MarketSquare Budapest trainers share challenges and future vision.

To help navigate challenges for publishers such as language and accessibility, CBA hosted MarketSquare Budapest March 8-10. In addition to the international rights and licensing opportunities, this year’s conference offered a chance to learn best practices from James Elwell (Tyndale House Publishers), Cindy Riggins (Riggins International), William and Carine Mackenzie (Christian Focus Publications), and Dr. Kornel Herjeczki (Harmat Kiado). They recently shared with Christian MARKET their thoughts on international publishing.

CHRISTIAN MARKET (CM): WHAT DO YOU THINK THE STATE OF INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING IS TODAY?

Riggins: Overall, there has been a global downturn in Christian publishing and more selectivity in titles published. A universal issue is that people are buying fewer Christian books. Nevertheless, places such as Eastern Europe where there was once primarily missionary publishing now have open markets and improved economies and are seeing a rise in Christian publishing.

CM: WHY IS INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING IMPORTANT?

Riggins: Selling rights includes benefits such as the opportunity for authors to minister in other countries and, from a practical standpoint, increased royalty revenue.

Herjeczki: Buying rights offers the opportunity to know the content before making a publishing deal and to establish a company’s identity by publishing only books in agreement with beliefs.

President of a local Hungarian publishing company, Herjeczki says 20 percent of his products come from local authors, while 80 percent are international translations. He values developing national authors, but at the same time, translating and publishing foreign books offers the opportunity to guarantee content and show what’s important to his company.

CM: WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?

Mackenzie: Christian publishing is in danger of compromising the message with particular reference to the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of Scripture. There is a relentless pressure on all of us to listen more closely to the market and less attentively to the word of God.

The trainers agree that practical challenges include ever-changing supply chains, online selling, emphasis on new titles, self-publishing, translation costs, new marketing tools, limited capital, taxes, and overhead costs.

CM: WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO OVERCOME THESE CHALLENGES?

Riggins: Some challenges are location-specific, legal-related, or economic, and therefore out of our control. However, we can control how we respond to these challenges by considering the situation each licensee faces and being flexible when needed while also being a good steward of the proprietary work.

Mackenzie: We need to avoid the tendency to say, “We always did it this way.” We, in dependence on God, need to be nimble, work together with each part of the route to market, and do whatever it takes to be fair to all involved.

“I’m so pleased we’ve had such quality presenters with a wealth of expertise to impart from international publishing,” says CBA President Curtis Riskey. “We strive to provide not only places to meet and conduct business but also the opportunity to learn and be equipped so that the industry will be strengthened and can move forward to make Jesus’ name great.”

Discussions about international publishing and its future will continue during the MarketSquare at CBA’s UNITE 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio, June 27-30.

— Sharon Roberts

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