Part 3 of 3: Trends in traditional book publishing

What would you have told the Sisters in Crime of Upstate SC when they asked, “What changes do you see coming in traditional publishing business models and contracts?”

This is the third and final part of the answer I gave when I spoke to the writers’ group earlier this month in Greenville, South Carolina. I tried to keep this list of trends brief and relevant to authors of crime fiction.

Anyone who monitors the trade book publishing news will think of many more innovations, but I couldn’t ramble on when it became time for the event venue to close for the evening. Please feel free to add or comment on the changes that matter most to you.


Increasingly, larger publishers expect authors to license publication rights worldwide in a specific language, such as English, or in multiple languages. In the past, dividing those rights and licensing them in each geographic territory into which a publisher’s business extended was common practice, and many smaller publishers continue that practice. The rationale for publishers expanding their territories is that English-language trade book markets outside the United States and the British Commonwealth, plus foreign-language markets, especially in the BRIC countries, are seen as better opportunities for growth as economic power shifts around the world.


Now, a single publisher is able to produce and has the means to distribute a book with several editions in a variety of languages, rather than waiting for a foreign publisher to acquire a foreign translation rights license after the book has become successful in the original language. Smaller publishers, naturally, have been more agile and innovative, sometimes forming co-publishing relationships for this purpose. They’ll soon prove the economies, and then larger publishers will follow their example in-house. Listed here are a few of these early endeavors, so you can see what I’m describing:


Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing

Frisch & Co. Electronic Books

Open Road Integrated Media

Stockholm Text


Go to Part 1 of 3: Trends in traditional book publishing

Go to Part 2 of 3: Trends in traditional book publishing

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