Choosing Children’s Books to License from World Publishers

There may be many things in common between Indonesia and Turkey to call on this topic specifically. But  I take the liberty to put it in general question as the reason to buy foreign rights, because it can apply for any genre from any country.

The first consideration in choosing books to license is always concerning the author. If the author is popular or has competency to write specific topic, we would be interested to publish the work of that particular foreign author.

Since I don’t have sample case for this from Turkish books we have licensed so far, I take as sample the new illustrated book from Khaled Hosseini, “Sea Prayer”, which is a children’s book. He is always known as a great novelist. We have Indonesian rights for all his books. So when he publishes a new book for this year we definitely want to publish him too with “popularity of the author” as the main reason to buy the rights.

A book from a famous Turkish writer would be most interesting for us. I imagine maybe a children book by Orhan Pamuk, that will be great.

The second reason is to access specialist content not available from local authors . We take many titles from German and Korea for this reason. These are the kind of books that need a specialist author to write. It can be an encyclopedia, introduction of science for children, biography of famous person, for example. Especially interesting is a multi-volume series that proved as a long seller, that stay in the market for more than a decade and continue to be popular in the country, like the “Was ist Was” series from Germany.

Next is to build our list, we may take titles that very similar in topics with what we have published, to quickly add variety. For example is a book series about learning from hadith. We have had lots of back list titles about the same topic written by local author. Another example of back list topic with this potential is the Muslim Scientists Series. We have developed this series, consist of 13 volumes. There is a possibility to develop this series if we find similar books from Turkey to add into.

And, of course we also look into the bestselling titles, with the hope that the translated edition would also become a bestseller in our country. We are always interested to know books that the publisher claims as their best-selling titles. However, nobody can be sure of the bestselling recipe, so it is not always the case that your bestseller will also become a bestseller in its translated edition.

Next, we are also interested in licensing books based on popular character, or potentially popular character. Niloya was introduced to us by the publisher who said that the television animation series will be broadcasted in an Indonesian TV station.  We buy rights to all titles in the Niloya series. But so far it has failed to reach a desirable market share because it is hard to introduce an IP character without support from other channel like television. We hope the animation will be aired in Indonesian TV station soon.

We are also interested to go beyond the printed book. Currently we venture into developing innovative products and edutoys. Educational books combined with entertainment and games are ways to win competition for children’s attention. First innovative product that we developed in last year is the Puppet Book, a boardbook wrapped inside a soft plush dolls. There are six titles in this series, which is available for co-production.  We are continuously developing and searching new kind of games for fun learning activity. **

(Presented at the 3rd Istanbul Fellowship Program, March 2018) 



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