riggins International Rights Services reports that the top six foreign languages they license books to are:

  1. Korean
  2. Chinese
  3. Portuguese
  4. Spanish
  5. German
  6. Indonesian

If pursuing foreign rights for your books is not in your marketing plan, I encourage you to include it. Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) provides our members a number of avenues for foreign rights opportunities because we believe this is an important piece of marketing a book.

Related Posts:
Extending the Life of a Book
Don’t Overlook This Marketing Opportunity
Is This Part of Your Publishing Team?

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